Monday, January 11, 2010

easter eggs... already?

I know, it's hardly time for Easter eggs, but it's all snowy and they are making me feel like spring might come soon. Also, I just got the Ukrainian egg dye that i wanted for Christmas, so I couldn't wait to get started.

I haven't done this project for a number of years. In fact, the directions page I printed off the first time I made these was dated 1996. My mom and I went to a craft class that our church was offering. This was the project.

Here are the players for this project: Pretty eggs. Find the ones without the bumps and let them come to room temperature.

Other players: meet kistka and beeswax.

Also important: really good egg dye. It's special Ukrainian egg dye, it's bright and dark at the same time. Here are my colors all lined up ready to be made.

See how bright they are in powder form. These are going to be green (it looks brown in powder form) and orange.

Boiling water is mixed in (some colors also need 1 t vinegar)

The premise here is that wax is put on the egg and dyes are used in layers. Whatever is covered in wax will be that color. So, I started off this particular egg (it's my warm up egg- it's been awhile) putting wax on the white egg then dying it blue. Where ever the wax is will not get the blue dye. This is only a two tone egg. Most eggs are multiple colors. I have some of those going right now and will share them soon.

The kistka is warmed and then little scoops of beeswax are taken from the block. Then the tip is warmed again and thin lines are applied to the egg. If the kistka is too hot, the wax will glob out, if it's not warm enough, the wax won't come out fast enough and the lines will be shaky and uneven. (i.e. see my work in the finished egg picture).

The goal is to have smooth and even lines. I didn't do too bad. After a few eggs, I should get back in the groove.

At this point, normally I would dye the egg the next color and add additional wax, repeating several time. However, this is a two tone egg and only needs one dye/wax layer.

When the egg is done going through the dye and wax layers, it's time to remove the beeswax. The egg is held next to a flame and the wax is warmed and wiped away. If the egg is too close to the flame or directly over the flame, the egg shell will burn, ruining all the hard work. If it's not close enough, the wax won't melt. It takes some time since you are only warming one small area at a time.

The finished egg has a nice shine from the bees wax, but another sealer or varnish can be used on top of that. I stress the fact that you should test all varnishes before using them on an egg! My senior year in high school I had made several eggs for the school art show and went to seal them the night before the show. I ruined two of the best eggs. It was a long night replacing them.

You can see my lines are not all even, in fact this may be the worst section of the egg. I should have photographed the other side!

So this is the first one in many years. I have some others going and will share those in a few days. They will be multiple colors and hopefully have tidier lines. The 'legend' goes that the eggs were used for lots of things. They provided good luck for the household. Different symbols mean different things. You might give an egg with a chicken picture to a friend trying to have a baby since the chicken represented fertility. Also, a girl might give an egg to a boy to show how perfect her lines were. This was to show what a tidy housekeeper she was. Apparently that made here a good candidate for marriage. My hubby might agree at this point that this egg represents my housekeeping abilities!

Here's what some really good ones look like- photo borowed from here:

Here's some sketches of eggs I'm planning or ideas I'm working on:

I linked this project up here at Skip yo My lou- Made by you Mondays:


grandma said...

Those are beautiful. With my shaky hands, I would not be able to display them. Remember the elf I made for a Christmas ornament that sort of looks like a fat World War II flyer. It didn't make it to the tree this year for the first time in 30 years. It always got a laugh and a spot on the back of the tree.

Anonymous said...

I think your egg is great. I have always wanted to make these eggs. In fact, this is one of the three things I plan to do when I retire.

Love Always,

Kelly said...

WOW!! amazing eggs!

Unknown said...

Wow these are fabulous and so detailed, they must have taken a long time to make. Isn't there a children's book by Patricia Polacco about Ukranian eggs? I've seen these before because my best friend in high school was Ukranian and her family made them.