The art and craft of pysanky

pysanky

Art Immersion Week at the Studio

For the first time we are offering a whole week of classes at the Studio at Oak Hills Church in Folsom, California. Think of it as Arts Camp for older youth and adults.  Featuring ceramics, drawing, painting, paper crafts and egg art on five different nights, classes begin Monday, July 24, 2017.  Check here for more details and to register for one or more classes.

 

I’ll be teaching the beginning pysanky class on Friday, July 28th from 6:30 to 8:30 PM.  Sign up early to get a discount and reserve your spot.


iFest 2017

This Saturday from 5 to 9 PM in village Green Park of Rancho Cordova.  It’s a fun event for the whole family.  I’ll have a cultural display booth of pysanky so come out and say hi!


Fragile Canvas

A Solo Gallery Show by Teresa Mihalko Harbert

April 2 through May 7, 2017

at the Art & Soul Gallery of Oak Hills Church
1100 Blue Ravine Road, Folsom CA 95630

Probably the number one question I am asked about this art called pysanky is, “Are they real eggs?”  The answer?  Yes, they are very real eggs.  God created an engineering marvel with those shells, sturdy enough to withstand the mama bird’s weight as she keeps them warm before they hatch and yet designed so the baby bird can still peck its way through to life on the outside.

 

Over the years I have accidentally broken eggs at every stage in this creative wax-and-dye process.  From exploding an egg while emptying it, to smashing one as I reach for it on my work area, to bobbling another as I remove layers of wax, and even dropping one or two as I proudly tried to admire my finished work of art.

 

Frustration does not adequately describe my feelings each time this happens.  And after mourning the loss and cursing my clumsiness I eventually reach for another egg and begin all over again.

 

This solo exhibition show has been a long time in coming.  It is the joy of creation and the pain of loss all tangled up in thoughts and eggshells.  Let me take you on my art and faith journey from the initial idea to the actual show you will see in the Art & Soul gallery.

 

It all starts with my love for tiny details.  I actually crave the quiet hours alone required to create these eggs.  That’s my time to push away the busyness of the “regular” world and focus on one small thing at a time.  And once in a while as I work God gives me an idea to ponder.  This time it started with the eggshells themselves.

 

The show title, Fragile Canvas, came quickly and I knew that somehow I needed to demonstrate it, not just tell about it.  I decided to create an egg and then break it on purpose for a photo for the show’s title page.  Creating the egg was a joy, but I was surprised at how reluctant I felt when the time came to break it.  It was much more emotional than I expected.

 

I finally got out my camera and readied the photo shoot area.  Then I took a few minutes to marvel at the designs and color choices on my finished egg’s surface.  This goose egg had been such a pleasure to work on because it was unusually smooth.  Most goose eggs have small bumps and pits on their surface so the wax lines appear to waver as they move across the egg.  Dyes don’t always adhere as brightly either but this particular egg behaved perfectly every step of the way.  Looking at the finished egg I started to doubt myself, did I really need to break it?

 

I wrestled with my decision quite a while before bringing the egg down sharply onto my desk.  Hearing that distinctive “crack” actually sent a shiver up my spine and I felt an immense sense of loss.  I had changed that egg forever with one swift movement of my hand.

 

As I inspected the damage and gently picked up the pieces, I marveled at the beauty of the egg, even in its broken state.  This is where God again gently spoke, reminding me that our lives are also fleeting and must be handled with great care.  We are all made of fragile canvas and yet even in our broken state, we still have beauty.

 

Fragile canvases indeed.


Only Two More Spots!

Wow!  The new catalog of classes for the John C. Campbell Folk School just came out a couple of weeks ago and my “Pysanky For All” class August 20-26, 2017, is nearly full.  This is such thrilling news for me because it means I get to go back to that lovely spot in North Carolina and “play eggs” for a whole week with students of all skill levels.

 

I love teaching beginners.  My favorite part is watching their faces as they remove the wax from their very first egg and see the colorful results.  And I love seeing their excitement as they progress through the week, improving in skill and beginning to come up with design ideas on their own.

 

I also love teaching those already experienced with this wax and dye process.  Helping them stretch their artistic muscles as they work with new colors, or techniques, or styles is great fun for me.  I learn almost as much as they do as we work through the week together.

 

Here is a photo of the work my class did for the big “Show and Tell” celebration at the end of the week.  Didn’t they do a great job?  I feel like a proud parent!

img_20160617_163002


Two More Classes Coming Soon!

This just in…Two Ukrainian Egg Workshops on Saturday March 12, 2016

9:30 AM to 12 PM — Introductory Class

Darkredradiatingstarlarge1301413This basic class is for anyone who wants to take the first steps in making these colorful eggs.  No previous experience or skill needed.

1 to 3:30 PM–Trypillian Egg Decorating

1600313webIn this class we will use the same layering of wax and dyes as in the introductory class, but work on a very different style of Ukrainian egg.

To sign up contact Carmichael Recreation and Park District.  For more details and to register, click here.


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.


The Northern California Eggstravaganza

The Northern California Eggstravaganza

March 5 and 6, 2016, at the Crown Plaza Northeast, 5321 Date Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95841.

 

VA56_Pysanky-15This annual egg show and sale is coming quickly so mark your calendars now.  I will be teaching two classes on Saturday, March 5, as well as selling pysanky eggs and egg jewelry in the showroom all weekend.

 

Click here for details on these classes.