Darlene Pierman is the featured guest artist at the Payson Art League meeting Tuesday, April 21 at the Rim Country Health & Retirement Community, 807 W. Longhorn Road. A social reception with refreshments will begin at 6:30 p.m., with the meeting following at 7 p.m. All are invited to attend the meetings and meet other artists and art lovers.
A kistka is Pierman’s tool. An egg is her canvas. Spring is her favorite season. Relatively new to the art of pysanka (Ukrainian Easter egg decorating), Pierman became interested in this Slavic tradition while researching her family tree. While discovering her roots, she learned that Ukrainians are very crafty people. She wanted to unearth that talent in herself. It looked simple enough. If her grandmother could create these eggs by candlelight, surely she could do the same.
Pysanka is created through the batik method of wax resist. The egg is baptized in dyes and then the wax is removed to reveal the design.
Pierman took a three-hour class and learned quickly that it’s not as easy as it looks.
Try putting a symmetrical design on an asymmetrical, three-dimensional medium or drawing even lines on a rough surface that can break at any moment.
She put her kistka down until she moved to Payson about five years ago and found another pysanka maker who lives in Strawberry. She spent a day with Mitzi Paul and a dozen eggs and became hooked again.
This Easter ritual connects Pierman to her ancestors. The egg itself symbolizes new beginnings and transformation. The designs and the colors symbolize various sentiments, that become gifts specifically created for each individual. As she works, the fragile egg cradled in her hands reminds her of life’s fragility and the uniqueness of every living thing. To her, pysanka is much more than a tradition or an art, it’s a meditation that requires intense focus. Like the Buddhist monks who create beautiful sand paintings only to destroy them when they’re finished, she has learned patience and non-attachment.
In January, Pierman competed for the first time in the annual Arizona White House Easter Egg Contest. She came in third with her original depiction of Arizona on an egg. The winner goes to the White House at Easter to represent their state. (You may view all 50 eggs on the White House Web site.) She hopes to place first someday and go back to the D.C. area where she was born and raised to represent the state she loves through the art of pysanky.