Feeling close to another culture takes immersion into that culture.
Ten women did that on April 2 when they attended a class at the Bailey library to learn to create Ukrainian Easter eggs. Called pysanka, which means “to write,” the intricately decorated eggs are created with wax and dyes.
The participants said they enjoyed learning a new art skill in addition to understanding more about Ukrainian culture. Instructor Marily Charles of Bailey collected donations to use to provide children’s clothing to families in Ukraine displaced by the war.
It takes a lot of concentration to heat the wax, carefully apply it to a hard-boiled egg and then dip it into a dye. The process repeats itself with progressively darker dyes used to color the eggs. Then a candle is used to melt the wax so it can be wiped off the eggs.
Ukrainian eggs date back to ancient times, decorated with nature symbols to become an integral part of spring rituals.
Participants called the process therapeutic as they chatted among themselves.
For Judith Rowland of Bailey, the class was a chance to learn something new, while Bailey resident Susan Rogers said she liked how cool the eggs looked as they transformed through the wax-and-dye process.
Amy Marsh of Bailey added that while she liked the fun Easter activity, “the Ukrainian connection touched my heart.”
Marsh’s egg started out with more intentional designs like those in the provided examples, “but the egg had other ideas,” she said. “Now it’s more free form.”
Creating the eggs took Evergreen resident Joni Havens back to her childhood, when she had a book about Ukrainian eggs.
“That beauty stayed with me all these years,” she said, adding, “besides the fact that we are making donations for Ukraine.”
Merrie Yule, who put flowers and leaves on one of her eggs, said she tried making Ukrainian eggs as a child, and now she was learning the proper techniques.
Katja Pinkepank-Maxwell, originally from Germany, said she grew up with Ukrainian eggs.
“The women of Ukraine would be making these eggs now,” she said. “They can’t do it, so we are painting the eggs for them.”