The ancient European art of Pysanky finds new enthusiasts in Barry’s Bay

BARRY’S BAY – Local teacher and artist, Karen Hanlon, taught the tradition of “pysanky” to a class of about 20 participants at a recent workshop.

Pysanky is an ancient egg decorating technique that uses wax and dyes to create intricate patterns. This was the third year that such a class was held at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College. Hanlon was very pleased with how the class turned out.

At the beginning of the four-hour lesson, Hanlon explained that every decorated egg was made with some specific intention in mind. Students were invited to consider what special intention they might consider while they worked on their eggs.

The contemplative nature of the art is one of the things that Hanlon most enjoys about writing eggs.

“We don’t paint eggs, we don’t just decorate eggs. We write eggs. Each egg tells a story and is like an icon.”

The word “pysanky” comes from the Ukrainian word “pysaty” meaning “to write.” The tradition of “writing” eggs exists in many European countries including Russia, Hungary, Lithuania, Bulgaria, and Poland. Historically, Easter has played a very influential role in these counties, and the writing of eggs was a popular art form used to express the importance of this day.

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