The art and craft of pysanky

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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.

Happy Blues

In case you couldn’t tell, I love the color blue.  For as long as I can remember, blue has brought me joy.  In this colorful world, those calm and peaceful blues always capture my eye first.  That’s why it has been such a pleasure to immerse myself in creating a batch of blue eggs these last few months.  In order to stretch myself artistically, I chose a limited number of simple design elements yet combined them uniquely for each egg.  What do you think?

Playing It Safe

Years ago we added onto our house and remodeled our kitchen, a project I had dreamed of for decades.  New cabinets, new floor, new appliances, and new countertops…a dream come true.  In all the decisions that come with a big project like this, the most stressful for me was choosing the countertop.  Fairly quickly I decided on the material, but picking the color was another story.  House décor trends called for warm tans and golds but I really prefer the cool colors like white, grey, and especially blue.  I knew this was a once-in-my-lifetime commitment and I didn’t want to make a mistake so I spent most of my time debating over light colors like grey and white.  They were all nice, clean-looking, neutral (because what if we had to sell the house???) and I didn’t love any of them, but they were all “safe.”

In the midst of all this, I spoke with my sister about my color angst.  She listened patiently and then said, “If you really like blue, then pick blue.”  What?  Blue countertops?  I’d never seen it in any fancy kitchen magazine, or home show, or in real life either.  Who would put blue counters in a kitchen?  It’s just not done!  At least that was my initial reaction.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized she was right.  I like blue.  In fact, I love blue, and this was my kitchen, and I plan to live here with those countertops for a good long time and who cares about resale value?

I realized my reluctance to choose blue came from a desire to do the reasonable thing, to play it “safe,” to not make waves, to not attract attention, or ruffle anyone’s feathers.  And that is my nature.  I like being behind the scenes, unnoticed, invisible.  But that’s not really how God calls us to live, is it?  A life spend hiding is a life half-lived.  How many experiences have I missed because I wasn’t willing to be bold?  To put my toe outside my comfort zone and risk a little?

These days I still love my blue countertops and I’m so glad I didn’t go the safe neutral route.  Now if I could only remember that lesson every single day…

Floral Blues at the Kennedy

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As part of the 4th Annual Spring Flower Show at the Kennedy Gallery you can see some of my classic blue and white eggs in various sizes from quail to ostrich.

Join the artists this Thursday, April 12,  from 6 to 8 PM  at the Preview Thursday Reception.

And don’t forget the Second Saturday Artwalk April 14 from 4 to 9 PM.

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