||Kistka (sing pr: keest'-ka)
Kistky (pl pr: keest'-keh)
|It consists of a metal cup with a very small hole
in the bottom. Below are shown 2 design types.
The traditional style tip is inexpensive, but the tip after a short period
of time tends to deform. However, there is still a high demand for
well made traditional style kistky. Our artist Olena has custom made traditional
kistky exclusively made for her by craftsmen in the area around Kosiv.
She uses nothing else. The handle is also prone to ignition, so many artist
opt to dipping the kistka in a molten pot of wax, rather than using
a candle flame. The modern machined type Delrin handle kistka is
designed with a brass cup and a precision exit hole. They typically come
in 3 sizes: Small , Medium and Heavy; describing the line of wax each kistka
can produce. The design prevents the transfer of heat to the handle, which
allows the cup to stay hot longer and prevents damage to handle. Our artist
Irena uses these types of kistka and has good success. A variation
on this design is the electric kistka, virtually the tip made to fit onto
an electric soldering iron. They are expensive and are good to use in areas
where a flame may not be permitted or outside where a candle just won't
work. We don't sell them because of the price and we feel that you
can achieve the same if not better results with the Delrin design.
All kistky work by the same principal of capillary
action. We recommend for a beginner to use a medium Delrin kistka.
It provides very good results in controlling the application of wax with
a low frequency of clogging.
Foil , such as copper or brass rolled to form a cone with a fine tip.
Machined brass cup with a precision hole. High temperature Delrin plastic
, a natural substance is used as the resist agent in this batik
process. Beeswax is a great sealant at room temperature. It melts
easily in a typical candle flame (1300 -1400 deg F) at a temperature of
about 150 deg F and solidifies quickly when it cools. Fresh beeswax is
white, clear when it is heated, making it difficult to see on a white
egg. Beeswax will turn black in a candle flame, but not consistently.
The beeswax we sell, has a black colorant added and it is very black.
Although originally created for an electric kistky, this wax is also very
helpful for use with standard kistky. Other waxes do not work as well.
Paraffin is a petroleum distillate, containing as much as 3% oil
and a wide melting range of 120 to 160 deg F. Candle making wax has
other ingredients such as tallow and impurities that affect the melting
point, increase flammability and may clog your kistka. I tried some candle
wax from a candle making kit one time. When I was making a bleached egg,
the wax completely dissolved when immersed in the bleach bath, totally
destroying hours of work. Best to stick with pure beeswax for use
in your kistka. We sell it in 1 oz blocks or formed into a string for easy
filling of your kistka.
|The egg, a Pysanky artist's canvas. Specifically
shell. Choose your egg shells wisely. Best place to get
your eggs are from free-range chickens. If you can find someone who
has chickens, perhaps you can trade them one of your future masterpieces
for some eggs. Shells from free roaming chickens are generally thicker.
Store bought eggs are usually produced in a factory like environment, chemically
washed and tend to have more surface imperfections. If you can find
a farmer that will sell you some eggs, ask them not to wash them. This
will immediately shock them, but explain that you want no soap film and
cleaned with only light hand washing and only with plain water. The
dyes you will use will only penetrate a thin film on the outside of the
egg. If this surface is removed by harsh washing or scratched , then these
imperfections will show up when the dye is applied or the dye will not
penetrate at all. However, if can't find these types of eggs, the grocery
store will do. Choose the medium to large grade of eggs. The shells will
be better. You also need to find eggs that have no cracks. It is
difficult to see the cracks and they are usually not apparent under normal
light. However, if you place the egg up to a strong desk lamp or
window as shown below, they are easily seen. I do not recommend
grading eggs across several cartons of eggs in your grocery store and there
may be some laws against doing this .However I have noticed that the lighting
at most dairy cases are very good , especially after midnight.
You can also blow out and clean your eggs before you use it for Pysanky.
We sell an excellent egg
blower. This has the advantage of guaranteeing that you have
a good egg before doing all the time consuming work. I have also
found that it gives you more freedom to start and stop whenever you choose.
If you use a full egg, the clock is ticking when it comes out of the refrigerator.
The design should really be finished in a few days for the best results.
After that , the gasses inside the egg start to build pressure and can
affect the dye process. Also remember that if you use full eggs,
to let them sit out before you start, and don't boil them. Depending
on the humidity and temperature, water may condense on the outside of the
eggs, causing the dyes to run and the wax to not stick. Another advantage
to using blown eggs is that when you do find a source for good eggs, you
can get several dozen. Then, process them all at once, blowing
them out clean and use them the entire year when you need them. However,
for the beginner, when designs are simple, full eggs are much easier to
handle. Also, don't limit yourself to only chicken eggs, there are
duck, goose, turkey, Ostrich, cockateal and don't pass up those brown eggs.
|The original dyes in Ukraine were made from items
found in nature, such as roots, berries, vegetable skins and minerals.
Modern day artists use pre-packaged aniline
dyes which yield much brighter colors than their natural predecessors.
One drawback is that they do make the egg contents toxic.Therefore, any
full egg that has been dyed in an aniline dye should NEVER
be eaten. I have tried using other sources of dye like "RIT", but
had no success. If you want to eat the eggs, I would suggest that
your efforts would be better spent using boiled eggs, plain food
color dye and wax crayons to create an Easter Egg. The aniline dyes
are for making real Pysanky and are very vivid and permanent. When
you prepare your dyes, do it the night before and read the directions on
the dye packets. Each one is different and require different ingredients.
