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The Art of The Ukrainian Easter Egg | The – Toronto Star



Ukrainian Easter eggs are an art form all to themselves. They are an essential part of some Ukrainian religious services but are also made for fun, given as gifts, and even sold online. The Grizzly Gazette spoke to Tara LaBerge from Swan Hills, Alberta, to learn more about these works of art.

Tara grew up in the Ukrainian community in Winnipeg, Manitoba, active in the Ukrainian Catholic Church and attending one of the city’s Ukrainian schools until she reached junior high.

The proper name for Ukrainian Easter eggs is pysanka when referring to a single egg, or pysanky for more than one egg. There are many traditional designs and symbols used in decorating pysanky, each with its own meaning. Much of the symbology is religious in nature.

Pysanky are an important part of the traditional Easter celebration in the Ukrainian Catholic Church. Families will pack an Easter basket with everything that they will have for their Easter meal, with decorative pysanky, to be blessed with holy water at their church on Holy Saturday (the day before Easter Sunday). The Easter meal will be eaten on Easter Sunday. Pysanky are made with non-edible dyes, and the contents of the egg are sometimes removed during the process, which means that they are not a part of the meal. Krashanky are hard-boiled eggs that have been coloured with edible dyes and can be eaten.

Certain items and tools are necessary to make pysanky. The more common items are a pencil to mark the designs on the egg, a candle to provide heat for the process, and jars to contain the dyes. Then there are the more specialized items, such as the traditional dyes used to colour the egg, the kistka (traditionally a small copper funnel with a wooden handle) to apply beeswax to the egg, and beeswax. These items are available at Ukrainian stores and gift shops and can also be ordered online. Many different types of eggs can be used, including eggs from chickens, ducks, geese, and even emus and ostriches.

Tara started to learn how to make pysanky at home when she was four years old. Young children start out by learning the basics of this process, such as drawing lines and squiggles with a kistka and using the traditional dyes to achieve their desired colours at the end of the process. The children are taught the traditional symbology used in decorating the pysanky along the way. And importantly, they learn how to keep from starting fires with the open flame of the candles. Tara also worked on pysanky at church as a member of the Children of Mary.

Tara continued to learn about making pysanky every year at school. Students in earlier grades have a fair bit of freedom in how they decorate their pysanky, focusing on refining the basic skills. The lessons became much more structured in grade four, focusing on learning how to make authentic traditional designs. Students at this stage begin by planning their designs on paper and then continue in a step-by-step process as a class until they achieve their desired result.

Tara enjoys being creative with her pysanky, having fun with stepping outside traditional designs at times. She has made pysanky with Halloween themes, movie themes, and other creative designs. Tara has also gifted friends with monogrammed eggs. She enjoys making pysanky, finding it to be a relaxing pastime.

Creating pysanky is an involved process that requires a lot of initial planning to achieve specific results. Much of the planning has to do with the dyes. The eggs are dyed in stages, starting with the lightest colours and then in successively darker colours. The different coloured dyes will act on the dyes from previous steps to create new colours, so achieving a person’s desired end result involves picturing how they want their finished egg to look and then thinking backward through the stages of dyeing to figure out where to begin and which colours to use.

The traditional dyes can make quite a mess, so it is a good idea to lay out newspaper over the intended work surface and make sure that there is a decent supply of paper towels at hand. Paper plates can help provide a place to set the egg down and catch any wayward melted beeswax.

Once a person has a “game plan,” they can lightly draw their design on the egg with a pencil. Any lines or parts of the egg that are intended to stay white (or the egg’s natural colour) must be coated with beeswax to prevent the dyes from colouring that area. It is important to note that any place that beeswax has been applied to will not absorb the dyes properly, even if the beeswax is subsequently removed.

Beeswax is applied with the kistka. The funnel of the kistka has a wide end and a narrow end. The wide end is for scooping the beeswax, and the narrow end is for applying the wax to the egg. To fill the kistka with beeswax, heat the funnel’s wide end over the candle’s flame and then glide this part of the kistka through the wax. After the kistka has been “loaded” with beeswax, heat the narrow end over the candle flame to melt the beeswax. When the melted beeswax first begins to flow through the kistka, it tends to come out in heavier blobs, so it is a good idea to draw a couple of lines on some of the newspaper until the wax flows in a smoother and more controlled fashion. Once the wax is flowing evenly, it is time to cover any lines or areas that are intended to remain white.

After the beeswax has been applied, lower the egg is into the lightest colour of dye to be used. Leave the egg in the dye for up to 15 minutes. The egg will need to stay in the dye for longer periods to achieve deeper and richer colours. Gently remove the egg when it has reached the desired colour, handling it and drying it off with a paper towel.

