Brown Egg Pysanky


Brown eggs present a special challenge to the pysankarka.  While pretty, and great for eating and baking, brown eggs are not the best choice for pysanky.  The pysankarka can find it difficult to create traditional patterns, as the colors of many dyes look quite different (usually muddy) on brown eggs. 

Traditional pysanky are usually made on white chicken eggs, the whitest and most unblemished ones that the hens would produce during Lent (when they could not be eaten).  These were set aside daily until a few days before Easter, when the women of the family would gather to make pysanky.  The brown eggs were saved for cooking and baking.

The first year that we made pysanky at camp in Ukraine, we had an egg crisis – the chickens of Vorohta seemed to lay only dark brown eggs.  I spent many an hour in the kitchen, going through all the eggs, and picking out the lightest colored (and unbroken) ones.  The rejects got eaten.  We ate a lot of omelets that summer. In 2009, at our camp in Kolochava (Zakarpattya), the same problem arose–no white eggs anywhere to be found.  Since the eggs were quite brown, we made pysanky using only three colors (eggshell, red and black) and they turned out quite gorgeous.

I enjoy working with brown eggs, despite the drawbacks – odd coloration, and difficulties with waxing.  (I have found that wax doesn’t stick very well to a dyed brown egg; filling in wax-outlined areas is not a problem, but new lines and designs can fall off of a dyed brown egg!)  I have found two solutions: using red and black, or making simple two-tone (brown and a single, final dyebath) eggs.

On the following pages you will find information about working with brown eggs, as well as photos of some of my brown egg pysanky.  (I have divided the pysanka photos up by technique–multicolored versus single dyebath–and by the basic division/patterning of the pysanka.)

Working with Brown Eggs


        Brown Egg Variations (Colors and Dyeing)

Brown Egg Gallery  

        Brown and Red Eggs

        12 Diamond Pysanky

        Barrel Pysanky




        Other Patterns


A few additional brown egg pysanky can be found on my Australian page.  Brown egg pysanky from summer camp in Kolochava, 2009, can be found here.  And, lastly, have a look at my autumnal themed maple leaf pysanky.

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