Artist Ingrid Bolton visited the Hamilton Mill branch of the Gwinnett County Public Library on Saturday, March 15, to show how Ukranian Easter eggs (Pysanka) are made.
Bolton, who moved to the Atlanta area 25 years ago, said she first learned about Pysanka in Germany. After the move, she decided to learn how to make the elaborately decorated eggs.
"I was determined to find out what it was," she said. "That was before the Internet, before you could search for yourself."
"I lost so many eggs," she said.
The book, she explained, advised decorating full eggs and then blowing them out. The problem, Bolton said, was what happened after the wax, which is used to decorate the eggs, was heated and removed.
"When you remove the wax, you put heat on it and something inside the egg cooks," she said. At first, everything seemed fine. Several months later, she went to her basement to retrieve a large batch of eggs she had decorated and noticed the problem.
"I looked at it and the whole thing was shifting," she said. "It was maggots."
By blowing and cleaning the eggs first, Bolton learned to avoid that problem. The wax used to create the design is applied to the egg and then the egg is dyed. The process is repeated multiple times (with a dye sequence of light to dark) until the desired pattern and colors are achieved. After the final color is applied, the egg is heated and the wax is removed to reveal the multi-colored patterns.
Watch the video below for Bolton's explanation of the symbolism of the decorated eggs.
Coming up at the Hamilton Mill Library: Doggie Tales