Ukrainian Easter Eggs: Pysanka

A tradition is maintained in Sag Harbor.

A catalog demonstrating designs for Ukranian Easter eggs.

A catalog demonstrating designs for Ukranian Easter eggs.

A pysanka is a Ukrainian Easter egg, decorated with traditional Ukrainian folk designs using a wax-resist (batik) method. The word pysanka comes from the verb pysaty, “to write.” The designs are not painted on, but written with beeswax.

The designs in these photos are free-form experiments by a group of friends around a table in Sag Harbor, N.Y. Ken Dorph, the host, shares his family tradition each year on the eve of Easter. No two eggs are alike, and each is a surprise to its maker when the wax is melted, then rubbed away.

Clumps of bees wax are melted in a stylus for drawing on eggs for a design technique, similar to batik.

Clumps of bees wax are melted in a stylus for drawing on eggs for a design technique, similar to batik.

Friends gather in Sag Harbor at the home Ken Dorph to share in his family tradition of Ukranian egg dyeing.

Friends gather in Sag Harbor at the home Ken Dorph to share in his family tradition of Ukranian egg dyeing.

Friends gather in Sag Harbor at the home Ken Dorph to share in his family tradition of Ukranian egg dyeing.

Friends gather in Sag Harbor at the home Ken Dorph to share in his family tradition of Ukrainian egg dyeing.

Egg designs in process. Color is added layer by layer areas to remain untouched are covered in bees wax. When dyeing is complete the egg is held over a flame and wax is wiped away revealing an unexpected outcome.

Egg designs in process. Color is added layer by layer areas to remain untouched are covered in bees wax. When dyeing is complete the egg is held over a flame and wax is wiped away revealing an unexpected outcome.

Egg designs in process. Color is added layer by layer areas to remain untouched are covered in bees wax. When dyeing is complete the egg is held over a flame and wax is wiped away revealing an unexpected outcome.

Egg designs in process. Color is added layer by layer areas to remain untouched are covered in bees wax. When dyeing is complete the egg is held over a flame and wax is wiped away revealing an unexpected outcome.

Egg designs in process. Color is added layer by layer areas to remain untouched are covered in bees wax. When dyeing is complete the egg is held over a flame and wax is wiped away revealing an unexpected outcome.

Ukranian Easter Eggs

An Easter basket of home dyed Ukranian Easter eggs.

An Easter basket of home dyed Ukranian Easter eggs.

 

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