Ukrainian Easter eggs are known in the Ukrainian language as psanky. Psanka comes from the Ukrainian word pysaty, which means “to write.” The Ukrainian people have been decorating eggs for thousands of years and when Christianity came to the Ukraine in 988AD, (pagan) springtime festivities became Easter celebrations symbolizing the Resurrection and a promise of eternal life. Legend has it that as long as psanky are decorated, goodness will prevail over evil throughout the world.
Tatiana Gubenko and her daughter Tatiana who assisted Mama, are amazing and patient instructors; born and raised in Kiev, both women grew up in the beauty of this tradition and brought their knowledge and experience to share with us. Both Eastern and Western churches will celebrate Pascha/Easter on the same date this year–April 16th–so with this unity in the timeline of life, we thought it would be fun to celebrate this sacred season together.
Tatiana and her children prepared over 60 eggs several weeks prior to the workshop as they have to be dried out inside OR you can leave the egg intact and decorate it, then put it outside in your garage for a few months until the smell goes away! We are deeply grateful that Tatiana, Anastasia and Nikita helped their Mom by removing the yolk! After a lecture on the tradition of psanky, what the symbols and colors represent and a demonstration of the tools used, we settled into our seats with five blank eggs each to decorate.
Holding the egg gently, we divided the egg pattern into sections with a pencil then heated the kitstka filled with beeswax to begin the writing process. This is tricky as too much flowing wax blobs on your eggshell making a mess. Patience and careful attention will create smooth lines with the wax. Multiple dippings in a rainbow of colors after each wax pattern is drawn creates the amazing patterns you see in professionally written eggs; one gets a sense of the talent and level of experience the professional artists achieve through continuing practice–we are all beginners but appreciate the talent of people patient enough to make a living from this artform! A gift of a giant ostrich egg to the hostess may remain blank for several years … this is a daunting craft for a perfectionist …
After six hours of excitement, storytelling and fellowship, we sat down to a meal of salmon, salads and soup with Susan as our fabulous bartender, keeping the Moscow Mules flowing. Gabriela brought two beautiful cakes for Deko’s birthday celebration and we ended the evening taking home happy memories shared with friends.
Sidenote: while doing a bit of research about psanky, I came across this website www.sojeo.com Incredible dedication from this woman who sells her array of ostrich, duck, turkey and goose eggs to collectors worldwide. Take a moment to So Jeo’s site.
Next up on the Events list is Laura Clerici’s icon showing! Gallery Underground located on 2100 Crystal Drive in Arlington, Va. Friday, April 7, 2017 is the opening night beginning at 5:00 pm and ending at 8:00pm. We’ll see you there!
PROSOPON ICON WORKSHOP APRIL 24–29, 2017 WITH MASTER ICONOGRAPHER AND FOUNDER OF THE PROSOPON SCHOOL, VLADISLAV ANDREJEV. MASTER ICONOGRAPHER AND SON OF VLADILSAV, DMITRI ANDREYEV WILL BE ALONGSIDE HIS FATHER. 9-4 DAILY SHRINE OF ST. ANTHONY ELLICOTT CITY, MD.