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Anyone who knows me knows I like to dabble in the arts. I've tried my hand at pysanky -- a Ukrainian-based art where wax is applied to an egg, then dyed -- in the past and enjoyed it. So when I saw a workshop sponsored by the Ohio Egg Artists Guild on a type of non-traditional pysanky, making an etched egg with brown chicken eggs, I decided to give it a try.
So, on May 17, I ventured to the workshop at The Hub in Copley. The workshop was taught by Suzie Murcer, who was familiar to me from the Ohio Egg Artists Guild annual egg show. Murcer said she got the idea for egg etching from another egger at a show.
Each participant was given an egg to work with (and take home), as well as the use of a stylus, beeswax and a lit candle. Those familiar with traditional pysanky know that was is usually applied to the egg shells on the areas that they do not want dyed -- and that is true here, as well. The difference is that in traditional pysanky, the wax is applied to a white egg shell before it is dipped in various dyes, going from light to dark.
With egg etching, the egg artist does the opposite: wax is first applied to the brown-hued egg shell on the areas we wanted to remain brown. Then, the egg is dipped into a corrosive liquid. The substance Murcer used that day? Toilet bowl cleaner (although something like household vinegar works well, too).
Once the first round of wax was applied, Murcer, wearing protective rubber gloves, dipped the egg into the cleaner and gently scrubbed the shell to reveal a lighter color. The participants could then wax the areas they wanted to remain this lighter brown before a third dipping, which turned the egg almost white. I was amused when, at one point, Murcer said I had done a flying geese pattern on my egg, which she say my pattern of diagonal lines. That was a coincidence because truly, I was just winging it design-wise (bad pun intended).
I really enjoyed this. Indeed, it remains a strong temptation to go home, blow out some eggs from the refrigerator, and spend an afternoon or three on egg art. It is quite addicting! The Ohio Egg Artists Guild offers workshops for children 10 and older and adults. For details on the guild and on future classes, call 330-322-7966 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.