A Glorious Retreat at Pysanky Toronto - Celebrating Ukrainian Pysanky and other modern Batik Egg Art.
During four glorious summer days in August, 90 eager pysanka enthusiasts gathered together in the heart of Canada's largest city for an unforgettable pysanka retreat. Hosted by Kathy from Ukrainian EggCessories, Pysanky Toronto is an immersive event with a full array of workshops, fun-filled activities, and a heartwarming fundraiser – all dedicated to the beautiful folk art of pysanky (Ukrainian Easter eggs). It was also a celebration of community, camaraderie, and shared interests.
Pysanky Toronto 2023 Attendees
The attendees of Pysanky Toronto 2023 were a vibrant blend of talented pysanka writers, enthusiastic hobbyists, and interested newcomers. Their passion for the art form brought an experience to the retreat that's hard to explain, as they diligently worked on their creations, shared techniques, and admired each other's work. Among them were seasoned artists who have spent years perfecting their craft, using traditional methods passed down through generations, as well as innovative creators who are pushing boundaries with modern interpretations and techniques. The common thread that linked them all was their deep appreciation for pysanky and their shared desire to keep this beautiful Ukrainian tradition alive. Their dedication and talent were truly inspirational, making Pysanky Toronto 2023 an event to remember.
From beginners to seasoned artists, each participant found workshops that catered to their skills and interests. 21 workshops took place at Pysanky Toronto 2023 that were comprehensive and engaging, covering a variety of techniques and styles associated with pysanky as well as other batik egg art.
Attendees learned tips and tricks for improving traditional design elements, the stained glass technique, drop pull, how to work with primary colours, as well as Drapanka or scratched eggs, Hutsul pysanky, and Trypillian and sunflower designs, we made eggshell jewelry as well as how to make your dye colours pop. These were just a few of the workshops as we focused on traditional designs, modern interpretations, and even hacks and game changers that showed innovative ways to approach this ancient art form.
We thank all our amazing teachers at the retreat for sharing their knowledge with our group: Shannon Wallis , Susan Jones, Karen Hanlon, Basia Andrusko, Jennifer E Kwong, Theresa Somerset, Natalie K Kit, Nadia Gennings, Mar’yana Svarnyk, Mark E Malachowski, Amelia Randich, Janice Grabler, Genevieve Whiteley, Linda Lishchuk Hupert, and Michael Kealy.
Fun and Games: More than Just Art
Kathy, from Ukrainian EggCessories, was the host of Pysanky Toronto and led some fun games and give-a-ways at the retreat. Her infectious passion for pysanky had everyone full of smiles. These games not only offered a break from the intense concentration required for pysanky but also brought everyone closer together as a group. She also shared a short impromptu presentation on pysanka eggshell dyes that included their history, a reminder of safety first especially when mixing the dyes and fun new colour combinations possible using current Ukrainian EggCessories dyes.
Fundraiser for Ukraine: Supporting Our Fellow Pysankari
Undoubtedly, one of the highlights of the retreat was the Saturday night fundraiser. In honour of Ukraine's Independence Day, we held a special event to raise funds for our fellow pysankari (pysanky artists) back in Ukraine.
The response was overwhelming positive. Led by the spirit of generosity and solidarity, attendees contributed prizes for the fundraiser that filled three tables, and the line up for tickets were long, knowing that every dollar raised would go directly to support pysankari in Ukraine.We are proud to share that we raised over $5000.00 Canadian dollars.
This wasn’t just about financial support. It was about sending a message of solidarity and encouragement to pysankari in Ukraine. It was about letting them know that they are not alone, that there are fellow artists in other parts of the world who appreciate their efforts in keeping this beautiful tradition alive.
The hope is that our small act of support will let those in Ukraine know that their fellow writers in other parts of the world send emotional support and a little financial gift to encourage them to continue practicing and preserving this beautiful tradition of writing pysanky in their homeland.
PT2023 Retreat Team: The Bee-Best Team
We had the best volunteers and helpers to give Pysanky Toronto 2023 a smooth memorable experience for all. Thank-you to Jennifer E Kwong, Irene Chewchuk, Christina Chewchuk, Justine Kobitowich, Sharon Christensen, and all the Verrelli Boys. Thank-you to The George residences downtown Toronto for the wonderful facilities and support, and to Pickle Barrel, Pumpernickel, Natalie's Kitchen and Baby Point Lounge for catering our event.
Conclusion: A Memorable Experience
As the retreat came to a close, it was clear that everyone was returning home with more than just new pysanky skills. They were taking with them wonderful memories, new friendships, and the satisfaction of having contributed to a noble cause.
Pysanky Toronto's retreat was more than just an event; it was a testament to the power of art to unite people, transcend borders, and make a difference. Here's looking forward to next year's retreat with eager anticipation!
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