Monday, 17 April 2006

Painted Eggs

When we were little, my parents used to paint easter eggs - they would be displayed around the house at easter time. I remember spending lots of time with creating designs using a variety of techniques, many of them labour intensive. When I got home from Prague Pops had some out - probably for the first time in 10 years. Mostly my mother's ones. Often with the insides turned into hard balls inside the shell. Many of them not doing too badly considering some of them date back about 35 years.

It was important to have white eggs, so there came a time (on the back of healthy eating consumer preferences when brown was better) that it was virtually impossible to get white eggs and that was when we stopped making them. Techniques used include:
  • drawing a design with ink pen and colouring it in with paint or felt tipped pen
  • making designs from tissue paper stuck on, then varnishing over the top
  • melting wax crayons and building up a picture using dripped coloured wax
  • wax resist - we had a tool for melting wax that could be used to draw onto the shell - anywhere the wax was would not take up colour when the egg was subsequently left in a dye bath. So you could make a design that was white lines and a background colour, or do something all much more complicated - make initial lines, dye the egg, draw on more wax, dye it a darker colour, draw on more wax, dye it a darker colour etc. After you have finished and the dye is dry you gently heat the wax and rub it off as it goes liquid.
  • straight forward painting
  • dye the egg and gently scratch the pattern into the shell with a scapel
  • painting with bleach onto a dyed or brown egg
  • I can't quite remember how we did this one but you could get things (like fern leaves) and wrap the egg in onion skins or with rubber bands(?) and dye them - where the leaf touch the shell it would not get dyed (I'm not remembering this right at all!)

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