History of the Art

Pysanka Mosaic creates a new twist on an ancient art form - a visually stunning method of preserving and displaying the cultural, yet traditional, Ukrainian Easter egg into an entirely new dimensional artwork.

The art of the decorated egg, or Pysanka, dates back to the ancient times of the Trypillian Civilization, which flourished in Ukraine 7,000 years ago. With the advent of Christianity, via a process of religious syncretism, the symbolism and meaning of the pysanka was changed to represent not only nature's rebirth, but the rebirth of man. With the acceptance of Christianity in 988, the decorated Pysanka was adapted to play an important role in Ukrainian rituals of the new religion. More recent legends blend folklore and Christian beliefs, firmly attaching   the Pysanka to the Easter celebration, commemorating the Resurrection of Christ

Over the last century, Immigrants have brought the pysanka tradition to Canada, helping to preserve it. Historically, the art form was banned as a religious practice by the Soviet regime. Since Ukrainian's independence in 1991, there has been a growing resurgence of the art in that country.

The Ukrainian word for Easter eggs, pysanky, comes from the verb "to write." Designs are not painted onto the raw eggs, but are "written" on with a stylus.To make a pysanka, molten beeswax is "written" onto the bare egg. Any area covered with wax remains white. The egg is dipped into the first dye (usually the lightest colour), then more wax lines or designs are applied. As the egg is dipped in progressively darker colours, areas covered with wax retain the previous color. After the final color, the egg is held near a flame or put in an oven to melt off the wax.

 

                                                      

 

 Every motif carries symbolic meaning. The most common include triangles, diamonds, waves, curls, spirals and dots; bands and ribbons symbolizing eternity; crosses; flowers and plants such as wheat; agricultural symbols such as the ladder; birds and fish; and the sun and eight-sided star.

The traditional Pysanka represents the beginning of new life. In a religious context, the life-giving egg became associated with the resurrection of Christ on Easter Day and with the concept of salvation through Christian Faith. The ornamentation in Ukrainian Easter Eggs embodies great symbolic, religious and traditional significance. Many superstitions were also attached to the Pysanka. They were said to hold powerful magic - protect households from evil spirits, catastrophe, lightning and fires.

 

                                            

                                         

In creating the current Pysanka Mosiac, Dave preserves the eggs unique designs by 'disassembling' the egg, carefully dissecting an intact egg through the use of a unique high-speed saw using carbide and diamond tipped ultra-thin blades.   In spite of using this highly refined instrument, the potential for huge wastage continually exists - eggs too brittle or old often shatter.  At times one is lucky to retain 60 per cent of the original eggs' design.

After the egg has been dismantled, the pieces are soaked in a unique solution which softens the shell while preserving the dye colors from fading or running. These softened pieces are flattened and dried. Tray upon tray of carefully cut flattened egg pieces are used to select from. The final creative process painstakingly incorporates hundreds of these pieces together to form each and every unique, one-of-a kind mosaic.

 

                                              

 

The completed mosaic is sealed and finished with an unique three-part commercial clear plastic resin. The finish is equivalent to over fifty coats of varnish that simulates a glass topped overlay on the mosaic surface.  The final touch has each art piece professional framed.

The end result? A stunningly creative piece, proudly honoring the 'true' artisans behind each mosaic -  the creators of the original pysanka.  Each and every Pysanka Mosaic preserves the intricate beauty, creativity and artistry of the pysanka, allowing this timeless artwork to be displayed and admired for generations to come.