I would suggest using distilled water, which can be purchased at your local
grocery store and white distilled vinegar. Buy a gallon of the vinegar,
it has many other uses in this art that we will discuss later.
|You need some type of flame to be able to heat your kistka and melt
the wax. A candle is just the ticket. No electricity or batteries
required. The candle is probably what ancient Ukrainians used and
that is what I recommend. Of course, it is an open flame and you must take
precautions as you would burning any other candle in your home. I
like a good sturdy candle stick holder with a wide base. (like the one
shown to the left). Its not easy to tip over and provides a nice safe place
to hold my hot kistky. I also recommend cutting your candles in half. This
makes the flame lower to the work surface and easier on the shoulder. Most
any taper will do. I buy my candles at the dollar store (3/$1) and they
work fine. A good practice is always to blow out the candle when
you leave the table.
||Yes, you will need a pencil. Its not cheating, even great Pysanky artists
still use pencils. Although, I would recommend spending a little
more and getting a mechanical pencil. It will keep the point and you can
adjust the length of the lead. No 2 or harder softness. The lighter the
line the better. You can buy these at most office supply stores,
found in the drafting tools section. Art's crafts stores also carry a wide
variety of these.
|Distilled white vinegar. Just go ahead and buy a gallon. What you don't
use , go ahead and make some pickled eggs. (Pickled
egg recipes) You need this to make the dyes and as a solvent
to pre clean your eggs prior to dying. You should be able to find this
at most any grocery store. .
WIDE MOUTH JARS
|Wide mouth canning jars. Get a dozen, don't forget the lids and
keep the box too. If you don't want to do Pysanky for awhile, seal the
jars tight, pack all the dyes back in the box and put it in the back
of closet somewhere. Make sure they are made for canning. If so ,they
will be tempered to take the high temperatures when making the dyes. They
are not that expensive and no one would want to save a few bucks and have
scalding hot black aniline dye running all over your kitchen counter or
floor. Don't be foolish, buy the correct jars. One package of dye makes
1-1/2 cups, which would require pint jars. I always make double the
amount,using quart jars. You can only fit about 1 egg in a pint jar, but
at least 3 eggs in the quarts. Something to think about
if you are planning a Pysanky party.
|These are very sharp little knives and come in handy for several purposes
making Pysanky. You can use it to cut up your beeswax, trim your candle
or remove blobs (explanation later in this class). You can find them at
all hobby stores, made by several different manufacturers and in most home
improvement and hardware stores. Be careful with this and keep it away
from small kids. Keep it away from teenagers too. My son carved all
my candles into totem poles at an out door festival last year.
|This is a big drafting eraser. You can find them at most office supply
stores, craft and art shops. It is used ONLY at the very
end of the process to remove any remaining pencil marks that may be showing
in white areas on the egg. Regular pencil erasers don't do as clean a job
as these "professional" erasers do.
|Seen these before? Can't find them in your local office supply
store. No sir, these are only found in your local supermarket fresh vegetable
isle. Yes its a broccoli rubber band. They are the perfect size and shape.
I have looked everywhere to buy these and the only place that I can find
them is in the supermarket. Don't like broccoli? Well, you could
case the vegetable isle everyday after work until one pops loose on the
floor and you could inconspicuously stuff it into your sock. Perhaps
even beg the vegetable clerk for one. Better yet, just eat
some broccoli, its very good for you and lowers your chance for colon cancer
from what I have heard.
|Sooner or later your kistka is going to clog. There are techniques
for clearing it , but sometimes they just don't work and you will need
some wire. You will need wire about .005 to .010 inch thick wire and stiff
enough to push out a clog. Where can you find something like that?
Perhaps a hobby or craft store might have something. We actually give away
this type wire free, for the asking, with any purchase.
|Some people like to use paper towels. I disagree. I think single ply
Scott paper tissue works the best for all things. Paper towels and
quilted ,multi-ply tissue contain quite a bit of lint. It eventually collects
on your wax and ends up in the kistka, creating these awful clogs. No fun.
Best to just keep a roll handy. Just remember to replace any borrowed rolls.
|These are stainless steel slotted serving spoons. We use them for dipping
the eggs in the dye. The holes allow the dye to leak back into the jar,
saving you precious dye. I would get maybe 2 or 3 of these and you
can find them in most department stores for a buck or two.
|In Ukraine, we have found that most artists do not varnish their Pysanky.
Our on-staff artists have been using a little linseed oil to protect their
finished works. However, this may be due more to the lack of quality
varnishes and polyurethane's. As Ukraine's economy grows, that may change
in the near future. Myself, I have always used an oil based polyurethane.
Never use a water-based coating. My niece shrieked when my brother dunked
her first Pysanky in a can of water-based polyurethane. We all watched
her very first egg design dissolve into a completely white egg. I prefer
the semi-gloss, however, if you want that high shine glass look, I would
suggest using a high-gloss grade. As always read the label and take
precautions. Keep it away from children. Use disposable gloves and
make sure that you are in a well ventilated area away from pilot lights
or open flames. We also have great tips on applying your varnish,
which we will share later on in this course.
|If you are going to varnish the eggs, you will need to protect your
skin. You can use either Latex Gloves or Disposable Plastic Gloves. I would
reccomend the least expensive disposable gloves that you can find. Try
your dollar store or home improvement center. Better to use a new pair
everytime, rather than contaminate the polyurathane or mark the egg.