Guinea Pig Creative: Pysanky Egg Dyeing!

Earlier this week, our Guinea Pig Creative group got together again at my studio for another evening of friendship and craft. This time around, we chose Pysanky (Ukranian) egg dyeing, since Easter is nearly here. This time around, we were: Patti, Jen, Emily, Kat, and Karen.

 

I did this years ago with my kids when they were younger. They enjoyed it, but at the same time found it very frustrating (they may have been a tad bit too young for the intricacies of this dyeing method). We do have some fun handmade Christmas ornaments from our afternoon of egg dyeing, as we added little hangers to the tops of most of our eggs.

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Kat applying wax to her egg while Karen and Emily relight their candle

If you’re not familiar with how Ukranian eggs are decorated, it’s done with wax resist that is “drawn” on with a tool that melts the wax by holding it over a candle. You then draw designs onto your egg while the wax is liquid, remelting the was by holding your tool over a candle and adding more wax as needed. In a multi-step process, you draw and then dunk your egg in different colors, to create a multi-colored egg. Starting with the lightest shades and moving darker. On many eggs, the final color is black, which really sets off all the other colors.

It takes some time to figure it out and get it working, but once you do, it’s pretty darn fun. As long as you can get rid of any preconceived notions of how your egg is going to look.

We all have a whole new appreciation for artists in this medium. It’s not easy, but it’s really fun.

The cool thing about this medium is that, while you’re working on your egg, you may think it looks terrible. But melt the wax off, and it’s really magical.

Above is my egg at the midpoint and then finished but still covered in wax (looks pretty disappointing, right?).

Jen heating her egg to remove the wax at left, and Karen and Emily’s eggs-in-process at right.

Removing the wax on my egg.

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A slideshow of some of our finished eggs.

 

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My egg in the center and Patti’s two eggs on either side. I wanted my egg to also have some peacock colors in it (bright green, aqua blue and purple) but quickly found that these colors wouldn’t overlay the orange. For that, I would have needed to apply colors with a cotton swab in certain areas. Next time!

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From left: Patti, me, Jen, Emily, Kat (Karen is taking the photo, boohoo)

I can’t recommend enough getting together with friends to do something creative. Of course it’s always great to get together with friends, but adding an activity really takes the fun up a notch. If you have a group of local friends, try to set something like this up and do it! It’s especially fun if no one really knows what they’re doing. Our evenings include a craft, snacks, drinks, and lots of laughing. There’s just something really great about being with other women friends, and I cherish every moment of these special evenings.

At our next get together in May, we’ll be making polymer clay stuff (yet to be determined what exactly) at Patti’s stained glass studio.

Friends and craft, together, with great snacks and good wine thrown in. Win win.

 

Guinea Pig Creative, and Poll Winner!

Thanks to everyone who took my poll on Maryland Sheep & Wool. It’s so helpful for me to get feedback, and I really appreciate it! The winner of the random drawing from the comments here on the blog is: Paula! Who I’ve now emailed and the yarn and pompom are on their way to her!

This past Wednesday evening, I had a group of local friends over to the studio to dye silk scarves. I had some different techniques I wanted to try out for a class, and thought testing it out on friends would be a great plan. That way, if it didn’t work out well, I wouldn’t have wasted people’s money in taking the class.

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Guinea Pig Creative at Spirit Trail Fiberworks Studio

 

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Talking color possibilities

 

I emailed and asked if they’d be my “guinea pigs,” and thankfully they were happy to oblige. I especially wanted them to help me because none of them have ever used dyes like this before, so they were newbies to the process. Jeez, we had so much fun, and decided we need to get together every couple of months for a night of group creativity. And Jen Perrot made it official when she dubbed us “Guinea Pig Creative.”

These ladies are not only a whole lot of fun, kind, generous and just super people, they’re all artists, too. So, I thought I’d introduce them because, if you’re ever in Rappahannock County, VA, most of them have great places to visit, and some are on the Artists of Rappahannock Studio & Gallery Tour (every year, the first full weekend in November:

Patti Brennan of De’Danann Glassworks is an amazing stained glass artist (we met when my husband gave me stained glass classes for Christmas nearly 10 years go; what a great Christmas present, right?!). She has weekend workshops and is one of the driving forces (probably THE driving force) behind the Rappahannock Artisan Trail and our new Second Saturday Open Door Tour monthly events.

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Patti’s scarf (looks rather like stained glass, doesn’t it?)

