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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Beaded "Pysanky" Eggs

Article by Maria Rypan, Spring 2011

Hot off the press! In time for Easter! My article about "Beaded "Pysanky Eggs" has just been published in the Canadian needle arts magazine, A Needle Pulling Thread, Spring 2011, pgs. 90-93.

"Pysanky", batik-style Easter eggs, are inherently Ukrainian. Purists shudder at the beaded "pysanka's" very existence. Some artists refer to the traditional motifs and designs for inspiration, but use beads to decorate eggs so the patterns become stylized.

Personally, I think there is a place for beaded eggs in this day and age. They may not have the talismanic powers of the real "pysanky", but they are beautiful and bring joy to the recipients.

This article talks about the different ways of applying beads on eggs in a "pysanka" style. Photos illustrate various methods and give an appreciation of how each and every bead is applied or beadwoven. Since no two eggs are the same, the article gives plenty of guideline for beading your own.
Several artists beaded "pysanky" illustrate the different application (gluing or beeswax) or beadweaving methods. Many photos and tips come from Vira Pavlova Witkovska's work. Vira is holding her butterfly ostrich egg while I show off her trident ("tryzub") egg at my last visit to the Vernisage in Lviv. Ivano Frankivsk teacher Maria Golovan kindly provided me with the step by step beadweaving photos and basket full of "beadwoven" pysanky. There's even a bead embroidered and stuffed one in the basket! There's no end to creativity!

Spring 2011, ISSN 1715-4650

Thank you to editor Carla Comanico for suggesting this article after she receiving my metric carton of beaded "pysanky" card. Get your issue for the maximum appreciation of this art form and other needle art projects.


  1. Look forward to reading the article about these amazing pieces of art!

  2. What an impressive article. But, because I have no experience in beading, some of the beading terms in the article made no sense to me. However, I do pysanky, and would love to try your beaded pysanky techniques. Please let me know how I can acquire/purchase your instructions. I have a large quantity of seed beads tucked away in a tote and would be thrilled to have a use for them!

  3. I'll be doing a hands-on beaded pysanky workshop at Crafter's Cupboard in Guelph, ON on April 9th. This will give me a good insight how to take the observations on how to make the beaded eggs into a practice.

    Like the article says, you can either apply the beads (glue them on, press into beeswax) OR beadweave around the egg with a needle and thread. You'll be creating an outside covering for the egg with a combination of different beading techniques to gradually taper the to the ends. This requires improvisation because no two eggs or ends of a single egg are the same.

    I'll try to come up with a few more practical step-by-step. I'm looking forward to the challenge.

  4. Can you let me know what you come up with? Vancouver is a little far to travel from :)