Saturday, March 31, 2012

Polish Egg Decorating

Southeast Michigan has a large Polish community that I have had the pleasure to explore. I've spent some time in the particularly Polish areas of Detroit where I had the opportunity to try Dill Pickle soup, which I didn't even know existed (and it's pretty good soup too!). I have also learned that it's a polish tradition to eat  Pączkis (pronounced PAWNCH-kee) on Fat Tuesday before lent begins and everyone around Michigan seems to go NUTS with this idea. Having never even heard of a Pączki I definitely took the opportunity to participate in this polish pastry/donut affair. Continuing my Polish tradition education, this week I got to participate in another Polish tradition-- super FANCY egg decorating!

My housemates and I's combined Polish Egg Decorating Efforts!
Every year one of the members of the church teaches anyone who is interested how to make these fancy eggs! Here's some things you should know about Polish Egg Decorating

Starting Pattern for Beginners.

1. They are real raw eggs. They are not hard boiled and if you drop them they WILL break. The really intense egg decorators remove the yoke and fluid before decorating them, but that is just too much work when raw eggs will work and last up to 4 years if you don't break them. (and keep them at room temperature)

2.  To make the designs you use wax and a tool called a kistka. You heat up the kistka in a candle flame and then melt the wax while simultaneously scooping it into the device. The kistka has a pencil type tip that you control while 'drawing' on the wax. There are different widths of kistkas that you use depending on the thickness of the lines you want. 

Lauren's Egg in the Yellow Dye.

3. Whatever color the wax covers up is the color that the end product will be. For instance, the white lines are the real egg shell. After you use the wax to cover up the parts you want white you dip the egg into the yellow dye and do the same thing. Every time you reenter the egg in dye increase the darkness of the dye.

4. After you complete your pattern, you melt the remaining wax off as you watch your colors and design appear. A helpful tip is to not hold your egg directly over the flame of the candle but to the side so that you don't char your egg. Also, it is at this point in the process where most people drop their eggs and break them. SO be careful!

5. Each egg takes about a minimum of an hour to create. Of course more intricate detailed patterns take much longer. The red egg with the yellow swirls took me 2 hours to make.

6. This tradition is over 2500 years old. This practice was used in pagan spring festivals, which is where the Easter tradition of eggs later came from.

The dyes and supplies for all of this can be bought at the Polish Art Center in Michigan. I'm very thankful to have people share their talents and culture with me! Now I have beautiful eggs to show off at my house.  

Removing the wax in the final step.

Wax and Kistka plus my egg ready to be dipped in red.

I've always wanted to sign my name on an egg!!

1 comment:

  1. This is really interesting! I was not aware of this tradition.