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Easter Eggs – Traditional Art in Eastern Europe

Eggs are given as gifts around Easter time in many countries, but they are not always made of chocolate. In Eastern Europe, egg decorating is taken to a heightened art form, using real hen’s eggs.

Kraslice eggs from httpforeignholidays.net

Some of the methods include the batik dye method whereby the entire egg is wrapped in several knots made of wires, and then brushed with wax. As with the typical tie dye method, the surface is scratched to reveal the underlying colors, which forms the pattern. Materials used include bee’s wax, straw and watercolors. Some eggs are also made from purely natural materials, including clay, wood, twigs, straw and even linen.

In the Czech Republic, Easter typically means the heralding of spring because any religious connotations were buried under the table with communism. Even though Easter is by no means a huge or significant religious holiday in the Republic, the traditions of hand painting the eggs are strong and vibrant. By far the most recognizable patterns are the geometric ones, especially in various shades of the same color, but you’ll also see leaves and flowers and other patterns like snowflakes. Red and other bright colors are thought to symbolize joy and happiness, so many Easter eggs are decked in these, especially with the advent of spring.

Many regions in the Czech Republic have acquired certain specialties when it comes to decorating the Easter egg: in Valassko (Wallachia), eggs are decked in certain colors to depict roosters (red, orange and black). In South Moravia, Easter eggs make use of the scratching (tie dye) technique. Because these eggs were actually given as gifts, it was unthinkable to give someone pure white eggs without any thought or effort behind them.

 

In Prague, a shop called Manufaktura, was created to preserve and present Czech and Moravian craft which is in danger of disappearing nowadays. The shop has managed to bring together more than 250 small craftsmen, former masters of folk production, to ensure that this tradition stays

Source: http://butterflydiary.com/in-the-czech-republic-easter eggshand-painted-easter-eggs-as-art-form/

Here is how one girl recounts this tradition of swapping a whipping for a highly prized and decorated egg:

Me and my sister used to love making kraslice either from boiled or blown eggs using different techniques – bee’s wax, hay, watercolours, onion peels and picture stickers. And Mom the gingerbread lamb. There was no lie-in on Easter Monday, as boys would come carolling to our door from early morning. They would recite an Easter carol, asking for an egg, while symbolically whipping us, the girls, on the legs with a pomlázka (literally ‘making younger’) – willow braided whip. The pagan tradition being that willow twigs are supposed to bring health and youth to anyone who is whipped with them. Boys would either make their own pomlázkas or buy them in shops.

A saying goes that if you are not whipped by a pomlázka, you will dry up and wilt away within a year. We would then reward the boys with painted eggs and tie a ribbon around their pomlázkas (the older ones would also get a shot of liquor). If the boy chose a red painted egg, it meant he fancied you. There is a time limit of midday for boys to be allowed to knock on your door, if they come later than 12 o’clock, girls can douse them with water.

The magic of Great Nights somehow evaporated in my early teens when Easter traditions suddenly became embarrassing and the logic of labouring over an egg to give to someone who whips you incomprehensible. I know that my Mom has made her kraslice this year again and there is a pomlázka in the house for Dad to make her and my sisters ‘younger’. As I myself get older and drier each year, perhaps I wouldn’t mind being whipped a little again 😀

Source: https://bohemianconnection.wordpress.com/tag/czech-republic/

Eggs are also found in traditional designs from Opoczno, Opatow, Opole, and other regions of Poland.

Hand painted egg from Opole
Hand painted egg from Opole
traditional designs on eggs - Opoczno
traditional designs on eggs – Opoczno

 

Something to Ponder About this Eastertime

art
Community, Painting, Traditional Art

Traditional Art – Painted Easter Eggs

Everyone loves chocolate eggs at Easter time, but for some cultures, eggs have always been much more significant than a sweet treat, and have evolved into a traditional art form in itself. This month, in Traditional Art From Around the World, I showcase some examples of Painted Easter Eggs from Eastern Europe.

Hand-painted-Easter-eggs-from-Budapest
Hand painted Easter eggs from Budapest

 

Poland, The Czech  Republic an d other Eastern European countries, follow a tradition of decorating eggs, in specific designs and colors, at Easter. The designs themselves are painted on hen or goose eggs, not wooden eggs, as some might think, and are executed with great care using age – old techniques.  The egg yolk and white are either allowed to dry up over time, or are removed by blowing through a small hole in the egg.

The designs are highly indicative of not only a cultural region but, in some cases, also a particular family, as can be seen in the following photo, from  http://polishfolkdolls.blogspot.com.au/

folk art eggs
[Source: http://polishfolkdolls.blogspot.com.au%5D
Czech Republic

The practice of covering an egg,with knotted wire, first developed as a Slovak tradition, but is also used in egg creations in the Czech Republic. Motifs and color combinations can at times appear cross cultural, and while traditional styles prevail, egg artists add their own individual form of inspiration in order to personalize the decorated Easter eggs.

