Monday, April 9, 2012

Ukrainian Easter Eggs or Pysanky

Easter is gone for another year but with care these eggs will last for many years.

I was prompted to write this blog when first I heard a talk on CBC radio and then on Facebook I saw the beautiful eggs that a friend had made almost 20 years ago. I just had to know more about them.

Unlike our own pale colored eggs with what seems to be meaningless dots, squiggles and stripes (or maybe there is meaning behind those too?) the Ukrainian eggs are loaded with hidden messages expressed with Pre Christain symbols dating back to Pagan times.

Even the very deep coloring carries meaning.  I hope I will not be stepping on any copyrighted toes here if I copy this from the web while giving credit to the site under Sources below

"Motifs in designs are usually abstract representations of actual objects, creatures, etc.

prosperity, or prayer.
Pine Needles
health, stamina, eternal youth.
Christ, or the Four Corners of the World.
wishes for good health and a good harvest.
The Sun and Stars
life, fortune, growth.
Deer, Horses, and/or Rams
wealth and prosperity.
defense or protection.
love, caring.
beloved Ukrainian art motif, symbolizing joy and beauty.
trinities, eg.: air, fire, & water; the Father, Son, & Holy Spirit; heaven, earth, & hell.
The Saw
fire, life-giving heat (also known as Wolves' teeth, symbolizing loyalty and wisdom).
fulfillment of wishes, and fertility. The bird is always shown at rest, never flying.
Christ's reference to becoming "fishers of people".
everlasting life, and water.

Here are some of the symbolic meanings for colors used in decorating pysanky:
White--Purity, innocence and birth; Yellow--light, purity, happiness, hospitality; Orange--strength, endurance, the eternal sun; Black--eternity, darkest time before the dawn; Light Blue--the sky, with its life-giving air, good health; Light Green--spring, new growth and hope; Bright Red--happiness in life, hope, passion, the sun.

Sources: Ukrainian Design Book 1, Ukrainian Design Book 2, Eggs Beautiful

For further info on symbols and color meanings, check out Wikipedia

As you can imagine creating one of these eggs is a lengthy process but with care they can last many years as my friend's little clutch did.

I have copied the CBC information here and hope that you can hear the audio clip as well.

The art of writing Pysanky (Ukranian Easter eggs)

pysanky.jpgEvery Easter, we see them. Those colourful, intricately illustrated Ukrainian eggs. They're called pysanky. Those little drawings on the eggs; the flowers, lines and stars are actually symbols with very specific meanings. Although now pysanky are made to celebrate Easter, the tradition actually pre-dates Christianity.

Gerry Zerebecky lives in Saskatoon. She is a pysanky artist and enthusiast. You can find Gerry's eggs at the gift shop of the Ukrainian Museum of Canada in Saskatoon. Gerry explained the process of creating the designs and what they mean in a conversation with Sonali Karnick.


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Polymer Clay sculptures

For some reason I never did get around to posting my efforts in polymer clay.

Recently I have been taking advantage of a Share Day on one of the Facebook pages entitled Art Dolls Only.   The sheer talent out there is incredible.

I got brave and shared a few of mine anyway. They do date back a few years ( 5 years where does the time go? )to when, as usual I was flying by the seat of my pants without benefit of lessons or joining any clubs to get the insider tips.

But seeing what incredible sculptures can be produced in this material I decided that I needed some help and it would behoove me to take some classes.  I hope my next posting of sculptures will show a lot of  improvement.

This was the first sculpture I made.  I had a lot of difficulty with her limbs as they kept breaking. I came up with the idea to wrap snakes around them.  She is called Lilith  AKA The Snake Goddess.

Over time I made what I thought were improvements to her wings, gave her some feathery hair and a star to hang her dreams on.

This is my interpretation of what the Celtic Goddess Cerridwen might have looked like. She is one of "The Old Ones"  who has a very interesting mythology that includes shape shifting.

Once again I had problems with the limbs breaking.  So this time she got some lace up knee high sandals to keep her legs from falling off! 

This is the God Pan complete with a little Pan flute from Peru no less.

Once again problems with cracking legs.  These are the kinds of things I hope to surmount with any courses I take. I have no idea why it is happening.

Here is his cute little butt with a fluffy tail.

And for those who are embarrassed easily hide your eyes 'cause as the TV programs say...contains nudity. Full frontal. 

The next three are Miss Grimm.  She lives at the bottom of my garden in summer and usually can be found lounging in the big pine tree.

When fall sets in I can barely hear her tiny knock on the door. She comes in all shivery like and looks for a warm spot in the sun where she spends her time incessantly reading those fairy tales written by the Brothers Grimm.

This lovely mermaid is Sirena Del Mar.

Here is Kashondra asking the eternal question asked by women everywhere....Does my butt look big in this thong?  

No really. Does it?

Kashondra was inspired by a joke sent around the internet awhile back that said eating a lot of bacon fat could cause you to have small feet! Certainly true in this case.

Kashondra and  daughter La Tricia are enjoying the reflecting pool in the garden.

Paper Mache Clay Experiment - What I would do differently

This is so typical of me to just jump in where angels fear to tread and make up my own rules.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn...