Category Archives: Ideas & Inspiration

Pysanky Roundup: Resources and Inspiration

(Please note this post does NOT contain affiliate links. Any products shown are merely to offer options to get started with this project. Links are to give credit where credit is due.)

In the spirit of Easter, I thought I would showcase a Pysanky Roundup of resources and inspiration. You may also know Pysanky as Ukranian Easter Eggs. Like the batik I wrote about earlier this week, pysanky is another form of wax-resist dyeing, but on eggs of course!

A pysanka is an egg that has been “written” on with wax. Traditionally, there is meaning behind the symbols written on the eggs – whether as a charm against superstitions or as a representation of the Christian Easter story.

Symbols

Pysanky Symbols and Their Meaning

For patterns and ideas – including patterns by region – visit:

Supplies

The basics you need are: eggs, wax, dyes, a flame, and a kistka (a stylus for writing on the egg with melted wax). See one of Tutorials below for a complete list.

I would suggest looking at your local Ukranian centre or heritage museum for supplies. If you’re in the Calgary area you could try:

For a list of local vendors by province/state visit:

To purchase supplies online:

Tutorials

Inspiration

1. Turkey Egg Pysanka by Katrina Lazarev | 2. Saddlebag Eggs by Lorrie Popow | 3. Parasol Scallops Egg by Katy David Art | 4. Pysanky by Teresa Mihalko Harbert

5. Modern Abstract Pysanky by Andrea Kulish | 6. Modern Pysanky Chicken Eggs by Just Cindy Art | 7. Swallowing the Sun (Turkey Egg) by Amelia Randich

What’s inspiring you lately?

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Ever wanted to create those beautiful Ukranian Easter Eggs? Now's your chance. I've rounded up some helpful tutorials, suppliers, and inspiration to help you get started writing your first pysanka.


Macrame Then and Now – Inception to Reinvention

Macrame Then and Now: Following the Thread

In looking at macrame then and now, we are able to see the evolution of an artform through the ages, from its practical origins to its continuing reinvention. Macrame is the art of tying knots from cord into intricate patterns to create lace and/or fringe. While talk of macrame may usher in memories of brown, jute owls, or blank stares, depending on your birth date, it has seen a resurgence in recent years.

I am always curious to see how art is influenced by the past. Makers are constantly revising techniques and refreshing aesthetics to reflect their current worldview.

According to Needlework through History: An Encyclopedia, the word Macrame dates back to Arabic weavers in the 13th century, who used to the word “Migramah” to refer to the fringe that was placed on horses and camels to keep flies at bay. However, the first recorded instance can be dated all the way back to 3500 BCE in Egypt. Macrame is also seen depicted on Assyrian stone carvings from 850 BCE. The technique travelled to Spain via the Moors in the 8th century CE and spread throughout rest of Europe.

This infographic shows various forms and uses of macrame throughout history beginning with its name origins in the 13th Century:

Macrame Then and Now

Highlights from Popular Eras

Sylvia’s Book of Macrame Lace,” is an example of macrame’s popularity during the Victorian era. Like needlework skills, macrame was seen as a valuable addition to a young woman’s education. Even then, its appeal was in its simplicity of materials and accessibility of tools – hands only! You can view the book for free, in its entirity, on the Internet Archive:

Sylvia's Book of Macrame Lace

 

Perhaps the most iconic period for macrame is the late 1960’s and 1970’s. The hippy subculture saw an appreciation for handcrafted goods and natural materials move to the forefront. Consequently, macrame during this period utilizes jute, harvest colors, and often depicts animals, such as owls. Yes, owls are a very, very, big deal. From wall hangings and curtains, to toilet paper holders, macrame permeated the households of this era. Macrame clothing also reflected the free spirit of the times.

Vintage Macrame

 

Contemporary Macrame

In recent years, macrame has once again risen to the forefront. Fiber artists are interpreting this technique in fresh and unexpected ways.

Artist Natalie Miller is melding weaving and macramé together to create wall hangings like these – with a complexity of texture and richness of colour:

Natalie Miller Macrame and Weaving

Photos courtesy of Natalie Miller.

Karoliina of Rowan Studios creates natural cotton tapestries which are beautifully juxtaposed with geometric lines and ombre ends:

Macrame wall hangings from Rowan Studios

Photos courtesy of Rowan Studios. From top left: Set of Three Mini Wall Hangings | XXL Macrame Wall Hanging – “Field Sparrow Song” |
Mini Macrame Wall Hanging

The Vintage Loop owner Laura surprises us within vivid pops of colour on her macrame plant hangers, and a playful use of scale and detail:

The Vintage Loop Macrame

Photos courtesy of The Vintage Loop. From left: Neon Blue Modern Macrame Plant Hanger | Macramé Wall Hanging – Small Woven Wall Art|Macrame Plant Hanger Rearview Mirror Charm

I hope you’ve enjoyed following the thread of macrame’s story from past to present.

Then and Now perspectives of re-emerging mediums will be a regular monthly post. Do you have a suggestion for a medium you would like to see explored further?

I believe all creatives should look to the past for the next big thing. After all, there is only the last thing, just reimagined.

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Please note this post does NOT contain affiliate links. Any products shown are to showcase the art of macrame and my admiration for them. Links are to give credit where credit is due.