RIDGWAY — A spring class in Ridgway is putting an exciting spin on traditional egg dying and decorating, just in time for Easter.
Shandra Wilson, who is from McKean County, is a member of the Wilds Cooperative of Pennsylvania with the Elk County Council on the Arts (ECCOTA). She hosts “Pysanky by Shandra” classes in several areas.
Pysankas are Ukranian Easter eggs, and the word derives from the verb “to write” or “to scribe.”
A “Spring Pysanky Class” will be held Saturday, March 16 from 10 a.m. to noon at the ECCOTA in Ridgway.
“Pysanky are created by applying layers of wax and dyes to clean egg shells,” the ECCOTA Facebook page says. “In this course, you will use these traditional techniques to make hand-decorated eggs, perfect to decorate your home or pass along as a gift.”
In old traditions, people believed the eggs possessed magical powers, and when given them as a gift, were blessed with good luck, Wilson said.
“Writing Pysanky is a family tradition on my mother’s side of the family, passed down from her mother’s family,” Wilson said. “I’ve been decorating pysanky since I was 5 years old, so for more than 30 years.”
Wilson has been teaching Pysanky classes for about seven or eight years, she said.
The art of pysanky used to be passed down from mother to daughter privately, she adds.
“Now, pysanky artists are happy to share their love of psyanky decorating, methods and traditions with the community,” she said. “These classes are a great chance for people who have maybe seen pysanky, but don’t know the traditions, or those who have always been curious or just love to try new crafts and get a taste of the process.”
Since the eggs were traditionally shared at Easter time, it’s the perfect time to introduce this craft, Wilson says.
The class will include history on pysanky, Wilson said, as well as basic methods used to decorate the eggs, such as applying layers of wax and dye to the eggs.
The cost is $30 for ECCOTA members, and $45 for nonmembers, which includes an annual membership. Advanced registration and payment is required. All materials and instruction are provided.
ECCOTA is located at 237 Main Street in Ridgway. Call 814-772-7051 with questions or visit www.eccota.com to register.