Books: Lithuanian Easter Eggs

Of all the books I’ve added to my egg-related library this year (and I’ve added quite a few), this one is definitely number one treasure. Out of print, I found the used copy and bought it. It was expensive, but worth every dollar, if you are into that kind of thing.

This is a proper ethnography work, the kind we don’t see much these days, it has a very detailed, sober, and well written textual part, 80 pages as you can see above with some black and white photos of eggs, and then about 130 pages of color plates with over 1200 egg patterns.

Here is an example of the text page, where he is talking about natural dyes used in the past:

Now, two main kinds of traditional Lithuanian Easter eggs are the scratched ones, and the drop-pull ones, which he calls wax-resist. Even though I have relatively little knowledge and experience of scratched eggs, traditionally they were not very common in Ukraine, from what I can see, the Lithuanian scratched eggs have unique patterns, nothing like what I have seen in scratched eggs from other countries. Here are the plates with photos of these:Lithuanian drop-pull eggs are much more similar to drop-pull eggs from other traditions, though they also might have some with a style unique to Lithuanians. I’ve been working on the drop-pull technique recently, playing with the patterns from this book, maybe with time and experience (and exposure to more drop-pulls from other countries), I would be able to pinpoint the uniquely-Lithuanian motifs, but not right now. I’m also missing the resources to properly documented drop-pull patterns from other countries, so don’t have much field for comparison. Here are the four photo plates of drop-pulls.The rest are color plates with what looks like printed patters, they are exactly hang-and-half scratched and drop-pull, but I’n only giving here the examples of drop-pull, as these are my main interest.So now I have years of playing with Lithuanian drop-pull eggs ahead of me, really grateful for having found this book, it’s an absolutely amazing resource.

Books: Country Colours by Carolyn Lock

I’m starting a series of posts about useful books with this beautifully done guide to dyeing wool using common plants that grow in Nova Scotia, published by Nova Scotia Museum, Halifax, N.S. 1981. You probably wouldn’t buy it, unless you are really interested (amazon sells used copies for $10-15), so I will copy here the things I found useful or interesting. I found this book in my university library, so you might find it in some libraries as well.

The book has a nice intro and a chapter on history, then directions on natural dyeing of wool. This contains a chart some of you might find useful on different mordants, with proper and common names, see below.

Then some information on collecting the plants, which I will omit here, and then a set of charts with records of plants collected and what color they gave with which mordant. Something I found extremely interesting in this chart was that sometimes the same plant with same mordant gave a different color if collected a month later, so this is something to be aware of. Here are all of these charts. Continue reading