The process of dying eggs by hand has its roots in Ukraine. It involves applying designs on an egg in wax and dipping the egg into dyes of varying color. Each part of the design is drawn on the egg with a special tool, a metal funnel attached to a stick or plastic rod, called a kistka. When the metal tip is heated, the wax flows out as the kistka is used to draw the design. The wax protects the each part of the design from the dyes when the egg is dipped. After each dip, the next part of the design is drawn on in wax to preserve the current color from the next. The process is repeated until the desired design and color layers are complete; then wax is melted off the egg and the true design is revealed! The final egg is referred to a pysanka egg (pysanky = plural).
Many of the basic patterns and designs seen on traditional pysanky have their basis in religion or are symbolic of nature. I utilize both types of patterning in some of my eggs. With others, I use a concept or subject from nature for a basis, such as a poinsettia for the holidays or an animal, then apply geometric patterns to the design. The combination of subject matter, both traditional and modern, make my eggs truly unique!