Winner of the 2000
Extravagant Emu Egg Contest
Egg Artist Patty Wiszuk-De Angelo incorporates traditional
pysanky symbolism with original designs in her creations.
She tells us that she became involved in egging through a combination of birth, chance, and choice.
of Ukrainian descent (my grandparents were born in
Ukraine) pysanky has always been in my life. My mother, a life long
portrait artist, taught me the technical skills and my father supplied the
tradition of a 4,000 year old art form."
For any artistic person, finding the right medium for
expression is a journey. Patty’s road lead her from pen & ink
and pastel drawings to stained glass designing, and finally to pysanky and egg
Recently she began experimenting with etched Emu eggs.
Her latest Emu egg is titled "Ukrainian Cossack" “I wanted to
use original designs while still incorporating Ukrainian themes. What attracted
me to etching is the pureness of the process. Unlike the many steps required to
create pysanky I see etching as comparable to sculpting. The artist is in
constant contact with the object. It adds an intimate quality to the design. “
Patty went on to tell us that she was also intrigued by the
uniqueness of the emu egg itself. “The darkness of the shell eliminated the
possibility of utilizing the wax and dye coloring method of pysanky. Still, I
wanted to approach the egg as a pysanky artist. To create the Ukrainian Cossack
I decided to employ the different hued layers of the emu shell itself. Using a
kistka, the traditional tool of pysanky, I drew the design free hand in wax
lines and then dipped the egg into an acid bath until I obtained the desired
The other emu egg displayed here was done the same way, using
kistka and was, but because Patty wanted to see if the dark eggshell would take
some color she applied Pysanky Showcase Dyes to the egg with a brush.
Since the dye is not as thick as paint, it took a long time to finish, but as
you can see, the egg came out beautifully. Patty tells us that although
she now knows that she can apply color to emu eggs, she will not be covering the
entire egg. “I think the emu egg stands alone on it’s own beauty, with
its layers of color.”
She is already planning her next emu egg. “This time
I'm going to try to take it down to the white of the shell. If I was carving
that would not be a problem, you have complete control when you carve, you can
stop and go, do little spots at a time, but with the acid, the whole egg goes in
at once, so I have to be VERY careful that a small pitted spot on the egg
doesn't get eaten through before the rest of the shell. That's why when I start
out, before I even begin to draw out my design in the wax, I go over the entire
shell, and with the kistka. I plug up all the little pitted spots on the shell,
and obviously there are many!”
"Winning first prize in the Emu's Zine Egg contest this
year is a great honor to me. Art must continually be in a state of growth and I
look at etching eggs as an extension of my pysanky and a continuation of my
Visit Patty’s website, Pysanky Showcase for more
information on this unusual and ancient art form.