David was born in December of 1958 in the city of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He is son to both Evelyn and Ted and father to Derek. Dave was born in Ontario but raised in Winnipeg. Coming from such a strong Ukrainian family, he initially had troubles speaking English as his first language was Ukrainian. He along with his brother both adapted fairly quick and became fluent in the English school system. Apart from school, Dave spent most of his upbringing as a Ukrainian Dancer for the Rozmai dance ensemble and would enjoy motocross racing in his spare time.
David studied at the University of Manitoba where he acquired his bachelors in Agriculture. From there he naturally followed in his fathers’ footsteps and worked for Agriculture Canada for the Canadian government for 35 years. In his time with Agriculture Canada, he was often flown to China where he trained many workers regarding successful agricultural practice. He passed on both knowledge and skill and was a more then successful spokesperson and teacher to his collaborates.
Dave is the Pioneer of Pysanka Mosaic Studio and can be credited with the conception of the work. As his late father, Ted Wasylyshen, invented the art, Dave spent many years studying his father’s works in attempts to both understand and revolutionize the process. He spent close to 8 years researching and designing the practice until he found a way to replicate his fathers work in a much cleaner and efficient way. Through his trials and tribulations, Dave began experimenting with the works in mediums that were foreign to Ted at the time. For example, with Dave’s extensive background in glass work, he began to apply Pysanka Mosaic to different applications such as slumped and stained glass, and even began to fuse his craft and precision of sandblasting to various mosaic pieces. Once David had perfected his work, he passed on the techniques and processes to his mother Evelyn and son Derek, where they too began to develop their own styles.
Dave’s style can be seen as a medley of both traditional and contemporary works. His foundation and roots will always enable him to think and compose a piece in a respectful and traditional sense, yet his craftsmanship and willingness to explore new mediums and processes allow him to structure contemporary pieces with clean and tight composition. Dave is continuously experimenting with both form, colored, and stained glass. He often lets the results of the glass dictate his lines and composition, which speaks on his ability to adapt his work to various styles. It is because of this mindset that enables Pysanka Mosaic to remain up to par with contemporary standards and will continue to be the ideology moving forward for many generations of Wasylyshen’s to come.
Currently, Dave is retired from his work but still practices the art when he finds windows between his time at home and the family cabin. Dave enjoys designing and composing pieces for Pysanka Mosaic but now primarily focuses his time on commissions and the R&D side of the studio, searching for new techniques and developing new standards.
Evelyn was born in October of 1935 in Oakburn, Saskatchewan, Canada. She is wife to the late Ted Wasylyshen, mother to Dave, and grandmother to Derek.
Evelyn is a foundational pillar in the Pysanka Mosaic studio to the point where it would simply not exist if not for her. As her husband Ted created the art, and her son was the pioneer of the studio’s conception, Evelyn was the rock in the process to make sure that the same essence and traditions that existed in Ted’s first pieces still exist in the ones created today. Before its growth, the Pysanka Mosaic studio was held in a workshop in her basement, beside her famous gallery of Pysanka and Ukrainian works that toured the world and was even featured in National Geographic. It was here that the family studio developed its identity and work ethic as each piece must pass her inspection before becoming available to the public.
Evelyn’s style is the true essence of what Pysanka Mosaic aspires to be. There are often multiple breaks and cracks seen in her work, yet her composition suggests a beautifully chaotic work that eventually comes together as a whole. It should be noted that Evelyn will often use the remnants of pysanka pieces that both Dave and Derek don’t use, finding ways to incorporate the smallest of egg shells to obtain a composition that looks like it was apart of the design from the start. Her work has been said to resemble that of a Ukrainian Dance ensemble, where the eye is often fixated on the presence of one entity just before it wonders and follows a pre-meditated choreography that enables one to explore all essences of the work.
Currently, Evelyn is semi-retired from the studio. She rarely works on pieces anymore but still consults the production coming from the Pysanka Mosaic Studio to assure the highest of quality and traditions.
