Ukranian eggs are crafted with care and tradition
MUNCY – In a world of handcrafted art, some very talented artisans showcased their work on Saturday, December 3rd at the First United Methodist Church in Muncy. One of those skilled talents was the decorative art of Ukranian eggs. Meticulously handcrafted by Timothy W. Millard of Muncy, these miniature jewels were the first to catch one’s eye when entering the new space recently created for the church.
Millard was more than happy to share some of the history behind the designs as he demonstrated the technique of dyeing the eggs with a wax release. He does it when the eggs are full. “Keep layering until you get the patterns you want,” Millard said. “It is an old Eastern Europe craft.”
Legend has it that during Lent, no one could eat eggs, but the chickens kept laying them so what to do with all the eggs? This was during the Middle Ages according to Millard who has been doing the craft as a hobby, “on and off” for the past 20 years.
It is a tradition and the eggs make wonderful gifts. Many of the patterns are complicated, often one of a kind.
Ukranian eggs are properly called “pysanka”, an Easter egg decorated with traditional Ukranian folk designs that were not painted on, but written with beeswax. Many of the designs are symbolic and date back to pre-Christian times and early Slavic cultures. The word pysanka means “to write.” The plural spelling for the word pysanka is ‘pysanky.’
Pysanky were often made to be given as gifts and traditionally have very religious symbols and colors.
They are said to be spiritual, almost magical with its promise of new hope, new life, health and prosperity. “It depends on the times,” said Millard who constructed the delicate eggs with the traditional wax release method.