A Twist on Tradition

Decorated Eggs by New Hampshire Artist Susie Choate

$25 to $270 for larger detailed ostrich eggs. Eggs come with an acrylic stand for display.

Photo by Susan Laughlin.

Susie Choate was immediately drawn to Pysanky, the Ukrainian art of egg decoration. She hated her first egg after a short lesson at the Jaffrey Civic Center but loved the process. Since 2008 she has awakened every morning with a new idea to cover an egg with color and design, with only a nod to tradition.

Choate buys blown-out goose, turkey and quail eggs online and even giant ostrich eggs (the yolk is equivalent to two dozen chicken eggs). She also uses local white and brown chicken eggs, removing the yolk and white with a syringe.

Each color needs a separate dip and dye and application of wax. The wax acts as a resist to the aniline dye, so where she wants black, she dyes the whole egg black, then covers the areas to be black with wax, then "washes back" the remaining

egg surface with a strong detergent. Choate uses electric kistkas to apply fine lines for the wax resist or even a paintbrush for final touches. The tool is a stylus with varied tips that melt wax. She can also get blended colors with a paintbrush for a realistic design as opposed to traditional Ukrainian eggs that are strictly colorful, flat patterns, many very intricate. One of her favorites is the red willow design shown here.

Choate etches some eggs with a mild acid resulting in a white-on-ivory design, like the one shown here. She also etches brown eggs for a subtle pattern of white, brown and a touch of red. Find her work at Sharon Arts Center.

Susie Choate
(603) 732-3367

Sharon Arts Center
20-40 Depot St.
(603) 924-2787

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