Penticton artist Debra Cherniawsky has been making traditional Ukraine Pysanka eggs since she was old enough to hold a kystka (pen with a needle).
“My gramma taught all of us kids how to do it and it’s one of our biggest traditions,” said Cherniawsky.
Debra remembers her first business venture was selling pysanky eggs on the school bus.
“I had a captive audience with the long bus ride. I sold the eggs for $2 each and was selling quite a few when the bus driver got word of what I was doing and put a stop to it.”
Her great-grandfather fled Ukraine to Alberta before the reign of Stalin took over.
Every year of her life at Easter her family get together around a table, drink wine and make Pysanka eggs, she said.
“It’s a mainstay of Easter.”
Her grandmother painted her last egg at the age of 99 and “it was still beautiful,” said Cherniawsky.
But this year, she is unable to get back home to Alberta for Easter so she decided she would share the tradition with strangers and offer a class on Pysanka egg painting. The workshop will be held on Saturday, April 16 at her studio Artables in downtown Penticton.
In this family-friendly workshop, each participant will create their own beautiful painted egg. She provides all the supplies including the kistkas, dyes and bees wax.
“It’s really simple when you break it down to geometric patterns and then fill in the layers, building on the colours,” she said.
Traditional Ukrainian Pysanka writing is an ancient art stemming from the heart of Ukraine. This art was practiced by young women who would gift the eggs to young men they wanted to marry, laden with symbols of love, hope, eternity, faith, and prosperity.
Originally, vegetable dyes were used to colour the eggs, and makers employed a batik process of waxing areas between the several dipped layers of colour.
Painting for over 30 years, she hosts art workshops of all kinds including pottery and painting at her Artables studio.
Recently, Cherniawsky donated two pieces of artwork to the Edmonton Art Gallery for the Edmonton Film Festivala Ukrainian fundraiser with 100 per cent of proceeds going to the Cobblestone Freeway Foundation for the Ukraine.
For the April 16 Ukrainian egg workshop she welcomes participants as young as four but children aged 4 to 8 must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
The workshop goes Saturday, Apr 16 from noon to 2 p.m. at Artables at 432 Main Street. To find out more or to buy tickets click here.