Meet Artist Suzanne Walker and Her Exquisite Pysanky Eggs

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I met Suzanne Walker at an event this year. I was impressed by her artistic talent and phenomenal attention to detail. While purchasing one of her beautiful eggs, I asked if I could interview her for this blog. So, here we are!

Suzanne Walker is definitely pursuing her passion — creating Pysanky eggs.

What got you started?
When I was about 12, my mom got me the book, A Summer to Die, by Lois Lowry. In the book, the protagonist blows out two eggs and then paints them with watercolors. I did that for years. And I mean YEARS. My mother still has lots of painted eggs from when I was younger. Then, when I was in my early-30s, I saw an egg in a friend’s house decorated in the Ukrainian style. I was flabbergasted. I asked my friend how the egg was made, and she said, “Oh, you know … the wax and dye method.” I had no idea what she was talking about. A couple of years later I was in a gift shop, with my mother, and we found a kit for making pysanky. My mother bought it for me, and I made my first pysanka (very poorly) that very day.

Who or what serves as your inspiration?
I don’t really need inspiration to do eggs anymore. I think originally I was inspired by the perfection, intricacy, and temporary nature of the eggs. I say temporary nature because these eggs are so fragile, and they can break very easily. I’ve learned to mend them sometimes, but sometimes they are beyond repair. Every time I finish an egg, I am egg-cited to remove the final wax and reveal the bright colors and detailed design underneath. That “reveal” moment can be wonderful, disappointing, surprising, or (as often happens) can be a learning moment. Just getting to that reveal moment inspires me to do more eggs.

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Can you describe your creative process for us?
Making pysanky requires a technical process and a creative process. The very basic technical process is as follows (this is greatly simplified): empty an egg shell, and prep the shell with vinegar; draw some guiding lines on your egg with a pencil; apply wax using a special heated stylus to the egg in all the places that you want the egg to remain its natural color (usually white). Now it’s time for dye. Dye the egg a light color; we’ll say yellow. Apply wax again on all the areas that you want the egg to remain yellow. Dye the egg another color; we’ll say orange. Apply wax again on all the areas that you want the egg to remain orange. Repeat with other colors. Your final color, which usually ends up looking like your background color, even though it’s the final color you’ve applied, is usually the darkest color. You do not have to apply wax over this color. By now the egg should have a fair amount of ugly wax on its surface. Remove all that wax with a heating method and the design that you’ve been building underneath the egg will be revealed.

The creative process is the process of deciding what designs to use. Pysanky is full of ancient symbolism. One of the things that I love about pysanky is that it pre-dates Christianity, so it can give us a glimpse into the life of an early people who thought that pysanky held charm, luck, and protection. That being said, I will put anything on an egg. I usually have a list of eggs I need to do, whether they are to celebrate a special event like a wedding or to celebrate a holiday like Halloween. I like to use both old-timey symbols and more modern designs on my eggs. For example, I make have been making eggs to commemorate the Indy 500 for the past 3 years. This was certainly not done before Christianity.

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Did you receive any training or take any classes?
I have not taken any training from anyone. I have read several books about pysanky … my favorite being Helen Badulak’s, Pysanky in the 21st Century. Her book helped me solve problem and think about the technical side of making an egg. YouTube videos and other websites are also very helpful.

What is your biggest challenge?
Finding time is always a challenge, but my biggest process challenge is to take my time at the beginning of an egg. The first lines that I write on my egg are the basis for the whole design. The division of the egg needs to be straight but above all else, balanced. If I can get the egg divided equally from the very beginning, then the end design will look much more amazing and professional.

Is this something you see yourself doing in the foreseeable future?
Yes. I really hope that I can continue writing eggs for the rest of my life. For me it’s “me-time.” It’s meditative. It helps me deal with the world. Sometimes I make eggs to commemorate terrible events, however, lately the terrible events have been coming fast and furious, and that just becomes depressing. Making an egg helps me honor and remember.

Do you have other creative interests that you would like to explore?
I have a half-written novel in a drawer. I’d love to get that done one of these days.

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Do you teach others how to do what you do?
Yes! I’ve done two classes and one lesson. It’s hard to find time to plan these out, but I really enjoy teaching others how-to. I’m set up to give lessons for up to 16 adults now, so feel free to reach out to me if you are near Indy and want a class. Pysanky requires the use of a lit candle which is why I don’t mix kids and adults. I can teach kids as young as 8, but they need to be in smaller groups.

Do you do this full-time or part-time?
I do this part-time. I tend to do a lot in the months leading up to Easter. Sometimes I’ll have a summer that seems full of eggs. I’m quite busy from Oct-Dec with family and travel, but I usually manage to squeeze a few eggs into my schedule.

