Snowflake Pysanky

 
 

Back in the late fall of 2005, I discovered that I had a lot of small white chicken eggs left over from pysanka making that year.  Small eggs are a seasonal item, usually available only around Easter, and even then difficult to find.  They are, however, perfect for making many of the simpler traditional designs, and for teaching small children1 the art of pysankarstvo.  In order to get these eggs, I found that I had to buy them a case at a time, and there are thirty dozen2 eggs in a case!


Casting around for something to do with all of these excess eggs, I came upon the idea of making snowflake pysanky.  I’d seen photos of them before on other sites, and decided to try my hand at them.


After using the UGS templates to create an even division of the surface of the egg into six sections, I began drawing––with WAX. I found that the best way (for me, at least) to make this sort of pysanka was just to doodle creating a design and then repeating it six-fold around the snowflake.  I’d played with compasses (the geometry kind) and Spirographs as a child, and this was somewhat similar.



Simple spirograph design



The snowflakes came out quite nice.  I attached small findings3 to them, and gave them away to friends as family as Christmas gifts.  They proved to be quite popular.  So each year I created more and more of them.  I varied the background colors, tried using larger eggs and brown eggs, and even experimented with drop-pull snowflakes.  Still, I find myself coming back to the small white eggs, as they make the prettiest snowflake pysanky of all.


Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and no one seems to sell small eggs any more.  I called many egg companies, and they no longer sell small eggs, except in a few areas (e.g. Chicago) in big boxes to restaurants.  So I have now (as of 2016) switched to using regular large white chicken eggs.  The results aren’t as dainty, but they are still nice. And no one is complaining.



.......in this section I’ve included a little bit about the science of snowflakes (quite fascinating), my snowflake pysanka techniques, and many pages of photos of my eggs.  Enjoy!


Direct links (general headings):


About Snowflakes:  All about real snowflakes, the science along with some lovely photos.

Techniques:  A discussion of the techniques used in making my snowflake pysanky, including step-by-step instructions.

GalleryPhotos of my snowflake pysanky.



One more thing about snowflakes: since about the third grade, I have been cutting out paper snowflakes.  They are quite simple to make, and you can achieve amazing intricacy by using thin paper (e.g. typing paper or chap stationery).  I cut out small, app. 3” diameter ones, iron them and hang them on my Christmas tree every year.  You can find basic instructions for cutting out six pointed snowflakes on this site, and you can see scans of some of my paper snowflake ornaments here.



And lastly,  an outline of this section with direct links:


                                    Snowflakes

                                    Techniques

                                            Pencil Lines 

                                            Wax Lines 

                                            Dyeing 

                                            Dyeing Problems

                                            Wax Removal 

                                            Finishing

                                    Gallery

                                            Paper-cut Snowflakes

                                                    Paper-cut Snowflakes

                                            Etched Snowflakes

                                                    Etched Snowflakes

                                            Annual collections

                                                    2011 Snowflakes

                                                    2010 Snowflakes

                                                    2009 Snowflakes

                                                    2008 Snowflakes     

                                                    Unfinished Snowflakes

                                            Goose Eggs

                                                    Goose Egg Snowflakes                                           

                                            Small white eggs

                                                    Gold and Orange Snowflakes

                                                    Red Snowflakes

                                                    Pink Snowflakes

                                                    Purple Snowflakes

                                                    Green Snowflakes

                                                    Sky Blue Snowflakes

                                                    Shades of Blue Snowflakes

                                                    Denim Snowflakes

                                            Other eggs and techniques

                                                    Multi-Color Snowflakes

                                                    Large Egg Snowflakes

                                                    Brown Egg Snowflakes

                                                    Red and Brown Snowflakes

                                                    Drop-Pull Snowflakes




__________

  1. 1.Small eggs have thicker shells, so are a bit sturdier and harder to break, and are a good size for small hands to work with. Pysanky can also be completed more quickly, an important consideration when teaching classes.

  2. 2.Thirty dozen is 360 (small) eggs.  Larger eggs have fewer dozen per case.  Unlike larger eggs, small eggs usually have few bumps or other surface imperfections, meaning all of them can be used for pysanky, as opposed to about half of the “large” eggs.

  3. 3.Findings are those metal bits glued to the top of the egg to allow it to be attached to an ornament hook.  UGS sells nice ones.  Michael’s does not, even though they told me over the phone that they do. That was a wasted trip!





A few of my snowflake pysanky from 2008



(Note: Snowflake photos above courtesy of SnowCrystals.com)








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