Folk art - Czech egg

The most recognizable symbol of Easter, in Prague and the Czech Republic, is a hand-painted or decorated egg known as “Kraslice.” These eggs are made from ordinary eggs and ink, by the village girls, and are given to the village boys, on Easter Monday. On Easter Sunday, the boys make a kind of twisted cane/whip that usually decorated with a ribbon. On Easter Monday, they then travel to the houses, to visit the girls, and hit them around the legs with this whip, (an old tradition supposedly thought to increase fertility), after which the girls then give the boy an egg which the girls themselves, have decorated!

[Where were women’s rights in those days?]

These days the eggs are not so much a gift of love, from girl to boy, as a general reminder of the heritage and beauty from the region according to the differing techniques unique to each geographical, or cultural, area.

Kraslice eggs from httpforeignholidays.net

In Valassko, (Wallachia, Romania), Easter eggs are decorated in red, orange, and black with figural motifs like girls and roosters, whilst South Moravia is known for eggs created using the scratching technique.

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Ukraine

Painted and decorated eggs is a traditional art form that dates back to ancient times in the Ukraine. As such, each regional area and indeed, each family developed rituals, symbols and meanings for Easter, along with their individual brand of decoration for the Easter Egg.

Pysanka” is often taken to mean any type of decorated egg, but it specifically refers to an egg created by the written-wax batik method, utilizing traditional folk motifs and designs. In the western Ukrainian town of Kolomyya, there is a museum dedicated to ‘Pysanky’, with several thousand eggs on display.

ukrainian museum eggs

The word pysanka comes from the verb pysaty, “to write”, as the designs are not painted, but ‘written’ with hot beeswax, using a stylus or a pin-head. Wooden and beaded eggs are also known as “pysanky,” because they mimic the decorative style of pysanky, but in a different medium.

[Source: Wikipedia]

ukainian

Several other Ukrainian techniques of decorating eggs can be identified throughout the region. All but the krashanky and lystovky are meant to be decorative, (as opposed to being edible).

  • Krashanky –from krasyty (красити), “to decorate”– are boiled eggs dyed a single color (with vegetable dyes), and are blessed and eaten at Easter.
  • Pysanky –from pysaty (писати), “to write”– are raw eggs created with the wax-resist method (batik).
  • Krapanky –from krapka (крапка), “a dot”– are raw eggs decorated using the wax-resist method, but with only dots as ornamentation (no symbols or other drawings). They are traditionally created by dripping molten wax from a beeswax candle onto an egg.
  • Dryapanky –from dryapaty (дряпати), “to scratch”– are created by scratching the surface of a dyed egg to reveal the white shell below.
  • Malyovanky –from malyuvaty (малювати), “to paint”– are created by painting a design with a brush using oil or water color paints. It is sometimes used to refer to coloring (e.g. with a marker) on an egg.
  • Nakleyanky –from kleyaty (клеяти), “to glue on”– are created by glueing objects to the surface of an egg. Eg Lace
  • Travlenky –from travlenya (травлення), “etching” – are created by waxing eggs and then etching away the unwaxed areas. This is not a traditional Ukraine practice, but has become popularized recently.
  • Biserky –from biser (бісер), “beads”– are created by coating an egg with beeswax, and then embedding beads into the wax to create geometric designs.
  • Lystovky –from lystya (листя), “leaves”– are created by dyeing an egg to which small leaves have been attached.

Other Eastern European countries also may use wax resist techniques to decorate their Easter eggs:

Belarusians (пісанка, pisanka)
Bulgarians (писано яйце, pisano yaytse)
Croats (pisanica)
Hungarians (hímestojás)
Lithuanians (margutis)
Romanians (ouă vopsite, incondeiate or impistrite) Russians (расписанное яйцо “rаspisannoe yaitsо”)
Serbs (pisanica)
Slovaks (kraslica)
Slovenes (pisanica,pirhi or remenke)
Sorbs (jejka pisać). [Source: Wikipedia]

Image

Marie Jukubickova (R) and Ludmila Vlasakova wearing traditional costume decorate Easter eggs in Vacenovice, South Moravia, Czech Republic. The women use the old method of scraping colored eggs with a nail file to decorate them and are the last two women in southern Moravia who know this method decorating Easter eggs for almost 70 years. [Source: http://forum.lovelimes.com/general-disc-f13/hand-painted-easter-eggs-t31235.html#.VSTRAuHE7Dc%5D

Traditions that are in danger of dying out.

Something to Ponder About.

Community

Easter bunnies, not Chocolate. Easter Craft Idea

Bunnies Blog pics 003

This is a wonderful idea I found on http://pillowsalamode.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/bag-o-bunnies/#comment-10752

Pillows a la Mode’s blog, and the link for the pattern and tutorial is found at Little Fabric Blog

http://thelittlefabricshop.blogspot.ca/2012/04/basket-of-bunnies.html

They are so quick to make up, you will have a heap of ears in a jiffy.

Just cut, (using some of your remnants or fabric scraps if you can) sew, stuff, and finish with a bow. No messy turning inside and out, just use your pinking shears to stop the fray “disease”.

Here are my finished scraps which are destined for a Easter bunny activity for the children’s playgroup I help to facilitate.

How many will you make? I know, you can’t resist them, or will you simply ponder about how much fun they will be for the kids to play with?????

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