Teaching traditional egg decorating to benefit Ukrainian relief efforts

Published: Mar. 25, 2023 at 4:53 PM EDT
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CLAYTON, New York (WWNY) - Meet Katie St. Laurent. At the age of 10, her grandmother taught her Pysanky, the traditional Ukrainian process for decorating eggs. And now, she’s sharing that knowledge with a class at the Thousand Islands Arts Center.

“Being that it’s Lent and almost Easter. It’s a great time of year to be making eggs,” said St. Laurent.

St. Laurent aims to share a bit of Ukrainian culture with the North Country, especially as war continues to ravage the nation.

“There is a legend around Ukrainian eggs that every time an egg is made it basically fights back evil in the world,” said St. Laurent.

Over the course of just a couple of hours, eggs can go from bland to bold. And we’re told Pysanky experts can put them together even faster.

“I love it. It’s something that brings me a lot of peace and I do it almost every day,” said St. Laurent.

One of Katie’s students stopped by the class as part of her birthday celebration. She says one part of the process stood out to her.

“It’s new. It’s something I haven’t done before. My favorite part of doing it is not the drawing. We just got started on the wax part,” said Gari Gabber.

For Pysanky, wax is key. The eggs aren’t painted, instead they’re coated in patterns of hot wax using a tool called a Kistka then dipped in dye.

“Basically, you put down the color then you draw your design in that color with the wax to lock it in,” said St. Laurent.

And the final step is removing that wax with a heat gun, giving the egg it’s glossy appearance.

“All of the colors that were locked in underneath show through,” said St. Laurent.

To show her support for those still fighting the War in Ukraine, Katie tells us all of the proceeds generated from her class will go towards relief efforts.