Saturday, December 20, 2014


Gigi Koonce cheeks out her progress decorating her pysanky egg during the worship at the Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Goshen on Saturday, April 5, 2014. (J. Tyler Klassen / The Elkhart Truth) (Buy this photo)

Solomia Novachenko, a participant in the pysanky egg decorating workshop Saturday, April 5, 2014, at the Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Goshen, warms a stylist used to put wax on an egg. (J. Tyler Klassen / The Elkhart Truth) (Buy this photo)

Solomia Novachenko checks on the progress of an egg being dyed during the pysanky egg workshop at the Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Goshen on Saturday, April 5, 2014. (J. Tyler Klassen / The Elkhart Truth) (Buy this photo)

Marta Koonce (left) and her daughter, Gigi Koonce, talk as they decorate pysanky eggs at the The Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Goshen on Saturday, April 5, 2014. The church hosted an annual workshop on the traditional way of decorating eggs for the Ukrainian Orthodox Easter. (J. Tyler Klassen / The Elkhart Truth) (Buy this photo)

Christa Alonzo (center) helps her 5-year-old son Christopher Alonzo (left) during the pysanky egg decorating workshop Saturday, April 5, 2014, at the Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Goshen. Alonzo's daughter, Crystal Alonzo, age 8, is at right. (J. Tyler Klassen / The Elkhart Truth) (Buy this photo)

Instructor Lydia Karpenko (right) helps Karen Ditmers with her pysanky egg decorating Saturday April 5, 2014, at the The Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Goshen. The church hosted an annual workshop on the traditional way of decorating eggs for the Ukrainian Orthodox Easter. (J. Tyler Klassen / The Elkhart Truth) (Buy this photo)

Instructor Lydia Karpenko talks about pysanky egg decorating Saturday, April 5, 2014, at the The Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Goshen. The church hosted an annual workshop on the traditional way of decorating eggs for the Ukrainian Orthodox Easter. (J. Tyler Klassen / The Elkhart Truth) (Buy this photo)
Goshen church, Elkhart museum demonstrate Ukrainian Easter egg tradition
Posted on April 5, 2014 at 9:32 p.m.

GOSHEN — An old Ukrainian tradition of decorating Easter eggs with intricate patterns and vibrant bursts of color lives on in Goshen.

Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Church hosted a workshop Saturday, April 5, where Lydia Karpenko taught the art of creating pysanky, Easter eggs decorated using a wax-resist technique.

Molten wax is painted onto the eggs using a stylus and then dipped into dye. Each egg tells a story or symbolizes a Christian theme.

“A lot of the early symbols were symbols from nature,” said Olga Stickel, who helped out at the workshop. “The egg became a sign of rebirth and resurrection, so it was adopted by the Christians as a Christian symbol. These eggs were traditionally given out as gifts.”

Karen Ditmars, who lives near Middlebury, decided to give it a try Saturday.

“Mine has fish and crosses on it,” she said.

Ditmars picked out the designs from a book filled with traditional pysanky patterns provided by Karpenko. Ukrainians in the western part of the country tend to use geometric shapes with their eggs, and people in eastern Ukraine paint more elaborate ornamental designs, Karpenko said.

“Just like the United States, if you go to Georgia or you go to California, there are different foods and cultures,” she said. “That is the same way in Ukraine.”

Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Church, 61314 C.R. 21, will hold a second pysanky workshop from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 12. The event is $15 for adults and $6 for children 12 and younger. To register, call 537-1975 or 707-5728.

Gale Balmer will demonstrate the Ukrainian tradition for free from 1 to 3 p.m. on Palm Sunday, April 13, at the Midwest Museum of American Art, 429 S. Main St. in Elkhart. Balmer’s finished work will be available for purchase.

Follow Elkhart Truth reporter Angelle Barbazon on Twitter at @tweetangelle.