Sunday, 31 March 2013

Pysanky in conte crayon and metallic graphite pencils

This week's Illustration Friday prompt is egg. And I see it's been over a month since I did an IF. No particular reason, really. I've just been mostly puttering lately, and haven't come up with much that I wanted to go to the trouble of scanning and posting.

This week's doodle features a part of my heritage that I know almost nothing about.

My grandfather was Ukrainian (well, Ukrainian-Canadian), but he died long before I was ever thought of. All I really know about my Ukrainian side is that my grandfather made his own pyroghies, but I don't even know if he pronounced it pyroghies, pyrohies, or varenyky.

And these aren't pyroghies anyway.

The pysanka (pysanky, plural) is the decorated egg you find as part of the Ukrainian Easter celebration. It's done using a wax-resist or batik-style method: you draw wax lines on a raw egg for the white part of the design, dip the egg into your first (usually, lightest) colour, draw more lines to add to the design, and repeat with as many dyes as you're planning to use. Remove the wax with a candle or a brief dip in hot water, and you end up with an extremely intricately decorated egg. Traditionally, each family had its own designs that were handed down from mother to daughter. There's lots of info out there if you're interested in more details, or here's instructions on how to do it yourself.

I'd love to try it, even though with my self-flagellating personality it would probably be an exercise in start again... start again again...and start again...

Anyway. A little ways north of me there are plenty of settlements that celebrate Ukrainian founding and Ukrainian heritage, even to the point of building the world's largest pysanka. Given that and the current holiday, I thought that it was more than appropriate for the prompt.

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