Vera Samycia and the fine art of pysanka


Vera shows some techniques for popping the design with color

While there were decorated eggs that can be dated to 4000 BC, Vera Samycia tells us that the beginning of decorating eggs in the Ukraine beginning in 988 when Christianity became the religion in Ukraine. Vera teaches pysanka, Ukrainian egg decorating, at the Ukrainian Museum each year. However, many of her intricate creations are on exhibit throughout the year.


One of Vera's eggs

In pagan times, the egg was a symbol of Spring and fertility. "When Christianity came to the Ukraine, the church wanted to do away with the pagan ways, which included egg decorating, but the people continued to decorate their eggs. Eventually the church adopted the tradition," Samycia explains.

"This tradition was something that women did. Mothers taught daughters. But I was busy with my career and didn't have time. Then I became pregnant and I had time. My husband said, 'Do your mom a favor, learn how to decorate eggs.' So, at thirty-one I did. That was in 1972.


Egg patterns are seen on community costumes


Plates too have symbols used on eggs

"There are traditional patterns, many are patterns from specific areas in Ukraine.  The color brown represents mother earth, green is for money and rebirth. But egg makers create their own designs too. We can tell who did which eggs because you develop your own style."


Ceramics have decorative patterns used on other media

This intricate, beautiful art form can be seen all year long at the Ukrainian Museum, 2249 W. Superior St. Regular hours: Thurs. thru Sun., 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit the Museum's website or call 312.421.8020.


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