The art and craft of pysanky

Archive for January, 2016

Working in Series

Sometimes design ideas just pour out of my head and onto the eggs and I can’t find enough studio time to complete them all.


Then there are other times when I sit staring at a clean white egg and experience what I call “Blank-egg-o-phobia.”


You know the feeling.  You want to create and yet you sit and stare at that unstarted project and the longer you sit and stare, the harder it is to get started and pretty soon you realize that your studio is a mess and you should really organize it better but first you need to move everything off your table and you discover it is incredibly dusty which requires a trip to the kitchen to get the cleaning supplies where you remember that you forgot to unload the dishwasher and two hours later you finally come back to your studio and decide you’ll try again tomorrow.


Please tell me I’m not alone here.


So how do I get past this?  Artists everywhere have discovered that working “in a series” can help unleash creativity again.  A “series” just means creating a body of work with a common theme.  It doesn’t even matter whether you decide to link all your work by color, texture, subject, or style, a series will provide definition and boundaries.


It’s very counterintuitive, but limiting my choices requires me to think more deeply about the subject.  It’s an opportunity to explore those ideas fully and to learn from each step.  The same rules that limit me will keep me on track but free me to get creative in discovering new solutions to design problems.  Fear of ruining a piece can keep me stuck but working in multiples can get me unstuck.


As I started thinking about this topic, I noticed that God also works in series.  Think about trees, for instance.  God designed all trees with the same basic parts… roots, trunks, branches, leaves.  That could get boring pretty quickly but God, the infinitely creative artist, started playing with all those parts using color and shape and size.  I’d venture to say there is an infinite variation in the tree world but all within the boundaries of those same boring parts…roots, trunks, branches, leaves.  Take a look around you.  It’s not just in trees, it’s in everything…clouds, rivers, rocks, and people too.  Absolutely everything shows God’s creative handiwork within a set of rules.


The lesson here?  Rules are your friend both in art and in life.


Returning to my studio here…Let me give you a peek at my latest series.  Quite a contrast to my usual multi-colored eggs with lots of fine lines, these Trypillian-style eggs require only three colors…white, brown and black.  The designs are very bold, simple and repetitive but as a group I find them fascinating.  Hope you enjoy them too.


Save the Date!

It’s never too soon to start planning for summer fun.  And if you want fun, friendship and unhurried time to explore the art of pysanky then this retreat should go right to the top of your list.  Beginner to expert skill levels are all welcome.


Pysanky USA Retreat 2016

July 12-16, 2016

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

Jim's new toilet seat

A little unabashed advertising here…I will be teaching “Quilt-inspired Eggs” and “Egg Mosaics” classes at this retreat and there are lots of other great classes by a variety of very experienced teachers.


Here is the website for more info.