Explore Ukrainian Folk Art at UCHM: Class is offered on March 21

NEmiss.News Pysanky Eggs class, 2023


NEmiss.News Pysanka eggsThe Union County Heritage Museum is hosting a Pysanky egg workshop on March 21, from 5:30 p.m.- 9 p.m. The class, led by Denise Brown, of New Albany, will guide students through the process of creating intricately designed and dyed pysanky eggs.  “We actually go through the entire process start to finish [… the students] lay the initial design down, and then do all the steps of dyeing, […] and then they get to take it off at the end, which is the best part. […] it really is magic.”

NEmiss.News Pysanky egg class with Denise Brown

Jeanette Stone works on her Pysanky egg design as teacher Denise Brown looks on.

Students of every skill level are welcome to join the class, and no prior skills are required, she said. “Perfection is not the point, it’s the process and the elements. It’s the wax, it’s the candle, it’s the simple dyes, it’s simple tools, simple process and [creating] a beautiful piece to share.”

Brown has created Pysanky eggs for 14 years and she got her start at church. “Our priest at St. Timothy’s came and she did this practice during lent, […] and I was hooked after the first workshop.” Pysanky eggs are traditionally a Lenten practice in Ukraine, as Brown explains. “[It] was traditionally done at Lent when there was a lot more fasting days, so they had an abundance of eggs that were not used, and so they could use the eggs for an artistic process.”

NEMiss.News Pysanky eggs designed by Denise Brown

Two Pysanky eggs designed by Denise Brown have a permanent home at the museum.

Each egg had a purpose, and women would traditionally make “anywhere from 50 to 60 Pysanky eggs during Lent.” These eggs were then gifted to family and friends or used in the home. “One or two were given to the priest, three or four were taken to the cemetery and put on graves, ten to fifteen were given to children and godchildren, ten to twelve were exchanged between unmarried girls and boys[…] several were saved for the home for protection, two or three were placed in the trough were the animals ate, […] and then at least one egg was put under the beehive to ensure harvest for honey, and one was saved for each of the grazing animals to be taken out to the fields”

This thoughtful craft is the perfect contemplative practice to take up during the Easter season. Brown says, “For me, I do it during Lent, and it’s a prayer discipline for me. And as I tell students, it won’t be prayerful for the first time when you learn it. But after you get the hang of it, […] it’s a peaceful, calming engagement of your mind and your hands at the same time. So, it really is a prayerful practice.”

The cost of the course is $30 per person. Anyone interested in joining the class should call the Union County Heritage Museum at (662) 538-0014 to sign up.

By Alaina Wilder

Intern Union County Heritage Museum

Blue Mountain Christian University

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