Did you ever see a pysanka? They are Ukranian Easter eggs, and they are something to behold. Decorated in traditional folk designs using a wax-resist method, they take hours to create, and the results are stunning.
Daria Bonomini of Highland Lakes is a Ukrainian native who has created these eggs since she was 12 years old. She now sells them and teaches classes about how to make them.
“My parents were from Ukraine, and after World War II, I was born in a DP Camp in Germany,” she said. “We were all refugees whom no one wanted after the war. We ended up coming to live in a Ukrainian community in Passaic, where all of the old country traditions were continued.”
Bonomini’s father would regale her with stories of Ukraine. “He had talked about it to me all of my life,” she said, “so in 2012, I finally traveled there, and I have to say it had all of the beauty, tradition and charm that he had described to me.”
The thought of what’s going on in her homeland now sickens her.
“It hurts so much to see my people brutalized the way they have been and to hear of body pieces and parts everywhere,” she said as her voice choked up.
But then, as she spoke of carrying on the tradition of the Easter eggs and of her granddaughter, Zoe Sweetman, she brightened.
“I taught her to make the eggs when she was six years old, and she teaches classes with me,” Bonomini said.
Zoe attends Sussex County Votech, where she studies art.
“She’s such an amazing artist and a straight A student, and I’m so proud of her,” Bonomini said. “She recently showed me a picture of a dog she drew, and I thought it was a photograph it was so good.”
Not just chicken eggs
Bonomini’s art starts with an egg, but not hard boiled. It can be a chicken egg, turkey egg, goose egg, emu egg, or swan egg. She’s currently is finishing an ostrich egg.
“A certain woman has been following my progress on that one, and it is so time-intensive that it will sell for about $350,” Bonomini said.
Her chicken eggs sell for about $25.
Special dyes are applied with a special stylist that’s actually a funnel, starting with white; moving to yellows, oranges, blues, greens, and other colors; then ending with black. A chicken egg takes at least four hours.
“The final color is always black,” she said, “And then comes the fun part: you melt off the wax.”
Sometimes, it’s not so fun. In rare cases there’s a hairline crack, and the egg blows up in your hands. But most times what is revealed is eye-popping.
“With all of the horrible things going on in the Ukraine currently, it’s nice to showcase one of their beautiful traditions this Easter,” Bonomini said.
“In 2012, I finally traveled there, and I have to say it had all of the beauty, tradition and charm that he had described to me.” Daria Bonomini