Egg-citing event at ArtWorks in Connellsville
A demonstration of Polish drop and pull egg art will be presented on Saturday in ArtWorks Connellsville Gallery and Learning Center.
“It's a Polish tradition, usually done around the Easter season, using hot wax and color to create designs,” said artist Joe Borytsky, who uses duck and goose eggs.
The color is created using wax dyes, he explained. The instrument used to pull the one-of-a-kind designs is a simple pencil with a straight pin in the eraser end.
Borytsky's interest in egg art began 20 years ago after his son collected eggs to give to his mother, Joe's wife Veronica, from all over the world as a 22-year member of the Air Force.
The drop and pull egg art is something Borytsky does from January to Easter. He then begins creating szopka, Polish creche, in the fall for the Christmas holiday. He is planning to build one for “It's a Connellsville Christmas-European Style” to be held on Dec. 7.
“I put my own spin on the traditional drop and pull egg,” Borytsky said. “I think of the eggs as a canvas, and I do different designs on each one. The traditional way is to put the wax on and then dip it in different colors. And after each time, you put the clear wax on the egg — that is like the Ukranian pysanky way. It then gets put under heat or a candle to wipe the wax off and that's when the colors would pop. I wanted to be a little different, so I started coloring the wax and layering it on top, which gives the egg a three-dimensional look. Then I spray it with two or three coats of polyurethane.”
Borytsky then signs each egg. No two are alike.
There are many egg collectors, according to Borytsky, who lives in Fairchance.
He is a member of the Uniontown Art Club, Morgantown Art Club and International Egg Art Guild.
Three years ago Borytsky won first place in the Dominion Post egg contest for its egg art edition. He once was commissioned to create an egg by a local woman who gave it to a doctor in Japan. However, that was an etched egg, using onion skins.
“New Jersey, Michigan, California, Texas, Wisconsin and Oregon all have big egg clubs and they hold huge shows,” Borytsky said. “There is a big show in Cleveland each fall. You can buy supplies and see egg artists from all over the world there.”
“I am very excited that Joe has volunteered to come to ArtWorks Connellsville to demonstrate egg art,” said Daniel Cocks, art coordinator. “His dedication to keeping his heritage and Polish roots alive is just amazing, and it shows in the quality of work that he does. I hope people come out on March 2 to meet Joe and see how these duck and goose eggs are transformed into works of art.”
On St. Patrick's Day, March 17, Borytsky will be one of several egg artists who will participate in the annual “Egg-stravaganza” in St. John's Byzantine Catholic Church in Uniontown.
“There will probably be about 10 different artists, including those from Maryland, Pittsburgh and Perryopolis, who all do different kinds of egg art. It is free to the public and is held from noon until 5 p.m.,” Borytsky said.
ArtWorks Connellsville also will host a soap-making class with Joy Faith, Fayette County's premier soap maker, on Saturday. She will teach students how to make the traditionally cold-processed natural soap. She also will teach attendees how to make, pour and slice their soaps.
All-natural ingredients — such as goat milk, oatmeal, wheat germ, seeds, dried flowers, herbs and spices — can be used to enhance the texture and color of the soaps.
The cost for the class, which will be held from 10 a.m. to noon, is $35. Two bars of soap will be available for each student to take home that day. Registration is required in advance at www.artworksconnellsvill.org or by calling 724-320-6392.
Nancy Henry is a freelance writer.