Derek was born in June of 1991 in the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He is son to Dave and grandson to both Evelyn and Ted. The majority of his upbringing was spent on ice where he played hockey for many years. It was not until he turned 20 that he decided to close that chapter in his life and dedicate himself to his education full time.
Derek studied Architecture at the University of Manitoba where he immediately worked for a design-built architecture firm soon after acquiring his bachelor’s degree. After 2.5 years of working with the firm, he then went back to school in Europe for his Masters in Building Technology and engineering at TU Delft in the Netherlands. Here he contributed to Team Netherlands at the European Solar Decathlon Competition where his team broke the World Record for most podium finishes ever at a Solar Decathlon competition. It was through his education and exposure to other creatives and intellects that he acquired his careful attention to detail and his desire to bring in new techniques, technologies, and construction processes into his applications.
Derek is the youngest of the team at Pysanka Mosaic. He was taught by his father Dave at the age of 16 and has since been developing his own style when making his pieces. Derek tries to be as much of a perfectionist as possible, suggesting that his style may be interpreted as a very clean and contemporary take on such a traditional work. His style often includes tight, cylindrical bands to highlight the centered eggs – establishing the focal point of his pieces. In contrast, he often tries to reveal subtle “breaks” and intentional cracks in the shells at the corners and edges of his works to illustrate the medium to which the pieces are made from.
Currently, Derek is exploring new means of applications and collaborations for the studio. He is experimenting with glass and 3D printing to find harmonious ways to apply new techniques to such a traditional art. Aside from creating his pieces, Derek also documents all works and is the marketing strategist and content creator for the team. He created and operates the Pysanka Mosaic website, social media accounts, and handles many of the inquiries for those interested in the pieces.
Ted was born in November of 1932. He sadly passed away in February of 1995 with his family at his side. Ted was husband to Evelyn, father to Dave, and grandfather to Derek. He grew up in Gorlitz near Yorkton, Saskatchewan, Canada where he spent most of his childhood years attending to the family farm. Naturally, he took a particular interest to agriculture and decided to attend school at the University of Saskatchewan where he obtained various degrees specializing in poultry.
Ted is the Founding Father of Pysanka Mosaic in that he structured the first pieces of their kind in 1991. In other words, he invented the art form. Ted designed and built 4 pysanka mosaics in total, one for each of his immediate family members and the last is currently touring various Canadian museums. As both he and Evelyn built strong presences in the Ukrainian community during their time in Canada, over their years they accumulated one of the most diverse and strongest pysanka collections where they even constructed a gallery for them in their basement. They travelled to many venues and roadshows where they shared their collection and the narratives that follow each pysanka. Their collection was so strong that it travelled across North America, Europe, Asia, and was even featured in National Geographic. In fact, it was because of their collection that Pysanka Mosaic came to be. Ted was often finding new ways to display the eggs in ways that can both showcase their elegance and transport them with ease. As a result, Ted began to experiment by cutting the eggs and mounting them onto various mediums and platform. His initial experiments were huge failures, often shattering the eggs into thousand of fragile pieces. Over time, he came to find a technique that was forgiving of his efforts and enabled him to showcase some of his pysanka collection in large frames and casings.
Although Ted only made 4 pieces, his style was that of his own. With a very traditional frame of mind, Ted began to showcase a three-dimensional egg onto a flat surface, not only creating a contemporary take on the traditional work but revolutionizing Ukrainian art in the process. As some of his pieces are entirely constructed in mosaic fashion, some also appear very scripted, having similarities to stained glass windows found in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church that he was president of for 10 years. His mosaics, diverse in design, created the way and ideologies still present in the work the studio does today. He did both traditional and contemporary works, and illustrated innovation with regards to finding new way to continue Ukrainian traditional art and showcase them in ways that can be appreciated both in and outside of the Ukrainian culture.
Ted, Dad, Gido, we miss you dearly. We thank you for your contributions, your time spent with us, and your teachings in our lifetime together. We look forward to continuing and securing your legacy for what we hope will be years and generations to come within the Wasylyshen family. We hope to make you proud.
Ev, Dave, and Derek