As she does each year near the Easter weekend, Ukrainian pysanky artist Elsie Thomas dropped by the Museum with some of her marvellously designed Ukrainian Easter Eggs. Elsie has continually refined her approach to decorating the eggs, and it’s led to some remarkable results with some unusual media involved.  

Included in her work are some eggs that give a nod to another important Christian holiday – Christmas. Some of the eggs have been hollowed into geode-looking caverns with scenes of Christmas, complete with Jolly Old St. Nick himself. The exteriors of the eggs are dappled snow peaks, an effect cleverly created by using a silicone based white caulking. Some of the intricate cutting is accomplished with a Dremel style powered hand tool.  

Other eggs, some of them ostrich eggs, are similarly hollowed with the interiors exposed by opened hinged doors, French style, and intricate interiors. Elsie works with all types of eggs including goose and ostrich, but she prefers crow eggs for their size and exterior. They’re becoming tougher to get she says.  

“The egg is a very sacred thing,” says Elsie. “An egg is life. When it’s given as a present at Easter, it’s very good luck.” 

There is much lore attached to the eggs and their decoration – from warding off evil, to signs of love and family. Elsie prefers earth tones and dark contrasts as opposed to bright colours and pastels as are often associated with Easter. The designs include wheat stalks, floral patterns, all nods to the importance of nature and fertility.  

On lookers gathered throughout the afternoon to ask questions and admire the results of the art that Elsie has been perfecting throughout her life. 

If you’d like to find out more about the art and try your hand at making a decorated egg, contact the Gallery about this Saturday’s Pysanky Decoration Workshop with Carol Oleksyn and Elaine Drachenberg from 1:30 to 4:00 pm. Space is limited. Cost is $20 per person.