Posts Tagged 'fun'

The Psychology of Pysanky

Hi again all!

Easter is almost upon us again, and the time has come when that traditional Easter Egg shape (or “Spring Sphere” shape, depending which circles you run in) just seems to be calling out for a decorative touch.

Whatever you call them, these blank little ovoids seem to be the perfect canvases for a wide variety of paint and dye techniques. One of the more homespun methods of decoration also happens to be one of the most intricate and spectacular.

Pysanky is a form of egg decoration that uses various dyes and a wax resist, like batik. It may be one of your Ukranian grandmother’s favorite hobbies, but it also lends itself to an almost unending series of reinventions.

A little while back, I was lucky enough to find a class in the area that taught this spectacular technique. I have to admit, it’s sort of impossible to get the awe-inspiring results seen below from only a 3 hour session, but it was a decent introduction to the process.

http://spindlesend.net/images2/Misc/P0001432.JPG

Essentially, you draw on your basic geometric breakdown lightly with a pencil, heat a very simple small metal funnel called a kitska over a flame, and use it to paint beeswax resist over an ever-darkening series of dye layers on your egg.

What this meant to my design above was that I painted beeswax where I wanted the white of the design to be. Then, I dyed the egg yellow. I painted the beeswax over the part of the egg where I wanted the yellow to be, and then tinted a section of my egg green. And so on and so forth until you end with your black dye. Then you melt all of your beeswax off with a candle.

As a perfectionist, this particular craft pursuit could easily have driven me to the point of a nervous breakdown, especially due to the 3 hour time constraint. And, note to all of you who may want to try pysanky in future, do NOT try to down a mug full of coffee before trying this for the first time…

But, no offense to the sudoku aficionados out there, I think this is a way more fun method of training your brain to think backwards and plan ahead.

So everyone out there with a Ukranian grandmother, go tell her she’s awesome, just because. And if you’d like to learn more about the art of pysanky, please see this generously free tutorial site.

Happy Easter everyone :-)

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Boo.


Happy Rocktober everyone! I hope you’ve been having a nice lead-up to the year’s most spooktacular holiday!

I love this time of year, and I adore almost everything to do with Halloween, so I wanted to share this project with you. I’ve been taking a design course, and the above was one of our recent assignments.

We were asked to create a pictorial image using black and white construction paper, and tracings of any shape that we could produce with our hands. We could change the size of the shapes as we liked, and use as many cut-outs as we liked. And with my particular love of this otherworldly holiday, I could not pass up the opportunity to get my scare on :-)   I do apologize for the poor photography though. I am more of an opportunist than a planner when it comes to taking pictures sometimes…

But anyway, I got to thinking that this would be a really cool craft to do with kids. We all remember those traced hand turkeys we made in school for Thanksgiving, but this sort of project could be an interesting challenge for any holiday during the year. If a child can hold some kind of drawing implement, and if there is some construction paper/computer paper/old magazines/glue/scissors lying around the house, then you’ve got all you need for a festive and seasonal activity. Smaller kids might need a bit of assistance with cutting or gluing, but older children should have no problem doing this independently.

Kids can experiment with trying to trace as many different shapes with their hands as they can think of. And of course they can add a bit of color if they want to. Orange I am sure would be a particular favorite.  And plus, once kids have finished their projects, these little pieces of art can join the other Halloween decorations around the house. And kids will be so proud to show off their handiwork in their bedroom window, or in some other prominent location. It’s a win-win. The kids will have something fun and inspiring to do, maybe even sharing some social time with their friends or siblings, and parents might even get a little quiet time while the kids are actively occupied in their pursuits.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this project, and that you get to spend some good quality time with your little goblins this month.

Happy Halloween!


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