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Re: [BKARTS] Psyanki eggs (if you're interested)



I don't know if pysanki eggs were traditionally made of wood. The ones I know of are made with real eggs in a very time-consuming process of resist and dyeing.

If you want white lines, then you start with a white egg before doing any dyeing. You then take a special brass-headed stylus and heat it over a candle flame, and then push it into a cake of beeswax so the melted wax accumulates in a tiny reservoir. You then draw thin lines on the egg with the melted beeswax in the stylus. Wherever you draw will remain white. Then you dye the egg in the lightest color you want in the design, perhaps yellow, and draw melted wax lines where you want that color to appear. Then you dye the egg in the next darkest color, and so on to your darkest color, which is usually a navy blue or black.

The egg now has all this sooty wax all over it and looks, well, rather ugly. The best part is always holding the egg over the gas burner on the stove (or some other non-sooty heat source) and then wiping the melted wax off the egg. It's a magical moment to see all the colors in the intricate design pop out.

Traditionally the eggs were given to family, neighbors, and special people such as the local priest. Young girls would make special eggs for young men they favored. A legend that I know of says that the people tossed the broken eggshells into streams so the secluded monks downstream would know it was Easter. At least these things are what I have been told.

My family are not of Russian descent, but we did blow eggs and do psyanki designs on them for Christmas ornaments. This was just something we discovered and did for fun. I don't know if they still exist, but we got our things in a kit and could buy more supplies from the same source. I saw the same kit in a store in Toronto when I was there several years back, so you can probably order the supplies online.

Pam

************************************************

Pamela Rups
Coordinator, Instructional Technology Center
Office of Information Technology
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo, MI  49008
269.387.5016


On Aug 18, 2006, at 11:08 AM, John Cutrone wrote:


Howsabout an artists' book to assist in planning your Russian adventure?
Here are some views and commentary of "The Red Square--Moscow" by Gea
Grevink:

http://www.library.fau.edu/depts/spc/jafferedsquare.htm


Just for the fun of it, of course, and since we're all book artists, anyway.



By the way, at Convivio Bookworks, we bought a supply of painted wooden
pysanki eggs from a family of craftsfolk there in Moscow for our Book of
Days Catalog. We never got to meet the family, but it was pretty thrilling
to get packages from Russia loaded with Cyrillic printed words... kind of
like opening a book in a language you can't read. And I swear the eggs were
still cold when we received them here in Florida. When the family shipped
the eggs to us, the temperature in Moscow, they said, was 40 below zero...
which is way beyond the comprehension of this Florida Boy. The pysanki are
at:


http://www.conviviobookworks.com/pages/BODC%20Spring%20Pysanki% 20Painted%20E
ggs.html



Enjoy your adventure!


John Cutrone
Book Arts Coordinator
The Arthur & Mata Jaffe Collection: Books as Aesthetic Objects
Florida Atlantic University Libraries
http://www.jaffecollection.org

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Guild of Book Workers' 100th Anniversary Exhibition Now Online - Catalog Available
<http://palimpsest.stanford.edu/byorg/gbw/>


                    Flag Book Bind-O-Rama and Exhibit
                   Entry Deadline, September 15, 2006

             For all your subscription questions, go to the
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***********************************************
Guild of Book Workers' 100th Anniversary Exhibition Now Online - Catalog Available
<http://palimpsest.stanford.edu/byorg/gbw/>
Flag Book Bind-O-Rama and Exhibit
Entry Deadline, September 15, 2006
For all your subscription questions, go to the
Book_Arts-L FAQ and Archive.
See <http://www.philobiblon.com> for full information
***********************************************



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