Do you have a favorite or special piece in your collection?
I have several eggs that I love and will never part with. My first pysanka is technically very poor, but it was my very first one, so I’ll never give it away. I like my Halloween eggs a lot. I have one that I made after the 2016 Brussels bombings that is very special to me.

Where can we find you?
I have a “show” that I do in the fall.  I sell at “Shop ‘Til You Drop” at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church up on 106th street, in Carmel, IN, the third weekend in October. I’d like to do a show in the spring as well (looking for an indoor, well-attended craft show).

Otherwise, you can find me via my website — www.pysanky.net. I was pretty lucky in snagging that one.

Thank you, Suzanne Walker, for sharing your talent with us!

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Friends, pictures do not do these eggs justice. They really are exquisite! The egg I purchased was an ornament egg. It’s hanging on my Christmas tree. My apologies for the flash spots on the egg. Despite the flash spots, you can see the intricate detail and what a gorgeous shine it has to it.

I highly suggest buying some eggs to display in a lovely bowl, or to adorn your Christmas tree, or a loved one’s tree. They make great gifts for those hard-to-buy-for people. And they can be displayed throughout the year.

And you can learn to make your own precious keepsakes by taking one of Suzanne’s classes! How awesome is that?

Check out her beautiful collection and class opportunities on her website:  www.pysanky.net

#pysanky

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Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday Sales Rolled Into One!

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Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Now that the big meal has been eaten and the dishes have been washed and put away, it’s time to shop!

This year, I’ve decided to roll Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday together. I’m offering the best online deals of the year, plus free shipping, Continue reading

Local Authors at the 68th Annual Christmas Gift & Hobby Show, Nov 8th-12th

Local Authors logoWe have a wonderful lineup of Local Authors for this year’s Christmas Gift & Hobby Show, at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, West Pavilion. The show runs from Wednesday, November 8th – Sunday, November 12th. Our booth is #306 on the main aisle.

Here’s the show link for more details and tickets: http://christmasgiftandhobbyshow.com/

Use the code “AUTHORS” to get $3 off when you buy your tickets online!

AUTHOR GENRE WEBSITE
M. Katherine Clark Mystery and Thrillers, Suspense, Romance http://www.mkatherineclark.net
Christopher Clouser Sports History, Adventure Fiction  
Lisa Anne Duda Biography, Spirituality, Religious https://faithfulsunshine.wordpress.com/
Joy Elaine Non-Fiction, Galactic Romance and Global Evolution http://joyelaine.com/
Anna Hague Romance https://www.annahague.com/
L.E. Hewitt Non-Fiction Humor and Nostaglia www.lehewitt.com
Charles Kelley General Fiction www.ckfiction.com
Madalyn S. Kinsey YA Fiction, Historic Fiction, Mystery www.madalynkinsey.com
Nicole Kobrowski Paranormal, Indiana History, Murder/Mystery/True crime www.unseenpress.com
George Kramer YA Fantasy www.amazon.com/author/georgekramer
M. E. Levine Commercial Fiction, Humor http://myralevine.blogspot.com/
Kenzie Michaels Adult Contemporary Romance, Adult Science Fiction, Romance, Women’s Fiction, General Fiction, Poetry www.mollydaniels.com
Cynthia Port Children’s books, Middle Grade books http://www.cynthiaportbooks.com
Suzanne Purewal Romantic Suspense, Poetry, Humor http://www.suzannepurewal.wordpress.com
Francesca Quarto Urban Fantasy www.Celticmagic.net
Matt Roberts Sports https://wordsbymattroberts.com/
MK Scott Cozy Mystery, Romantic Suspense http://morgankwyatt.com/

 

A Not So Glorious Quest

     Today, my significant other wanted to cook dinner in a crockpot. While he is an expert with this cooking device, I have never used a crockpot. But I am an expert at minimizing messes. So, the crockpot needed a liner. At least, that’s what my friends told me. So, I went to the store in search of crockpot liners.
     Initially, I thought Lady Luck was on my side. I got the first parking spot, next to the handicapped spot. Bonus! This was going to be a quick in-and-out shopping experience. A piece of cake.
     As I entered the store, there was an enormous display of crockpots of all makes and sizes. I thought it was weirdly coincidental. But alas, the display lacked liners. But that was okay. I figured they would be in the paper products aisle with the aluminum foil and oven bags. So, I made a beeline for the paper products aisle.
     When I reached the spot where the liners should have been, the shelf was empty. Everything else on that shelf was fully stocked. An employee was behind me.
     I said, “I’m looking for crockpot liners. Do you know if you have any more?”
     She replied, “They took them and put them up front. Look in the baking display.”
     I thanked her and headed for the baking display. There were no liners to be found.
     Another employee asked, “Can I help you?”
     “I’m looking for crockpot liners.”
     “Did you look in the paper products aisle?”
     “Yes. The lady there told me they should be here.”
     “They’re not.”
     Duh. “I know.”
     “Let me see if there are any in back.”
     My mind decided to start singing, The Impossible Dream.

