The art and craft of pysanky

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If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to create these eggs, now is the time to sign up for an introductory class through Carmichael Recreation and Park District .  See this flyer for more details.Ukrainian Egg Workshop 2015

It’s Official

Jeanne's car

I’m going to summer camp again!  This year’s Pysanky USA Retreat in Pennsylvania promises to be bigger and better than ever.  I’ll be teaching a couple of classes and taking a few from other teachers but more importantly I’ll get to reconnect with “egging friends” from across the country.  For five days the outside world falls away as I explore new ideas, learn new techniques, and catch up with others who share my love of pysanky.  I can hardly wait!

 

Sound interesting?  This event is a great place for all skill levels, from “I’ve never dyed an egg before” to “I’ve been creating these eggs for 30 years.”  If you want to join the fun, here’s the link for more details.

Incredible Eggs Calendar

2015calendarIt’s that time of year.  The 2015 Incredible Eggs calendar is out and I think this one is the best yet.  And that’s not just because I have two egg photos in it this year.  Click here to see the details and to preview the gorgeous photos.

Letting Go

2011 mom cello aMany of you know that I play the cello.  I began as an adult and have been taking lessons for nearly seven years now and although I can see progress, I still can’t bring myself to claim the title of cellist yet.

 

The learning curve for this instrument is steep.  For each note the fingers of my left hand have to press an exact spot on the string to produce the correct pitch.  Depending on the sound I want and what the next notes will be, I have to choose which finger to use and whether to press just my fingertip or a flattened finger onto the string.  Do I hold it steady or rock my hand to create vibrato?  Meanwhile to form the purest tone my right hand controls the pressure, angle and placement of the bow as well as its speed across the string.  So many choices with each and every note.

 

Truth be told, practicing is not always a pleasant experience…for me or the other inhabitants of my house.  If I know my practice session will include work on some horribly hard stuff, I try to schedule my cello time when no one else is home.  If that can’t happen I warn my family with our code phrase, “It’s going to be two-door bad.”  That’s means I not only close the door to the room where I am practicing, but I also close their door in order muffle the sound as much as possible.

 

Over the years I do see improvement in my playing but it’s a painfully long and slow process.  Sometimes that’s discouraging.  Cringing as I hit yet another awful note can be debilitating.  If I stop my bow, the note is gone but its memory lingers to mock my attempts.  I often think, “Should I just give up now and spare the world this agony?”  Thankfully God whispers life lessons to me in odd moments like this.  It struck me recently that each time I pick up the cello I have a choice.  I can’t do anything about the bad notes I played before but I can make each note I am currently playing as beautiful as possible.  Those past regrets take away from today’s beauty and I need to let them go.  Learn from them but move on.  A valuable life lesson indeed.

Me and Eliza, m cello

Summer Camp for Me!

Doing what you love is a good thing…but doing it with a bunch of other people who also love it is an amazingly good thing.  I spent last week in Pennsylvania with 60+ other pysanky artists at an egg retreat learning, teaching, connecting and laughing with friends old and new.  To put it simply, I went to summer camp for adults…and I highly recommend it.

 

This is my third year attending the Pysanky USA Retreat.  I took a few classes, taught a few classes and mostly hung out in the “play room” where we could work on our own projects as we talked and shared about egg art and life in general.  The room population ebbed and flowed throughout the day as classes started which allowed me to meet new people with the luxury of unhurried time on our side.  Free flowing ideas sparked new techniques, new color combinations, new dyes to try.  Wow, my brain got full fast!

 

I came away from this week not only with a renewed enthusiasm for this art but with a sense of community and connectedness to my fellow pysanky artists across the country.  And I’m already looking forward to next year!

Arts Camp 2014 Recap

Here’s a glimpse of our week at Oak Hills Church Arts Camp!

 

God blessed me with 12 wonderfully creative 5th and 6th grade girls, two loving shepherd helpers and a calm and cheerful assistant teacher this year.  Together we learned about God and His love for us while we learned the art of pysanky and how to create these jeweled wonders.  We also learned that occasionally eggs break but life goes on because you get to start over on a new egg.

All valuable life lessons in my book.

Arts Camp 2014

VA56_Pysanky-7

Once again I’ll be teaching a week-long class of 5th and 6th graders how to create pysanky.  Oak Hills Church in Folsom, California, bursts with activity as the campus transforms into a vast studio of kids and volunteers all focused on finding God through the arts.

 

Dance, music, theater, visual arts, creative craftsmanship, and even culinary arts come alive as we all learn how to nurture our creative souls.

 

For more information and to register, click here.