1. Pysanky are traditional handpainted eggs made during the Easter season throughout Eastern Europe, especially the Ukraine, Slovenia, Lithuania, Belarus, Poland and Bulgaria. Their origins are lost to history, but ornamented eggs have been excavated from archaeological sites dating as far back as the prehistoric era.
2. Pysanky-makers use the wax-resist method, similar to batik, using a pin-like stylus to draw intricate designs in hot wax. The wax prevents color from adhering to the egg. Artisans apply wax and dye in alternating layers, building the design color by color from light to dark. The process may take many hours.
3. Traditionally people decorated raw eggs, but today many artisans prefer longer-lasting eggs made of wood, ceramic, or other materials.
4. Pysanky decoration varies from region to region, from village to village, from family to family. Many pysanky designs and traditions are handed down over generations, some carefully guarded secrets.
5. Recurring traditional motifs include geometric and plant forms, flowers and birds, and Christian symbols.
For more on pysanky, click here for my interview with Carolyn Flynn of the Albuquerque Journal.