The Art of Pysanky

Христос воскрес.

To everyone celebrating Easter on 19 April 2020 (according to the Julian calendar).

In Western Christianity, the date of Easter is based on the Gregorian calendar. The Eastern Christian tradition bases its calculations for Easter on the Julian calendar, which differs from the Gregorian calendar by 13 days.

Pysanky (Traditional hand crafted Ukrainian Easter eggs)

Accordingly, Easter is celebrated on two different dates. Easter on the Julian calendar now falls anywhere between April 4 and May 8 and the Gregorian Easter falls anywhere between March 22 and April 25. In rare instances, the dates align, and Easter is celebrated simultaneously. In 2020, Ukrainian Easter (Julian) is celebrated on Sunday 19 April.

A pysanka (Ukrainian, plural: pysanky) is a Ukrainian Easter egg decorated with traditional Ukrainian folk designs.

The traditional process of creating pysanky

Pysanky are decorated according to the traditional method using beeswax and a drawing quill for wax to "write" the designs. The symbols have special meaning for Easter. The word "pysanka" comes from the verb "pysaty" (to write), as the designs are not painted on, but written with beeswax. The colours that create the intricate designs are added sequentially using a colour additive process. The pysanky artist must understand how the colours will combine to create new colours and use beeswax to mask colours that should not change. It is a specialised skill developed over many years.

Exquisite! Stunning!

The traditional Ukrainian Easter Greeting is"Христос воскрес" | Christ Is Risen

Pysanky are decorative rather than edible. Decorated eggs are crafted purely for display at Easter and not for eating as they are usually blown out and hollow. The egg yolk and white are either allowed to dry up over time or removed by blowing them out through a small hole in the egg.

Krashanky, from krasyty, "to decorate", are boiled eggs dyed a single colour with vegetable dyes. They are blessed and eaten at Easter.

Paska is a tall, cylindrical Easter bread with a rounded top that is decorated with Easter symbols. The symbolism of these ornaments is connected with spring themes: the awakening of nature, resurrection and rebirth. and birds, especially larks, that herald the arrival of spring.

The pysanky and the designs on each pysanka featured in these photos were created and hand-crafted by Irena Schorsch using traditional tools and the beeswax method.

Irena has received awards for her pysanky at The Canberra Show and demonstrated the design and colouring techniques to students at numerous schools. Her pysanky have been featured in a number of publications.

Pysanky designs © Irena Schorsch 2020 | Photographs © Stefan Kussy 2020. Copyright protected images. Used with permission of copyright owners.
Please respect the artist's intellectual property. Photographs and pysanky designs may not be reproduced, used, copied or distributed in any form, including, but not restricted to, electronic media and social media platforms, without the expressed written permission of the copyright owners. Thank you for respecting the artist's work.