If any parts of the egg are intended to stay this colour, they will need to be coated with beeswax. Then the egg moves on to the next dye. Continue with this process until the egg has been dyed with all of the intended colours, then dry it off thoroughly with a paper towel.



Now it is time to remove the beeswax. This part of the process has a bit of a learning curve because the egg has to be held over the candle’s flame to melt the beeswax, but it can’t be held too close to the flame, or the egg will get scorched and blacken. Once the beeswax has melted in the heated area, wipe it off with a paper towel. Continue this process until all of the beeswax has been removed.

Congratulations, you now have a pysanka!

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Imaginations, creativity of Mountview students on display at Cariboo Art Beat



Creative, imaginative artwork of students from Mountview Elementary School will be on public display at the gallery of Cariboo Art Beat until April 9.

“The students of Mountview elementary were all invited to participate in an art contest,” Tiffany Jorgensen said, an artist at Cariboo Art Beat.

Each class was separately judged by three professional artists at Cariboo Art Beat, Jorgensen said, based on the students’ creativity, techniques, use of space and originality.

“It was extremely difficult to select pieces from the abundance of beautiful art presented,” she said. “There is so much talent and fantastic imaginations.”

The artist of each selected piece was given formal invitations to their art show to distribute to whomever they choose, and Jorgensen said anyone is free to view the beautiful artwork throughout until April 9.

Honoured at the show were works from local artists Ryker Hagen, Annika Nilsson, Rylie Trampleasure, Angus Shoults, Izabella Telford, Isabella Buchner, Kai Pare and more.

“Come view their wonderful pieces to get a glimpse into the minds of our creative youth,” Jorgensen said.

“It’s been so fun. The kids have come in and seen their work on display with their grandparents, parents, and they’re all so excited.”

Following up on the success of the Mountview art show, Jorgensen said more elementary schools have been invited to participate.

April will feature the works of Nesika and Big Lake, followed by Marie Sharpe and Chilcotin Road next month.

Cariboo Art Beat is located at 19 First Ave., under Caribou Ski Source for Sports’ entrance on Oliver Street.

Rylie Trampleasure, Grade 2, has her work on display at Cariboo Art Beat. (Photo submitted)

Angus Shoults, Grade 4. (Photo submitted)

Angus Shoults, Grade 4. (Photo submitted)

Grade 3 student Izabella Telford. (Photo submitted)

Grade 3 student Izabella Telford. (Photo submitted)

Grade 6 student Kai Pare shows off her artwork. (Photo submitted)

Grade 6 student Kai Pare shows off her artwork. (Photo submitted)

Isabella Buchner

Isabella Buchner

Source:– Williams Lake Tribune – Williams Lake Tribune

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Launching the conversation on Newfoundland and Labrador art history



ST. JOHN’S, N.L. —

“Future Possible: An Art History of Newfoundland and Labrador” is a book that has been a long time coming, Mireille Eagan says.

While working at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery in Prince Edward Island, Eagan curated an exhibition marking the 60th anniversary of Newfoundland and Labrador joining Confederation with Canada.

“As I was researching, I noticed that there was very little that existed in terms of the art history of this province,” she said. “There wasn’t even a Wikipedia article.”

Noticing this large gap, “Future Possible” was a book that needed to exist, she said.

As the 70th anniversary approached in 2019, Eagan, now living in St. John’s and working as curator of contemporary art at The Rooms, envisioned filling that gap.

Over two summers, The Rooms held a two-part exhibition. The first looked at the visual culture and visual narratives before the province joined Confederation and the second focused on 1949 onward, Eagan said.

“At its core, it was asking, what are the stories we tell ourselves as a province? It was looking at iconic artworks, it was looking at texts that have been written about this place, and it put these works in conversation with contemporary artworks,” Eagan said.

In the foreword to the book, chief executive officer of The Rooms Anne Chafe described it as a complement to the exhibition and a project that “does not seek to be the final say. It seeks, instead, to launch the conversation.”

History and identity

One example of that conversation between the past and the present mentioned by Eagan is the work of artist Bushra Junaid, who moved to St. John’s from Montreal as a baby. The daughter of a Jamaican mother and Nigerian father, Junaid said her experience growing up in the province in the 1970s, where she always the only Black child in the room, was not like most.

“All of my formative years, my schooling and everything, took place in St. John’s,” she said. “It’s very much shaped my current preoccupation.”

Her interest in history, identity and representation led her to making “Two Pretty Girls…,” which used an archival photograph of Caribbean sugarcane workers from 1903 with text from advertisements for sugar, molasses and rum from archived copies of The Evening Telegram collaged over the women’s clothing.

