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the various and sundry creations of sylvus tarn
Spirals in Pysanky, or
ooh, my favorite

Because this egg was my favorite I took more time and trouble over it than the other two; and I chose my favorite color combination, green/blue/violet, as well. Traditional pysanky have a number of set symbols that represent various things, both pagan (pine trees, wheat) and christian (crosses) which can be assembled to make a narrative of sorts. As fond as I am of narrative in my drawing and painting, it is entirely absent from my egg decorations, which for me are a form of doodling.

And oh, how I love to doodle spirals. I love the way they start small and rapidly—logarithmically—grow large (come to think of it the reason I love c-100 nibs and their ilk is again because the line can go from hair thin to dramatically thick in an instant). As a symbol for growth, they seem entirely appropriate. But before I get too caught up in lyrical waxing, let us return to the literal kind.

After following my usual habits (wax, dip for three minutes, let dry, repeat) and letting the dyes dry overnight (not merely because I was keeling over tired but also in the hopes the purple would stick better—vain hope) I removed the wax the following morning.


Obviously, with a bit of thought, the bright white could be used to divide the egg into strong sections, say like squares on a 9 patch quilt. And really, this doesn't look too bad...


Unfortunately, this side is horrible. Ick. I tried wiping the wax residue off with vinegar; finally heated vinegar and dipped the egg into it which of course had an impact on the color:


it peeled off in chunks, as you see. That's not to say I was really able to redye it very effectively: first I put it back in the purple, reasoning (correctly) that even with the vinegar bath the egg was pretty much done uptaking more color, and the greens and blues would stay vivid, but the white would take on some color. Which it did, somewhat.


Then I decided to see if I could resuscitate the peeled sections by putting on more patterns and dying the egg blue. Gorgeous, except of course almost all the blue came off with the second batch of wax. Rats. So then I cheated and drew some gold-green curliQs on with a magic marker. It wasn't marked non-toxic, but I figured it wasn't really going to penetrate all that other dye and wax. And in what is definitely a matter of magical thinking I drew using just the very edge of the wedge shaped marker, resisting (pardon the pun) the desire to use the entire width of the tip. That spiced up things up a little.


Interestingly enough, this series of pictures illustrates another anomaly: the photos make the hard-edges early versions look better than it really was, and equally, fail to show all the subtleties of my later efforts; that is, they soften reality. Nevertheless this remains my favorite, and I like the finished version the best; but next year, I think it might be interesting to try white patterns with ulta-lite colors (dipped for a only a few seconds)...plus of course all those fabric-based ideas that came with the lastest egg decorating kit.

See also the first two posts in this series, circle pysanky; triangle pysanky

file created 18apr06; reformatted from the t/d/l to icap/cap/p 12sep15; also changed links from file titles to works/nos 12sep15.


[2006] [pysanky]