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.

Goose egg drop-pull spree

I wanted to keep using the dyes I made for the Pysanky Toronto retreat. The dyes were not very cooperative at the even, but when they came back home and relaxed a bit, they were dyeing just fine, so it would be a shame to not use them. Still working on the strokes, and starting to work on the variety of patterns. All these patterns are from the Lithuanian book.

Dyes:

  • Top-left, coreopsis extract then sappan wood
  • Top-right dyer’s broom extract, then mulberry, then sappan wood (red)
  • Bottom: coreopsis extract, then sappan wood, then vinegar etched to white, then dyer’s broom to bright yellow and immediately after mulberry.