The word “Pysanky” is derived from the Ukrainian root
word “Pysaty”, meaning “to write”. A funnel shaped stylus called a “Kistka” is used to
write a design on the egg with hot bee’s wax. Consecutive applications of wax and dye are used to create the finished
“Pysanka”. Coloring begins with a white egg and continues through progressively darker dye baths until the final
background color is applied. Then, very carefully, the wax is melted and wiped off to reveal the brilliant design created.
For more than 5,000 years, eggs have been treasured as symbols of
life. They were decorated with pictures of the sun in celebration of the coming of spring. Pysanky has come to be an accepted
and treasured means of conveying folklore from one generation to the next. Colors and patterns were combined in certain ways
to produce special wishes for the recipient.
The size of the egg and the complexity of the design determine the
amount of time required to complete a Pysanka. Chicken, duck and goose eggs are the most popular among Pysanka artists. Completion
of an intricate design on a chicken egg can take as long as ten hours.