The art and craft of pysanky

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Me on TV???

I am a “behind the scenes” person by nature.  I do not like being the center of attention.  And that sentiment goes a long way back.  In second grade I remember vividly a time when our classroom ended up with an extra red rubber ball after recess one day.  My teacher asked for a volunteer to return it to the neighboring classroom and everyone jumped up waving arms ecstatically in the air.  That is, everyone except me.  I sat quietly with hands folded thinking, ”Why would anyone want to go and do that?”  Sister Mary Vincent settled the class down and then imagine my shock when she called on me.  I began quaking in my saddle shoes as she handed me the ball.  I can still feel the terror of leaving the safety of my classroom to walk that long hallway, knock on the door and then enter the other classroom, all eyes fixed on me.  Oh the horror!

Given my aversion to the limelight, it’s rather hard to imagine myself on television but that’s what happened on the Friday before Easter.  With just a few days notice Channel 31 Good Day Sacramento’s Cody Stark and his camera man came into my kitchen to highlight my egg art.  Ch31 truckMe on live TV, just like that.  I didn’t have much time beforehand to fret and get nervous which is probably a good thing.  And talking about pysanky and demonstrating the process was easy.  While I can’t exactly call myself a television star, I can at least say,”Want to see me on TV?  Click here.”

Quilts and Eggs

The Art & Soul Gallery sits in the lobby of my home church, Oak Hills, and we rotate art through there every couple of months or so.  Currently we’re showing a collection of quilts by Debby Schnabel, a local artist, and the colors, variety, and workmanship are stunning to say the least.

Debby Schnabel, quilterI had the privilege of “hanging” this gallery, which simply means I took part in arranging the quilts and physically mounting them on the walls for display.  It usually takes two or three people to do the work of hanging a new gallery.  This time Debby Schnabel, the quilt artist, and my painter friend, Randy Blasquez, formed the hanging team.

Just as we do with paintings we laid all the quilts out on the floor to arrange them by color.  Then came the process of figuring out how much space we had and making sure we had a good flow to the whole display.  Finally, we mounted the quilts on the wall.  Whew.  Job well done.

As we worked, I noticed both Debby and Randy had an eye for color and scale with those large quilts that I didn’t have.  And both could spot a quilt hung out of level quickly.  It was a different experience for me.  My eye works best in tiny details.  Working with objects this large, I found I was out of my element.

I love seeing those quilts on the gallery wall, but I really loved coming home to my studio and working on my newest series of quilt-inspired pysanky.  To each her own!Eggs in Basket

Lightning Does Strike Twice!

product_thumbnailLast year I had the privilege of seeing a photo of my eggs printed in a beautiful calendar featuring pysanky from artists across the globe.  My son, Ryan, did an amazing job photographing a collection of my red eggs which was the featured photo for February.

This year I am thrilled to announce another photo of my eggs appears in a calendar…and once again it’s for February.  Click on Incredible Eggs 2013 Calendar to get more information and preview all the pictures.

I guess now I really am “Miss February!”

Pumpkin Choir

Sometimes I let go of my serious side and just play with eggs and dyes and wax.  This is one of those times!  Happy Halloween all.

My 15 Minutes of Fame

I got a package in the mail this week.  I knew it was on its way but had nearly forgotten, so seeing it in the postal box and tearing it open brought a Christmas morning thrill.  At last, the promised September 2012 issue from the Egg Artistry Guild of Australia.  And on page 19 I found an article with  my name and some photos of my eggs.  I’m practically famous!

In case you’re wondering, here’s the path that led to this article.  At the egg retreat in July I took a class on etching emu eggs and posted a photo of the finished egg to my pysanky chat group.  The editor of the Australian Guild saw it, contacted the owner of Pysanky USA, the online store that sponsored the retreat, who called me to ask permission to pass on my information.  A flurry of emails back and forth and voila, people in Australia are now reading my one page feature.  Small world, huh?

Go See Dimitri

You can now find my eggs at Village Treasures in Fair Oaks Village.  This eclectic shop combines jewelry services with interesting art, and fine olive oils, chocolate and honey. The owner, Dimitri Grekoff, is quite familiar not only with the art of pysanky but also with its cultural heritage.  Besides that, he’s just fun to talk with, so if you’re looking for a field trip as we head into fall, wander over to Old Fair Oaks and stop in for a visit.

Village Treasures is located at 10144 Fair Oaks Boulevard, Fair Oaks, California

My People

Pysanky artists seem to be few and far between here on the West Coast.  This art originated in the Eastern European area of Ukraine, Poland, Russia, Lithuania etc. and immigrants brought it to this country.  Like my dad’s family, most of them settled on the East Coast or across Canada and not so many came to central California where I live now.  As a result it is rare for me to meet others who share my love for creating this type of egg art.

Thankfully the internet has put other artists within my reach.  Just over a year ago I joined an online pysanky chat group and began learning new techniques and tips from our discussions.  I thought I knew a lot about creating these eggs already, but found a whole new world of fun to explore.  These new-found friends willingly shared knowledge and sparked a renewed excitement in me and my work.

A couple of weeks ago I had the amazing opportunity to meet some of these people face to face at a pysanky retreat.  Forty of us spent time hanging out together at a beautiful retreat center in Dalton, Pennsylvania.  I walked into that place never having met anyone but immediately I felt like I was among “my people.”  The names I knew became faces as we all spoke the same language and got excited about the same things.  Together we took classes, admired each others’ work, freely shared ideas, and continued our own projects.

 

 

 In short, I lived and breathed pysanky.

I think I just got a taste of heaven.

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