Pysanky Demo at Bella Fiore Florist
Saturday August 14 from 5 to 9 PM— Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the Second Saturday experience in Fair Oaks Village and be sure to stop by Bella Fiore Florist to see firsthand the painstaking work that goes into creating these eggs.
Personally, I really enjoy the opportunity to explain how I make pysanky (Ukrainian eggs). Most people are unfamiliar with the wax-resist process and find it hard at first to envision the steps it takes, layering wax on the eggshell as it is dyed color after color. The fun part for me at these demonstrations comes when that light bulb of understanding dawns and the onlookers grasp the whole concept.
Bella Fiore’s owners, Bill and Debbie, have transformed part of their shop into an art gallery where you can see some of my pysanky as well as works by other local artists. Take some time on this Second Saturday to explore and enjoy this wonderful venue.
Several years ago my sister and I attended a weeklong class on artisan bread-baking at the John C Campbell Folkschool in Brasstown, North Carolina. It was kind of like summer camp for adults, except that the setting was spectacular, it runs year round and the food is a whole lot better. Their website states they “provide experiences in non-competitive learning and community life that are joyful and enlivening” and I can say firsthand they certainly met that goal.
As I absorbed the atmosphere that week, attended class or extra activities, and enjoyed conversations with other campers during our communal meals, I realized that we tend to relegate learning to the young. Once we graduate from high school, or college, or beyond we don’t always give ourselves the permission to explore new things, to try and possibly fail, or to devote time and energy to an endeavor just for the fun of it. During that week I talked with many fellow students who were discovering a passion for some new art that they had never known before. How sweet to see eyes light up as they talked about their class and their projects.
On a more personal note, at the grand old age of 50, I picked up the cello for the first time. I can honestly say it has been challenging, fulfilling, frustrating, and beyond fun. My point here? There is never a “too late” when it comes to learning something new.
If you are interested in learning how to make these pysanky eggs, the next introductory class will be Saturday, August 21, from 9 AM to 12 PM. You don’t need to bring anything, or know anything, or have any artistic talent. You just need to come with a youthful curiosity. See the “Classes” tab above for more information.
Here’s a simple truth. Life doesn’t always go as planned…and the same thing applies in creating these eggs. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started with an idea in my head and then proceeded to do it differently on the egg. Perhaps more often I forget to cover an area with wax and don’t discover it until after the egg comes out of the next darker dye when it’s too late to change anything. That’s what happened on this cross in the photo to the right.
Sometimes I desire a specific color and the egg just won’t take the dye properly so the color scheme changes completely. The egg to the left was supposed to have brilliant clear colors, but instead looks like an ancient, well-loved quilt which I liked even better. In my family we call that experience an “unexpected extra.”
These photos show two eggs dipped in the same dyes for the same amount of time but ending with totally unique colors. Certainly not what I had planned when I started.
I admit it irritates me at times, but that’s part of the beauty of this art. It can be wonderfully unpredictable which means sometimes the results are more surprising and spectacular than if it had turned out the way I planned. A kindergarten teacher my boys had would always say, “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.” As I think about it, that applies to creating these eggs but it’s also a pretty good philosophy for life as well.