Pysanky - traditional and contemporary

Here are some pysanky (Ukrainian Easter eggs) which I have made or collected over the years. Some of the vzory (designs) are traditional (i.e. ones that you will recognize from books). Others are what I call contemporary (i.e. the vzory are ones in which the saying 'inspiration, move me brightly' came true). What all these pysanky seem to have in common is strong, geometric designs.

[ Comets ]
Comets In the Spring of 1996 and 1997, we were visited by comets (Comet Hyakutake on March 25, 1996 and Comet Hale-Bopp on March 23, 1997). This inspired me to write some contemporary pysanky with comets - a way to note these cosmic events. The pysanka in the lower left was written on a brown egg which was dyed in orange before I stared writing on it. It has a bezkonechnyk (endless meander) design on it. If you look at the pysanka to the right of it, you can see how a bezkonechnyk could transform itself into a comet. The two pysanky at the top have four comets on each half of the egg, with a belt around the middle.

[ Moravian Easter Eggs ]
Moravian Easter Eggs I bought these from a street vendor in Boston. He had a huge willow basket full of different and beautiful eggs. It was very difficult for me to pick out just a few!

[ Sunsets and fields ]
Sunsets and Fields This is another of my contemporary vzory. The five pysanky in the left half of the image have a sun and stripes, which could be interpreted as a sunset with a colorful sky and clouds. The two on the right remind me of farms and fields, as one sees them from an airplane. The pysanka in the lower right has stalks of yellow wheat in the orange field - ripened wheat, ready for harvest.

[ Endless meanders ]
Endless Meanders These are variants on the classic red and black pysanka with bezkonechnyky (endless meanders). The two in the upper left are tsyhanski dorohy (wandering road) and were written on brown eggs dyed in orange.

[ Trypillian ]
Trypillian Yet another contemporary design of mine. There are two designs, and each half of the pysanka has one of them. I call them 'Trypillian' because I was inspired by the pottery designs of the Trypillian culture.

[ Forty triangles ]
Forty Triangles These are variants on the classic pysanka called sorok klynchiv (forty triangles). You can count and see for yourself which have forty and which have forty eight triangles!

[ Saddlebags ]
Saddlebags These are variants of another classic design called sakva (saddlebags). I came up with this contemporary design - instead of having straight lines divide the egg, I use a vinok (wreath) to make the divisions, and put a fantasy-flower in the center.

[ Drop-pull ]
Drop-pull Some variants on the drop-pull method of writing pysanky.

I hope that you have enjoyed my pysanky. As always, your questions and/or comments are welcome!

I-) Irop

I am pleased, and thrilled, that my pysanky have been included in the Ukrainian Museum's 2000 annual pysanka exhibition: "Pysanka - Safeguarding an Ancient Tradition". The exhibit also included pysanky written by Natalka Bachynska, Romana Bachynska, Yaroslava Bachynska, Zenon Elyjiw, Tania Osadca, Luba Perchyshyn, Yaroslava Surmach Mills, and Sophia Zielyk. The exhibit ran from April 2, 2000 to September 7, 2000. You can visit the Ukrainian Museum's web site for this exhibit at:

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