Home » Webster Parish Libraries offer pysanky egg decorating classes

Webster Parish Libraries offer pysanky egg decorating classes

by Amber McDown

As Easter approaches, Webster Parish Libraries are offering lessons in egg decorating using the pysanky style, a Ukrainian folk art dating back several thousand years.

Shelley Masog, library resource administrator and pysanky egg instructor explained the art’s historical roots: “Historically, it was tied to pagan rituals but, with the coming of Christianity, it began to take on religious symbolism.” Traditionally, it was exclusively done by women at Easter, but now many people create pysanky eggs year-round. The word “pysanky” is derived from the Ukrainian verb pysaty, which means “to write.”

Masog, who has been decorating eggs in the pysanky style for about 11 years, learned the method from her uncle in Minnesota. “Ever since I was a child, I was fascinated with it. About 11 years ago we were up there on vacation, and he showed me how to do my first egg, and I’ve been doing them ever since,” said Masog. Legend has it that as long as people wrote pysanky, evil could never take over the world. Masog laughed, “And I thought, I need to share this process, and maybe more people will start writing eggs.”

The pysanky method resembles a batik method. A tool called a “kistka” is used to apply hot wax to the shell of an egg, which is then placed in a series of dye baths. The wax prevents the dye from reaching the surface of the egg; multiple layers of wax and color may be applied to build the pattern, which is then revealed when the wax is melted off at the end.

Masog will provide a traditional design for use in the class, with up to five colors used. This project will be completed by the end of the two-hour class. All supplies will be provided and, due to limited supplies, registration is required. Registration is currently open and is limited to eight people per class. These free classes will be held at three branches: Springhill on March 14 starting at 2 PM, Doyline on March 19 starting at 3:30 PM, and the Minden main branch on March 20 starting at 2 PM. Participants can register through the Webster Parish Libraries app, by contacting the branch manager, or by calling Shelley Masog at (318) 371-3080 ext. 142.

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