Meet Artist Suzanne Walker and Her Exquisite Pysanky Eggs

2017-04-13 19.55.45-1

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.

2017-07-08 11.19.12

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.

2017-07-08 12.06.15

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.

2017-09-26 22.33.26-1

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!

20171209_112305

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

Advertisements

Author, Poet and Humorist, Suzanne Purewal

pg2

     I will be appearing at the 67th Annual Christmas Gift & Hobby Show, at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, West Pavilion, booth #303. I will be signing books every day of the show, running from Wednesday, November 9th through Sunday, November 13th.
     To honor our active duty military members, Veterans and first responders, I am also donating a portion of this month’s book sales’ proceeds to the Save A Warrior Program.

     What can I say about myself that you don’t already know? You know I’m a cancer survivor. I got downsized from my job several years ago. And the trilogy of doom was rounded out with that unexpected divorce.
     But I am still standing, despite the efforts of all of those evil doers! Obviously, I was meant to follow a different path.
     What path that is, I have no clue. There were a few times when I thought I knew. But time after time, I hit a major construction zone and was sent on yet another freaking detour because the bridge was out.
     I hated construction orange before this odyssey began. So imagine how I feel about it when I see it now!
     Portions of this journey have left me exhausted. It’s the nature of the beast. Walking uphill, both ways, in a blinding snow storm will do that to you. So will moving your parents from New York to Florida when you live in Indiana.
     I initially had grand writing plans for this year. But you all know that life happens while you’re making other plans. And that is exactly what happened to me.
     If you missed my posts on my family vacation and moving my parents, then scroll down to read them. You will laugh yourself silly.
     If you are short on time, the gist is that my parents are determined to kill me. And because I am a good daughter, well that and because of Catholic guilt, I let them keep trying.
     But you already knew that I was a glutton for punishment because I persist with online dating.
     But seriously folks, I continue on this strange and unpredictable journey because I can’t wait to see what happens next. And I am hopeful that you will stick around to experience it with me!

Slide1

     Last year, I released my latest romantic suspense novel, Challenging Destiny! It is the sequel to Embracing Destiny. The exciting adventure continues with some of your favorite characters – Sara Taylor, Joe Lazaro, and everyone’s favorite Italian mother, Rose Lazaro.
     Sara Taylor’s life is finally coming together. She feels at peace. However, Joe stumbles across a clandestine operation. Any leak would put him and his loved ones in danger. Still reeling from his discovery, a secret from Joe’s past rears its ugly head. Then the unthinkable happens – the worlds collide. Will this battle bring Sara and Joe closer together? Or will they become collateral damage in the fallout?

cover_master_1 092810

     My first romantic suspense novel, Embracing Destiny, follows Sara Taylor – a woman standing at a crossroad. An unexpected event sets her on a journey. Outside forces intervene, and danger lurks in every shadow.

From_14_to_41_front_cover_092311

     My poetry book, From 14 to 41, contains soulful poems that capture the essence of life. A blend of love, loss, whimsical and inspirational pieces, readers are drawn in as the raw emotions leap from the pages.
     My blog, the one you are currently reading, Pursuing My Passion, is an outlet for my unique storytelling style, sense of humor and sarcastic wit. The most popular posts are from my “Mis-Matched to Miss Matched” dating series. The entries are all true stories based on my online dating adventures.

     In other news, I am the coordinator for the Local Authors’ booth for the Annual Christmas Gift & Hobby Show at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. So, if you are an Indiana author and would like to participate next year, please let me know. As soon as this year’s show closes, I will be accepting applications for next year’s show.

Click here to purchase my books. I can sign and dedicate them prior to shipping. Right now, you can enjoy free shipping! So, get those Christmas gift lists started!

Kindle versions of Embracing Destiny and Challenging Destiny are available on Amazon

You can leave book reviews on:
FB: Suzanne Purewal, Author Page
Goodreads: Suzanne Purewal on Goodreads

The Sound of Silence

P1030771
     Hello, friends! Welcome to another “Mis-Matched to Miss Match” episode. I know you were hoping this would be a good news post because I have not written in some time. Sadly, that is not the case.
     The subject of today’s blog is a handsome 42-year-old professional. He was downright yummy. He was intelligent and funny, and we hit it off wonderfully. At the beginning, he was attentive and eager to please. He even sang to me while we slow danced. I was in heaven. It was a romantic dream come true! Slow dancing and singing! Just imagine it! Continue reading

Not So Helpful Dating Advice

advice

     Hello, friends! As my quest for a boyfriend continues through my “Mis-Matched to Miss Matched” series, many of you have offered well-intentioned advice. I appreciate that you all care enough to make suggestions. However, I believe some of the suggestions are slightly off the mark.
     The most common advice I have received is:
Continue reading

Finding My Way

     The last poem I posted, Harvest Day, was written during the darkest time in my life, my unexpected divorce. That’s right, it was worse than going through cancer. Not to minimize the hell that cancer was, because that ordeal was horrible. I knew I would beat cancer. But I did not think I would survive the divorce. I couldn’t sleep or eat. And although I lost a lot of weight, I do not recommend divorce as a weight-loss program!
     Eventually, I climbed out of the pit of despair and rejoined the land of the living. I wrote Finding My Way during that arduous climb.
Continue reading

Harvest Day

     In honor of National Poetry Month, here is one of the poems I wrote in Fall 2011. I wrote this poem, Harvest Day, on one dark day early in my divorce journey.
Continue reading

The Midwest Blues

     In honor of National Poetry Month, I will post some of my poems.

     This is a poem that I wrote for the Noble Writers’ Group. Each month there is an assignment. This assignment required us to write about a man and a woman meeting for the first time. We also had to use the words airplane, tractor, ocean, city and coast. And for some reason, I wrote it from the man’s point of view. Enjoy!

tractor

The Midwest Blues

While I was riding along on Bessie, my old trusty tractor,
I came across a beauty of a woman. I had to swerve, so I didn’t smack her.
She gasped, “Oh my!” And I pulled over to the side.
She smiled and kindly asked if I could give her a ride.
“Sure ‘nuff. Where to my fine, fair lass?”
“To the closest city where I can order a tall, cool sassafras.”
“I know just the place. It’s up yonder, beyond the hill.”
“Get me there quickly, and I promise you a memorable thrill.”
I threw Bessie into gear and wished she would sprout wings.
Along the way, the temptress whispered in my ear unrepeatable things.
I delivered her as promised to the Land of Good and Plenty Grill and Bar.
After quenching her thirst, she stormed the stage and commandeered a guitar.
She grabbed the microphone and then she did boast
About how big of a music star she was on the West Coast.
“I opened for Jefferson Airplane and was a backup singer for Billy Ocean.
And here I’m stuck in the Midwest amid the cornfields and Amish in Goshen.”
Then she started to sing and her voice was the sweetest I’d ever heard.
And when she strummed the last chord, no one spoke a word.
However, the applause was thunderous and filled her with delight.
She approached me and said, “I promised you an unforgettable night.”
We disappeared and true to her word, for the next hour she rang my bell.
The devil’s in the details. However, a true gentleman doesn’t kiss and tell.

Copyright © 2011 by Suzanne Purewal