Gorgeous, colorful Ukrainian Easter Eggs are called Pysanky in Ukrainian. Susan Summers first witnessed pysanky being made at the annual free demonstrations sponsored by Susan’s Easter Shop during Lent. The technique of making pysanky is ancient, going back two thousand years in the Ukraine. It involves fresh, whole eggs, a cake of pure beeswax, a lit candle or heat source to melt the beeswax, handled tools called kistky, and jars of brilliant dyes.
The first time Susan touched a kistka, she knew she was destined to make pysanky. After twenty-five years of practice, Susan is at an expert level very few reach. She makes traditional Ukrainian designs, and she also used southwest designs, such as this Navajo Yei design on a goose egg, strung to hang with selected beads. She puts eight to ten hours of expert work on each egg.
Come and see Susan Summers and a few other artist actively working on fine pysanky at this year’s free demonstration. It will be Saturday, February 27 from 1:00 to 4:00 PM at the Hotel St. Frances on Don Gaspar in downtown Santa Fe. That historic hotel is at the corner of Galisteo and Water, a block south of San Fancisco Street.
Melissa Lewis will show a special traditional batik egg decorating technique we call the “drop pull” method. She learned it as a child from her father, with a kistka and melted beeswax in the lid from a jar of peanut butter. Elizabeth Mesh will show very contemporary styles of pysanky. If we are lucky, we’ll have John Baldwin demonstrate too. He has created an Audrey Hepburn egg, which is amazing to see.
I hope to see you on Saturday, February 27 at the Hotel Saint Francis in Santa Fe. Free is good. Pysanky are great!