Kraslice-decorated Easter eggs are the
main decorative element of the Easter season. We decorate them in all the
different ways we can think of. How did our grandparents decorate their Easter
eggs? In each part of Slovakia they used certain technique to decorate the
Easter eggs. It was mainly waxing, batik, etching, scratching, pasting, wiring
and to lesser extend also making wooden eggs, blowing eggs from glass and
In most cases the egg white and egg yolk were blown out from egg and only the
shell was decorated. First we submerge the empty eggs in a mixture of water
and little bit of vinegar for about five minutes. After that we blow the
excess water out from the shell and we dry them thoroughly.
WAXING technique is not too common, but it is very impressive: we melt the bees
wax in a small container over a lit candle, as it needs to have a constant
temperature while applying. Bees wax can be colored with aniline colors or we
can also melt some wax crayons directly. The ornamental elements are created
with the help of a pin with round head pinned to a chopstick or a pencil. This
technique was widely used in northeastern part of Slovakia. These days can be
also found in villages around Prievidza and Bratislava.
BATIK is the most used technique. Patterns are created with a pin or a small
tube. After that boiling or just dipping in the color solution dyes the egg.
After that the egg is warmed up and the wax is wiped off with a soft cloth and
the white ornaments appear on the single colored ground. After the color sets
dry, another layer of the wax can be applied on the latest color coating to
prevent the areas under color from being colored again. This procedure is
repeated several times, starting with the lightest color and continuing to the
ETCHING was used mainly in the regions characteristic with rich embroideries and
wall paintings. This technique isnít used very wide. Vinegar or juice from
sauerkraut would be applied to colored egg with a match, pen, or a guill-pen
as the traditional etching agent. Later on they started to use nitric acid or
hydrochloric acid. Kraslice made by etching were always just one color.
SCRATCHING was used from the second half of the 19th century. Ornamental motive
patterns in the form of tiny sticks are scratched on colored egg with the help
of a point of knife, razor, file, and needle or with an awl. This technique
was used in the western part of Slovakia, now it is mainly used in villages
near Poprad and Povazska Bystrica.
PASTING was spread at the end of the 19th
century mainly in the
vicinities of towns. Rush, barley or oat straws, textiles, wool, or yam were
pasted on egg with the help of thin dough, glue, or starch. White rush-pulp or
swamp grass was pasted in spirals on egg Rush was combined with colorful
laces, embroidery yarn, or with a floral design textile. Dipping the rush in
color solution made dyed rush and it was used mostly in the Kysuce region and
in western Slovakia. White rush was used mostly in the Trencin
district. In Vajnory near Bratislava dyed wool textile of pulp of grass were
pasted on eggs to give them shape of a bird. Its head was made from dough and
fixed to a hole made in the eggshell, wings and tail were made from paper with
folds. Decorating with straw was used at first only in western part of
Slovakia. Now the technique is also used in districts of Prievidza and Galanta.
a technique used in the firs half of the 20th century and it has come back
recently. It wasn't very widespread. The eggs decorated with wire were common
in the northern and eastern part of Slovakia where the people were engaged in
wirework. Smith journeymen showed their skills in hand forging the eggs with
wire in shapes of hearts, lines, horseshoes, etc. Kraslice decorated with wire
were found in the regions of Hont, Novohrad and Gemer, localities where many
WOOD were made by skilled
craftsmen in some regions (Bardejov).
FROM GLASS are made by means of blowpipe were
made mainly in the regions with glass-works such as Lucnec,
Lednicke Rovne and surrounding areas. Kraslice from glass can now only be
seen in the museums and aren't made anymore.
TO EASTER TRADITIONS
TO FOLK CUSTOMS
Bibliography: Slovenske Kraslice, Adam and
Elena Pranda, Vvdavatelstvo Osveta. 1994 ISBN 80-217-0264-9
Published in the
Slovak Heritage Live newsletter Volume 7, No. 1, Spring 1999
Copyright © Vladimir Linder 1999
3804 Yale Street, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada V5C 1P6
The above article and photographs may not be copied, reproduced, republished,
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