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the various and sundry creations of sylvus tarn
Cuneiform Pysanky
Or, lots of triangles.

It seemed lame somehow to do all three eggs in curliQ patterns, so after the first one, I decided to try doing triangles again, since they'd been so successful in the past. Of course, if I'd looked carefully, I would've noticed that my first effort was hardly all triangles (and also that I wasn't afraid of negative space.) But I happened to have purchased the wizard a large green mug covered with cuneiform at some art museum or other, and it was the inspiration for the original design.

psyanky made with large chicken egg, cake decorating dyes on 15 & 16apr06

(Meanwhile f2tE attempted to write Japanese characters on her egg, which strikes me as even less practical. Random roman characters might quite pretty, and there's even a number of rubber stamps in alphabet patterns. —Hm. Stamps dipped or brushed with concentrated dyes, must try that, except the issue of toxic stamp pad ink getting on the shells...wash with warm soapy water first?) And yes, this is more or less how one comes up with cool new ideas—most of ’em don't pan out, but every once in awhile, something works spectacularly well. More commonly, it sort of works, and then you combine it with a bunch of other sort-of ideas till it finally comes together...but I digress.

psyanky made with large chicken egg, cake decorating dyes on 15 & 16apr06

Naturally I quickly got bored with making triangles and soon added random hatching to the mix. Originally I thought I was making a purple egg with blue and green patterns, with touches of yellow-orange for zing. But once again upon rinsing in hot water, my purple turned into fuscia, and the result is that neither the colors (nor the designs, which I couldn't see particularly well while I was making them) work together very well. On the other hand, at least the eggs aren't bleeding all over the place, as they will do if the wax is merely picked off: the younger generation went for this method, and all that excess dye promptly deposits itself upon the fingers of any (un)lucky recipients. So, an advantage to traditional, as opposed to cake decorating dyes: greater color-fastness. Moreover, frustrated as the cheap dyes make me, they do have this charming habit of speckling, which combined with cold-egg sweating, makes for subtle, and very attractive variations in color.

Evidently I'm not the only person out there in pursuit of fancier eggs—the kits appear to be getting more sophisticated as well. Owing to a misunderstanding, the wizard and f2tE purchased one, which came with squares of fabric, a pipette and a sort of clamp with blisters through which drops of dye could be dropped. Naturally I didn't see any of this until f2tY had helpfully set up the box for holding wet eggs, and the directions were kinda difficult to read with random circles punched out of them. After I pieced the box back together, I concluded that a lot of the ideas come from modern fabric decoration, a la Jane Dunnewald's Complex Cloth. Ho, ho, ho. Using fabric or patterned materials to “stamp” patterns on eggs? Using fabric to pattern eggs the water watercolor artists most pigment around on paper with wrinkled plastic wrap? Oh, the ideas, they come so fast...

But all of those are for next time. Right now, how to recusitate the bright white patterns on my subtle dark eggs? Tune in tomorrow for one answer...

file created 16apr04


[2006] [pysanky]