Kat Habib creates beautiful hand-built ceramics at Kat Habib Ceramics, using various firing methods the create really stunning and unique pieces, which are for sale in the Flourish Roots shop (see below).

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Kat’s scarf

<p style=" margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;"> <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BQllG-kD1RL/&quot; style=" color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;" target="_blank">My first hand dyed silk scarf! Thank you for having me as a guinea pig @spirittrailfiberworks!! It was a great class and I'd happily play in your studio for hours! Such a gift to live in this talented and warm community.</a></p> <p style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;">A post shared by Kat Habib (@kat.habib) on <time style=" font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;" datetime="2017-02-16T21:14:43+00:00">Feb 16, 2017 at 1:14pm PST</time></p></div></blockquote> //platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js“>Kat’s scarf on Instagram

Heidi Morf, who used to own Four and Twenty Blackbirds (a phenomenal restaurant in Flint Hill, VA), and then Twenty Four Crows (cafe and gift shop), creates phenomenal stained glass art, mosaics, lamp work beads. Right now she shows her work at other studios, including Patti’s; we’re hoping she builds herself a studio so we can go play with her art supplies, too. heheh.

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Heidi’s first scarf, which we thought might have been over-saturated but turned out so incredible. 

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Heidi’s second scarf (this was actually the under-color of the first scarf before she added the other colors!)

Karen Mosebrook owns Morningside Farms Nursery with her husband, and Cocoa Manna, where she creates hand-roasted cocoa beans and brewing chocolate (sort of a coffee “alternative,” but more than just an alternative … I like it mixed with coffee!). She’s now also getting into handmade artisanal chocolates, and I can’t wait to see how this develops (and to be HER chocolate-making guinea pig later this year!).

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Karen’s scarf. So pretty.

<p style=" margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;"> <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BQnkZQ9Bi1n/&quot; style=" color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;" target="_blank">Special thanks to @spirittrailfiberworks for the silk scarf dying class, it was a total blast! @flourishrootflorals @heritagehollowfarms @dedanannglass .</a></p> <p style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;">A post shared by Karen Mosebrook (@cocoamanna) on <time style=" font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;" datetime="2017-02-17T15:46:57+00:00">Feb 17, 2017 at 7:46am PST</time></p></div></blockquote> //platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js“>Karen’s Scarf on Instagram

Jen Perrot of Flourish Root Florals creates absolutely gorgeous floral arrangements, wreaths and other pieces. In addition to her own floral arrangements for weddings, special events, and special order, her shop also features Kat’s beautiful ceramics.

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Jen’s scarf. This one was the biggest surprise, because Jen started with an under color of khaki green, adding a burgundy and brown overlay which ended up covering the green entirely. But, the green gives it a depth it wouldn’t otherwise have. 

<p style=" margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;"> <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BQnXM8Ilp4t/&quot; style=" color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;" target="_blank">#creative #collaboration with dear friends in my village….#lucky to be surrounded by so much talent…. . . My first hand dyed scarf…and I'm hooked. #thankyou @spirittrailfiberworks for sharing an evening &amp; happy to be a #guineapig . . and so begins the #guineapigcreative collective of dear friends &amp; sweet souls… . . #flourishroot #florals #makesomething #handcrafted #artisan #makesmehappy #makesmesmille #thisiswhatwedo</a></p> <p style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;">A post shared by Flourish Root Florals (@flourishrootflorals) on <time style=" font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;" datetime="2017-02-17T13:51:41+00:00">Feb 17, 2017 at 5:51am PST</time></p></div></blockquote> //platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js“>Jen’s Scarf on Instagram

Molly Peterson is a talented photographer, farmer, and co-owner of Heritage Hollow Farms with her husband, Mike. They have a farm store next to Flourish Root Florals, where they sell their pasture-raised meats, some of Molly’s photographs and notecards, candles from a local candle maker, and other local products.

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Molly’s scarf. Like clouds and a rich summer sky.

It’s really cool how each scarf really reflects the art of its owner. Even if that wasn’t on purpose, it obviously leaks through!

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One of the fun aspects of dyeing scarves is not being entirely sure what will happen in the dye process. There’s an alchemy that isn’t completely controllable. Which I believe is one of the reasons I really enjoy dyeing scarves the way I do; it’s a process I can’t completely control. And that’s good for me, when most of my other dyeing is very controlled and purposeful.

And that’s a run down of Guinea Pig Creative. Stay tuned for more photos of our creative group activities. Next time it might be Pysanky (Ukranian) egg decorating, for Easter and the Spring Equinox.