The Art of Darkness

Spooky Pysanky

January 1st, 2009 by Cobwebs

PysankiPysanky (or pysanki) are a traditional Ukrainian craft which are a sort of Easter egg with the volume turned up to 11. The basic technique involves covering parts of an egg with wax, dunking the egg in dye, melting off the wax and covering other parts of the egg, dunking in a different color of dye, lather rinse repeat. The results are astonishingly intricate.

There are a myriad of traditional symbols associated with pysanky, but obviously the same technique can be used for other designs as well. The Martha Stewart site published an article on Halloween pysanky several years ago; it has since vanished, but it inspired other artists around the Web. Flickr user bcompetent did a whole basketful of Halloween eggs, and artist Luba Petrusha did some gorgeous pumpkins and miscellaneous Halloween images. (Check out her traditional pysanky as well; they’re unbelievable.)

If you’d like to try your hand at making similar eggs, there are several tutorials available online. This one at eHow is for a simple design, and the Learn Pysanky site has instructions for more elaborate ones.

The eggs make unusual ornaments; run a long loop of heavy thread through the holes that were used to blow out the egg’s contents, and knot a bead at both ends to keep it in place.

(Incidentally, I realize this should be posted closer to spring, but in the words of Ynigo Montoya, “I hate waiting.” Let’s just go with the whole eggs=rebirth thing and pretend it’s somehow tied into New Year’s Day.)

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