Tanya Deacove has a Bachelor of Fine Art in lithography (Queen’s University Kingston 1989) and a Master’s of Art Therapy (VATI 1993). She pursued a number of careers before discovering a passion for Ukrainian egg painting which has become her main pursuit. She lives and works in the restored Burridge Village cheese factory with her husband, woodworker/broom maker Raphael Kerem.
Painted Ukrainian eggs (pysanky) are hand-decorated with symbols that carry meaning and good wishes. The technique is a folk art tradition passed down through generations of Ukrainian people.
“I began with a lesson from a friend who showed me the basics, and have continued learning from books and a supportive Pysanky community who generously share their knowledge and expertise.
I use local, free-range eggs as the shells are strong and untreated. I enjoy relating to the farmers in the community where I live, as well as getting to meet and greet an assortment of chickens, ducks and geese!
The egg is decorated using a wax resist method. Beeswax is melted and applied onto the egg, then dipped in successive dye baths. My favorite part of Pysanky is the great ‘reveal’, when at the end of working on an egg, the layers of blackened beeswax are melted off and the completed design is fully revealed. It never ceases to be a moment of great magic and joy!
I have fond memories as a young girl, of peering into my Ukrainian grandmothers’ display cabinet of beautifully decorated eggs. Little did I imagine that the pandemic lockdown would provide the impetus to dive headfirst into this traditional craft I had admired since childhood.
For me, Pysanky is practiced as a sacred artform; using vivid colours and symbols to convey good wishes and peace.” -T. Deacove