Carnegie church has designs on pysanky tradition
By Jacquie Harris
Published: Wednesday, March 27, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Pysanky, the ancient Ukrainian custom of waxing and dying eggs, has always been a symbol of the coming of spring.
The tradition also is a key part of an annual fundraiser for the Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Ukrainian Church in Carnegie. More than 500 eggs painted by parishioners were for sale on March 24, with about 700 that were imported from Ukraine.
Michael Kapeluck, 49, of Carnegie, is one of the artists in charge of creating the designs on the eggs. Kapeluck, who has painted the interiors of churches as an artist for the last 25 years, was up to the task of painting the dozens of eggs for the sale.
The art of pysanky is more than 1,000 years old, but the process has remained an oral tradition, passed on through generations. “Since the eggshell is so fragile,” Kapeluck said, “there are no ancient examples.”
“Eggs are blown out now, they didn't used to be because it wasn't good luck to take the yolk out of an egg,” Kapeluck said.
There are many styles of decorating the eggs, from batik, which is the traditional wax and dye process, to petrikyvka, which is a hand-painting process, to even relief art.
“There are some that are bathed in acid to remove color, such as in brown eggs,” Kapeluck said. “There is also a scratch-away method that involves removing the brown color on the eggs themselves.”
Pysanky eggs used to be symbols and talismans of good luck, good harvest, fertility and protection, and these ideals transferred easily to Christian ideals in 988 A.D., when Christianity came to the Ukraine.
“Every kid who went to church in a Ukrainian family learned how to do this when they were growing up,” he said.
This seems to hold true, as this is the 47th year of the sale at Saints Peter and Paul Church.
There are other artists involved, such as Tracey Sally of Carnegie, who is president of the Ukrainian Orthodox League, the organization that sponsors the sale for the church. She also is another active artist in the pysanky tradition.
“I've been an artist for a long time, and I thought that they eggs were pretty,” Sally said. “Now, every egg that I make goes into the sale.”
The church also sold and auctioned chicken, quail, duck, goose, emu, and ostrich eggs. Egg prices ranged from $2, which are painted by children, to $350 for ostrich eggs. Most eggs were between $8 and $20.
“I like to try new things throughout the year,” Sally said. “I research culture areas and different countries. Each egg artist has his or her own style. Every egg has its own personality.”
Jacquie Harris is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Carlynton, Chartiers Valley reaffirm security in wake of FR school stabbings
- Voluntary tutor sessions popular with Carlynton students
- Carnegie skatepark construction heats up like the weather
- Carnegie uses state allocation to update road paving schedule
- South Fayette family spreads the good news in many ways