Just got back from a most excellent weekend up at the parents’ homestead upstate for Easter. We ate, we drank, we were merry in equal parts. More importantly, we made EGGS!
I went up with a group of 7 other friends. Two of the girls, whose occupations are Graphic Designer and Architect, unsurprisingly got as insanely obsessed with the hours long ritual as I do. I don’t have pictures yet, but the end results were fantastic.
There’s a lot to be said about the lessons you can take from such a painstaking labor process:
- You’ve got to think backwards. Everything you cover in wax when the egg is white will remain white. The normal method for drawing and painting usually involves outlining something in black and then filling in the color. Pysanky is the exact opposite. Some people have a really hard time figuring this out. To me it’s a metaphor for being able to think, and pardon the term, outside of the box. If you can take the normal mental pathway of thinking and turn it exactly upside-down, then in my mind, you’re more equipped for life, more able to see things from other people’s perspective. I think a lot of people could benefit from this ability.
- Each step of the progression is incredibly in its finality. You dye an egg blue and there’s no real changing that. Every action you took prior to that is locked in, under wax. There are ways to cheat this, using vinegar or bleach, but the end result is never as pretty. You’ve got to think ahead or, if you decide to be spontaneous, embrace the actions that got you to where you are.
- You’re working on an eggshell, fer chrissakes. A literal representation of thousands of euphemisms for fragility. All you’ve got is kid gloves and you’d better be using them. I’ve broken eggs through carelessness and have actually cried because of losing the product of six or seven hours of the most concentrated concentration I could muster.
This has been a yearly event for myself for over ten years. It’s such an ingrained part of my internal yearly calendar that it’s always in the back of my mind the other 360 some-odd days I’m not decorating eggs. The last egg of each yearly session will subtly, but noticeably effect both my mood and outlook for the coming year.
For example, last year I had an extremely poor showing. The colors didn’t work how I wanted, the eggs were sloppy and poorly planned out. I had one positive egg and then tried to make something spectacular and failed, miserably. It was on my mind all year, a very slight pessimistic outlook. The person I’m most influenced by, unsurprisingly, is myself. So when I get it into my head that something is wrong, or just “off,” I’ll make it a truth in my head.
Not this year, though. I think I produced the most technically correct and aesthetically pleasing piece of work I’ve ever done. I’ll try and get a picture up as soon as possible. That piece, being the last thing I did for this year, 2007, means that I’m going to not only have a good year overall, but I’m going to know that I’m having it. So yes, hope springs and all that.
Anyway, on to the Adieu part of the post:
I’m leaving tomorrow for a week of bidness in Boston. Sort of the Finals week of my professional life, which is almost immediately followed by a long spring break. I’ll try to get in to post as often as possible, what with my observations of that city being very numerous and hopefully humorous.
So until then, peace in the northeast all.