This journey began when I was a 19-year-old art student working little jobs and babysitting for a family friend to make ends meet. I'd put her son to bed and note she never left the house. She would sneak off into the basement which naturally piqued my curiosity. Today I can still remember her sitting in the dark, by the light of a flame, working with tools foreign to me. Moved that I was awed and interested, she invited me to sit next to her and she patiently taught me a new drawing skill. She explained that this skill is typically passed down from mother to daughter in Slavic cultures. It was harder than she made it look, but she assured me that what mattered more was doing it, practicing, and passing it on. I knew immediately the batik-process of drawing on eggs would be something I'd dedicate my life's work to.
In between writing papers and painting still lifes, I'd always make time to work on eggs. In my many dorm rooms and apartments, friends and roommates would gather in the spring to learn. Years later, with encouragement, I decided to teach a workshop to the public and it sold out in minutes. I'd come to learn that during the World Wars, families made their way to the United States, sometimes leaving their loved ones and traditions behind. The next generation was looking for any opportunity to reconnect with their heritage. I had no idea until I started teaching how privileged I was to have been taught such a desired art process as an outsider.
March is a highly anticipated month when I travel up and down the East Coast to intimate spaces, museums, galleries and libraries, to pass on this meditative art form. It's been a tremendous honor to teach and encourage thousands of people through the years (especially for those who arrive in beautiful embroidered heirlooms!). These carefully hosted and facilitated workshops encourage meaningful conversation around family history and this ancient art. All participants continue to leave these communal workshops and demonstrations with a deeper understanding of the history, the culture, the art, and themselves.
Pysanky is typically associated with the spring when ancient people worked hard to survive and used the pysanka in mystical and magical rites to honor the life giving energy of the sun. Pysanky are blessed objects and benevolent talismans. I consider myself a batik egg artist and my work batik eggs in respect of those who belong to this culture. My imagery is untraditional, I blow out its contents, and I work on eggs for most of the year. My work and themes have evolved to become more personally symbolic and reference the natural world, femininity, metamorphosis, motherhood, regeneration and rebirth.