     To dream the impossible dream
     To fight the unbeatable foe
     To bear with unbearable sorrow
     To run where the brave dare not go

     After several minutes, I knew she wasn’t coming back.
     In the meantime, I counted four endcaps that had crockpots on them. Four endcaps! What’s the deal on crockpots? Why was every make and model on sale? Was this God’s way of taunting me? Or was I on an episode of The Twilight Zone?
     I trudged up toward the front of the store. I wasn’t ready to give up yet. They were pushing crockpots hard. Those liners had to be somewhere. And by God, I was going to find them!

     This is my quest
     To follow that star
     No matter how hopeless
     No matter how far

     I approached an older employee who was stocking the Christmas section. She looked as if she was a seasoned employee. No pun intended! And I wanted to slow down Christmas from coming to the store. I mean really! It’s November 2nd. Anyway …
     “Excuse me, can you tell me where the crockpot liners are?”
     “Did you look in the paper products aisle?”
     ”Yes. The lady there told me they were in the baking area. They weren’t.”
     “Hold on. Let me check.”
     She proceeded to use the radio clipped to her blue smock to ask if anyone knew the whereabouts of the crockpot liners.
     The first response: “Check the paper aisle.”
     I sighed heavily.
     The second: “Check the baking display.”
     I rolled my eyes.
     Thirdly: “We’re out. We don’t have any.”
     I threw up my hands in exasperation.
     The radio chatter ceased.
     She said, “Sorry. Guess we don’t have any.”
     I thanked her and walked away. But I was not done yet.

     To fight for the right
     Without question or pause
     To be willing to march into Hell
     For a heavenly cause

     I walked around and searched every single display in the front of the store. And dum-da-da-dum! Success! I found the stupid liners on a display between two registers.

     And the world will be better for this
     That one (wo)man, scorned and covered with scars
     Still strove with her last ounce of courage
     To reach the unreachable star!

     Thrilled with my victory, I skipped back to the lady in the Christmas section. “I found the liners. They’re between two registers two aisles over.”
     She smiled. “Glad you found them.”
     The song, Celebration, by Kool & the Gang, came on the radio on the drive home. I cranked it up and sang along. Hey, I was happy after all of that.
     I walked in the door and proudly handed him the box of liners. “You won’t believe what I had to go through to find these.”
     Sheepishly, he said, “Um. I didn’t wait. I started already without one.”
     Oh, my God! Are you freaking kidding me?
     Without uttering a word, I walked away. At that moment, only extremely colorful language would have come out of my mouth. And being the good Catholic girl that I am, and since today is All Souls Day, I thought it best to keep my mouth shut.

Copyright © 2017 by Suzanne Purewal

With the exceptions of excerpts from “The Impossible Dream”
From the Man of La Mancha
Music by Mitch Leigh, Lyrics by Joe Darion

Halloween

     As I prepared for this Halloween with my significant other, we discussed what we would be handing out to the trick-or-treaters. I have been handing out treats for nineteen years from the same front door. I know what the kids here want. Lynn, on the other hand, decided he had more years under his belt and scoffed at my choices. Continue reading

“Manifesting Destiny” is Released!

Manifesting Destiny final front cover REV C JPEGThe long wait is over! The third and final novel in the Destiny trilogy, Manifesting Destiny, has been released! You fell in love with the characters in Embracing Destiny and Challenging Destiny. Now, it’s time to find out how their stories end!

In the final novel in the series, Sara Taylor’s world is turned upside down again. While searching for clarity on a self-imposed sabbatical, Sara meets a handsome stranger, Phil Potter. He offers her a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for adventure. With nothing left to lose, Sara jumps at the chance.

Through patience and perseverance, Phil tears down the walls Sara has built up. And with his guidance, she has an epiphany about her true calling and how she will make a difference in the world.

Sara realizes she must tie up loose ends, particularly with former lover, Joe Lazaro, before moving on.

Joe Lazaro desperately clings to hope of repairing his relationship with Sara. He will do anything to regain her love and trust.

However, there is unexpected turmoil concerning the Lazaro family that puts all of their lives in jeopardy.

Will the course of events compel Sara to return to her former life? Or will she ultimately choose the newly inspired path to pursue and achieve her dreams?

The answers can only be found in Manifesting Destiny. Click here to buy your copy today!

Booktoberfest Author Fair – November 4th!

2017 Booktoberfest author flyers

Meet and mingle with your favorite local authors! With this diverse literary group, there is something for everyone! Buy personalized, autographed copies of our books for yourself and your family and friends who are book lovers!

There will be chances to win books and prizes. Light refreshments will be served.

I have three new books out this year. So, I hope to see you there!