In her essay “Of Saltfish and Molasses” published in “Future Possible,” she described the work as “(allowing) me to place these women and their labour within the broader historical context of the international trade in commodities that underpinned Caribbean slavery and its afterlife.”

It’s a direct connection between Newfoundland and people in the Caribbean, a historical line not often drawn through the context of the transatlantic slave trade, but one she knows personally through the stories told by her mother, Adassa, about their ancestor, Sisa, who “as a teenager, survived the horrors of the Middle Passage, enduring the voyage from West Africa to Jamaica in the hold of a slave ship (Junaid).”

A book like “Future Possible” allows people to interpret themselves and their past, present and future, Junaid says.

“I appreciate the ways in which they really worked to make it as broad and diverse as possible,” she said. “It’s also striving to tell the Indigenous history of the place, the European settler history … and then also looking for … non-Western backgrounds such as myself. It’s enriching.”

What shapes us

St. John’s writer Lisa Moore contributed an essay called “Five Specimens from Another Time” that weaves together moments from her own life, the province’s history and current realities and the art that has inspired her over the years.

“It’s really interesting to me to see all this work of people that I’ve written about in the past and whose work influenced me, even in my writing of fiction, and then newer artists,” Moore said. “I just think that the book is a total gift.”

With such a rich cultural history ready to be written, she imagines “Future Possible” is just the first of what could be many books about art in the province now that the “ice is cracked.”

“The writers that (Eagan) has chosen to write here are also really exciting critics from all over the province, talking about all kind of different periods in art history,” she said.

As time passes, the meaning of the works in the book becomes richer, she said.

Mary Pratt’s 1974 “Cod Fillets on Tin Foil” and Scott Goudie’s 1991 “Muskrat Falls,” for instance, are two images with seemingly straightforward and simple subject matter. But any viewer looking now, who is aware of the cod moratorium and the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric dam, would find it difficult to see and interpret these images outside of those contexts.

“Artists, writers, filmmakers … they’re keen observers of culture and the moment that we live in,” Moore said. “They present things that are intangible like the feeling of a moment, or the culmination of social, political and esthetic powers that come together at a given time and shape us.”

“Future Possible: An Art History of Newfoundland and Labrador” is available online and in stores.

Andrew Waterman reports on East Coast culture.
[email protected]
Twitter: @andrewlwaterman



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Parrott Art Gallery goes virtual to help flatten the curve – The Kingston Whig-Standard



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Feeling stir crazy because of COVID and the latest lock-down? Take a virtual trip to Morocco!

On Wednesday, April 14 at 2:30 p.m., the Parrott Gallery will host Lola Reid Allin’s Armchair Traveler online presentation: “Morocco: Sea, Sand and Summit”. Allin is an accomplished photographer, pilot, writer and speaker. Travel with her through the land of dramatic contrast and hidden jewels, busy markets and medieval cities, and enjoy some virtual sun.

For more information and to register for this free online event, please visit The Armchair Traveller Morocco photography exhibit is also available to view through the Parrott Gallery website until mid-May.

Even though our gallery is currently closed to the public, our exhibitions are all available to view online. Sam Sakr’s show “The Housing Project” is certain to bring a smile to your face. His collection of mixed media artwork will take you to a playful land of fantastical creatures that inhabit imaginary, stylized cityscapes. If your spirit needs uplifting, you need to see to see this show. I hope that everyone will be able to view Sakr’s work both online and then in our gallery after the lock-down ends in May. Without a doubt, it will be worth the wait to see it again in-person when we re-open.

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Another exhibition that you can currently visit on the Parrott Gallery website is the group show “Spring Sentiments: a Reflection of Art in Isolation”. This was a collaborative effort by the 39 artists who submitted their work, our staff who put the show together in the gallery and online, and our guest curator Jessica Turner. We are thrilled that Jessica was able to transcribe her experience with this show into a final paper for her Curatorial Studies BFA degree at OCADU.

The fact that we have had to close our doors just as this show was opening is a sad reflection of the theme as the audience must now reflect on this artwork at home, in isolation. The up-side to viewing this exhibition online is that one can read the artist statements that accompany the work and get a more in depth view of the artists’ perspectives. We encourage viewers to support our artists by sending in their comments and to vote for their favourites in the show by following the appropriate link on the webpage.

When you can’t come in to our building, the Parrott Gallery will bring the artwork to you. And then when the sun and flowers come out in May, and when it is safe to return to our gallery on the third floor of the Belleville Public Library, we hope to see you all again.

For questions about our online talk, our shows, or to purchase any of the artwork please call us at 613-968-6731 x 2040 or email us at

Wendy Rayson-Kerr is the Acting Curator at the John M. Parrott Art Gallery.

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