By: Jay Nowakowski , Correspondent
CTValleyNews.com, Bristol, Connecticut
Thursday, March 18, 2004
FARMINGTON, CT - Pysanky is a Ukrainian word that has become synonymous
with the art of decorating eggs, particularly Easter eggs. "It comes from
the verb to write and has evolved to mean the decorated Easter egg," said
Dell Kasinskas, a pysanky artist/instructor of the past 34 years.
Kasinskas held a workshop in the art of pysanky at Our Lady of Calvary
Retreat Center in Farmington on Thursday evening, March 11. About 20 or so
(Click on image to enlarge it)
The hands-on workshop started with a brief history of the art form.
Kasinskas explained how she painstakingly shops for just the right eggs to
be decorated. The ideal eggs are of a uniform white color without any
blemishes, bumps, cracks or irregularities. The eggs are not cooked as this
enhances the ability of the colors to adhere to the shell. The yolk and the
white of the egg simply dehydrate over time.
After her presentation, the hands-on section of the program began. Each of
the participants received the necessary tools to create their own special
"masterpiece." Pysanky artists work with a tool called a kistka, which is
used to apply hot wax to the egg. The egg is then dyed and the process is
The final step is the removal of all the wax by heating a small section of
egg at a time. When the wax liquefies it is rubbed off with a clean soft
The process displays the colors underneath.
"At one time, all natural dyes were used such as onion skins or beets," said
Kasinskas. "Now most of the dyes are chemical dyes. I've been making
pysanky all theses years and I still enjoy it because I keep finding new
But the simple art has a deeper meaning as well.
"For me there is the spiritual aspect too," said Kasinskas. "The egg
represents the potential for new life and renewal. It represents, in a way,
going from the darkness of winter to the light and new life of spring. And
then there is the special mother-daughter bond that I have had since I was a
child. I did this with my mother and also with my daughter before she passed
on. Whenever I do pysanky it reminds me of the time I spent with my mother
and my sisters and then later on with my daughter."
"It is very relaxing and creative," said Kate Kaplan of Canton. "I like the
social aspects of doing something like this in a group. It is sort of what I
imagine quilting would be like."
"I'm 100 percent Ukrainian," said Barbara Hein of Canton. "My ancestors came
from Ukraine and I came today because I wanted to learn more about how they
made those beautiful eggs.
"I have a grater appreciation of all the stages involved. Now I can tell you
that it takes a lot of patience, a steady hand and good eyesight," she said
as she carefully crafted her own design.
"What I love to see is the delight people have in creating something," said
Sister Ann Rodgers, a member of the Our Lady of Calvary community. "This is
something they can take back home with them and look on it with pride and
enjoyment from time to time. "And for people who believe in God, we know
that he takes the same delight in looking at us," she said.
CTValleyNews.com, Bristol, Connecticut, March 18, 2004
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