Welcome to For Little Hands, a weekly series that hopes to inspire creative whimsy for the little hands in your life.
Easter is just around the corner and we've been working feverishly to create some beautiful Pysanky eggs for our Easter tree. We are planning to get away over the holiday, but traditions run deep in our family. Regardless of where we'll be celebrating, our home will continue to hold the preparations we've set; the essence of our honor to the Lenten season and the newness and comfort in knowing that with love and forgiveness all things are possible.
Pysanky is a beautiful and meditative way to decorate eggs for Easter. It requires patience and a gentle hand. I have found, that for the littlest hands (1-3 year olds) beeswax crayons are a safer option for the resist part, instead of the hot wax and a hot kistka. The dying can remain the same but with a bit more adult assistance. Charlotte was 4 when she used her first kistka. I sat right beside her and showed her all the hot parts of the process. I sat closely to her and did my best to help her avoid any spills of hot wax. It was the look on her face when she dyed her egg, with each dipping of color it was if magic was happening right before her eyes. And it was!
The process of Pysanky requires some specific tools::
~ Natural beeswax blocks
~ Kistkas (medium size works best for little hands)
Kistkas are the tools used to draw the melted wax onto the egg. The more modern ones have plastic handle and a brass cup with a spout.
~ Egg dye in various colors from light to dark
(we have Mason jars filled with yellow, orange, pumpkin, pink, red, scarlet, light green, turquoise, light blue, royal blue, and purple)
~ Lit candles to heat up the kistka and melt the wax of the egg when completed
~ Eggs, blown out or not (the ones left with the yolks will eventually dry out over time)
~ Rags for soaking up the dye and wiping of the hot wax
There are many wonderful books available that will give you the run down and even step by step instructions for designs. This is not an instant gratification project. It takes much time and patience. An egg can take a whole day or more depending on how intricate the design.
To give you an overview of how Pysanky is done::
First, draw your basic design on your egg with a pencil. Then, you heat up the kistka in the flame of a lit candle. Scoop up some beeswax into the cup of the kistka, and begin drawing the first bit of your design onto your egg. These first lines will be white when you're finished. Then you dip your egg into the first light color of your choosing. You must go from lightest colors to darkest. Each line drawn with wax after you've dyed the egg will be the last color you dipped. I hope this makes sense :) Pysanky is basically wax resist/batik style egg decorating. If you haven't tried it, you must! Find a book that inspires you, and have at it! The heirlooms that will come from the creations you make will be worth the time and energy learning this technique.
There is a bit of a disclaimer I will attach to this. When committing to Pysanky egg dying you are agreeing to take a risk of heartbreak if an egg should break, especially after hours of work and prayer have been poured over its creation. I find that this process reminds me of the ebbs and flows of living; how I might have worked so hard at something only to have it fall apart or with great effort and care I might have been afforded the honor of seeing my passion come to form, but in the end, the lesson I come away with is that nothing is mine to keep, only to nourish and love. I can tend to, breathe life in to, and gently care and provide for this little gift but there is a path that belongs to the process, and it's not mine to control.
You have to take risks. We only understand the miracle of life when we allow the unexpected to happen. ~ Paulo Coelho
I wish for you all a wonderful week of preparations for the Easter time upon us. I would love to see and hear all about your egg dying eggstravaganzas (I couldn't help it!!!). If you have pictures you'd like to share, post them to our Facebook page. I will add them into the Shared Inspiration album.
Spring has sprung and Easter is near,
Bringing about laughter and cheer.
Be merry, be light, and prepare the way,
To honor and welcome the newness of each day.