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Your Time: Ukrainian Easter Egg Workshop, Northampton

  • Applying the wax
  • Removing egg from dye
  • Leah Zalea Ohren
  • Heather Howarth
  • Leah Rescia, left, Marion Abrams
  • Kylie Biron
  • Sequoia McDowell of Northampton heats up a kistky during the Family Batik Ukrainian Egg Workshop, Saturday, at Forbes Library in Northampton.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • Melissa Rudder, Theanna Tiedemann, Kelly Tiedemann
  • Instructor Marion Abrams
  • Instructor Marion Abrams
  • Heather Howarth, left, Leah Rescia, Sue Orszulak <br/><br/>
  • Finished eggs<br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/>
  • Finished eggs, called pysanky
  • Finished eggs, called pysanky

The beautiful and traditional folk designs of Ukrainian Easter eggs were given a modern twist at an egg-decorating workshop last Sunday at Forbes Library in Northampton.

The Ukrainian term “pysanka” refers to an egg that has been decorated with traditional Ukrainian folk motifs and designs; the designs aren’t painted on, but are instead created using beeswax that is heated and applied to the egg.

The participants came to learn about the old Easter tradition, but were also encouraged to put their own spin on their creations.

Instructor Marion Abrams of North Hatfield demonstrated the basic techniques. She applied beeswax to the egg with a “kistky,” a tool that is heated with a candle’s flame to melt the wax. After the designs are applied, the eggs are dipped in acid dyes and dried with a paper towel. The dye does not adhere to parts of the eggshell that have been covered with wax.

“You have to think strategically, it’s kind of like a puzzle,” Sequoia McDowell of Northampton said.

The group’s designs ranged from traditional Ukrainian folk patterns to images of rabbits, baby chicks and signatures.

“Eggs are universal symbols of rebirth in the spring,” Abrams said. It was traditional for lovers and family members to give the decorated eggs — “pysanky” — to each other.

To suggest a subject for Your Time, email Suzanne Wilson at swilson@gazettenet.com.

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