I live in Yardley, PA - (southeastern Pennsylvania), with my husband of 30+ years (Emil). My two sons (Michael and Andrijko) and now grown and off on their own.
We spend most of our summer weekends at the NJ shore in Sea Isle City, enjoying friends and family. I am a Hospital Pharmacist, but am happiest when creating something with my hands.
Growing up in a Ukrainian family, I learned the tradition of writing Pysanky Ukrainian Easter eggs at an early age. I fell in love with it, writing Pysanky during the Lenten season throughout my school years. But with the joys and commitments of raising a family, the art eventually went on a back burner. With my boys grown, I was finally been able to bring out my eggs and dyes, and keep them out all year. And I'm loving every minute of it. In 2014, I attended the PysankyUSA Retreat (hosted by Jim Hollock of Pysanky USA). sadly we lost Jim to Covid-19 in Feb 2021.
I was totally amazed at how much I learned about something that I knew so much about. A pivotal experience was taking an "Embellished Pendants" class, taught by Marianne Lurie. Making jewelry from eggshells has been a wonderful journey, and has provided a big step up in the enjoyment of sharing an age old tradition. One of my great joys is hosting classes and workshops, Visit me at a craft show, or visit my Etsy shop for a sample of my work.
Visting the Pysanka Museum
What is a Pysanka ? It is a Ukrainian Easter egg, decorated using a wax-resist batik method that dates back to ancient times. Starting with a white egg, the
wax is applied with the stylus. The designs are not painted on, but "written"
with a stylus filled with hot beeswax. Those areas covered with wax will remain white. The egg is then dipped into the next color (ie. yellow). Additional lines are added, which will be yellow in the final design. A Pysanka may have anywhere from one to 5 or 6 colors layered on it. Once the final color has been applied, the wax is removed eating the egg over a flame and wiping off the melted wax – exposing the colors and pattern underneath. The finished egg is then coated
with a protective coating to help preserve the colors. A finding can be attached for those Pysanky that will be displayed as ornaments.
The designs can range from very simple to extremely intricate. It can take anywhere from three hours to over 100 hours to write the design on an egg. Almost every family in Ukraine had its own special ritual, symbols, meanings and secret formulas for dyeing eggs during the Lenten season. These customs were faithfully preserved and passed down from mother to daughter through generations. Pysanky make wonderful decorations for the home (some designs having talismanic qualities), Christmas ornaments as well as unique gifts for many occasions.
About Pysanka Jewelry
Pysanka Jewelry is created by writing designs on eggshells in the age-old method of pysanky, with wax and dyes. Designs are borrowed from pysanky, jewelry, or just great patterns I see around me. After the wax is melted off, the shells are rough-cut into their appropriate shapes, and coated with a 2-part Environmentally Safe EcoPoxy. The shells are then hand-shaped and smoothed into their final form. Some are embellished with Swarowski crystals, pearls, metallic accents and braids. The pieces are then finished off with a final coat of protective epoxy before curing for several days. People often ask me if the jewelry is delicate or fragile. The epoxy does a very good job to protect the design and the shell. Pieces made from ostrich eggs are exceptionally sturdy.
To care for you jewelry, simply keep it in its organza pouch when in the jewelry box, and if needed, wipe it gently with an eyeglass cloth, or jewelry cloth.