Amateur artist Samuel Brozina prepares for Easter as he sets to work on his latest piece of traditional Ukrainian folk art.
Taking up the hobby and interest as a child, more than two decades on, Samuel Brozina remains passionate about traditional Ukrainian folk art. With Easter now on the approach, Brozina, who’s from the New Jersey city of Millville, explains more about the art form known as pysanka.
“For my family and myself, pysanka decorating is an Easter tradition,” Brozina explains, “and me and my father, in particular, thoroughly enjoy the process each year.”
Pysanka are Ukrainian Easter eggs decorated with traditional folk designs, most commonly completed using what’s known as a wax-resist method. The name comes from the Ukrainian verb pysaty—meaning to inscribe—which reflects the way in which designs are inscribed onto pysanka with beeswax.
Samuel Brozina, Millville, NJ, is a licensed pilot and lifelong resident of the popular Garden State city, located in Cumberland County, New Jersey. Brozina currently works as a landscaping service foreman and is a keen hobby artist in his free time.
Samuel credits his passion for traditional Ukrainian Easter egg decoration with teaching him patience and helping him to develop a steady hand – something vital in his life as a licensed pilot. “It’s also a creative outlet and a relaxing hobby,” adds New Jersey native Brozina, “and brings me closer to the roots of the Ukrainian side of my family.”
In Ukraine, pysanka are a staple of traditional Easter baskets, according to Samuel Brozina, Millville, NJ. The decorated eggs and other traditional items are included in Easter baskets which are then delivered to a local church in order to be blessed. Easter this year falls on Sunday, April 12. “It’s quite a time-consuming process, decorating pysanka,” explains Brozina, “so it’s important that we make a start well before Easter Sunday!”
The process, he says, involves dipping the eggs in a dye bath after they’ve been inscribed with wax. The areas covered by wax do not, he reveals, absorb the color. “After several steps of inscribing and dyeing, all of the wax is melted away to reveal the pattern underneath,” adds the expert. “While my father tends to stick with more traditional designs,” he continues, “I love to let my creativity flow to create pysanka which reflect my personal tastes and favorite aspects of traditional Ukrainian folk art.”
Samuel Brozina hopes to have his latest pysanka completed by the end of March, ready to be blessed by his local church well ahead of Easter weekend. “I’m also an active member of my church year-round,” he adds, wrapping up, “where I thoroughly enjoy singing bass in the choir.”