About Tina Brand

I was born in Lübeck, Germany. When I was 2 years old, my family emigrated from post-war Germany under the sponsorship of the International Rescue Committee. We settled in the Twin Cities, Minnesota, where my father taught medical school and ran a cancer research lab together with my mother. We returned to Germany several times for short periods and I attended public school both there and in the US. After earning a BA in Art History and German at the University of Minnesota, I earned an MA in German at Princeton University. I wrote a dissertation on paintings in German literature but did not defend it. Instead, I caught the high technology wave and moved to Boston where I earned a certificate in electronics at the Women’s Technical Institute and then worked in hardware and software development until 2013. Most recently I was an information developer at Oracle, but decided to retire early because I came to find the sedentary stasis of computer work intolerable.

For several years I served on the board of the Center for New Words, and am dedicated to causes fighting for equality for women and girls. From early childhood I have been involved with painting and drawing, and making Ukrainian batik eggs every Spring. I played violin and viola during my school years. As an adult I studied oboe for several years, and most recently I’ve begun learning to play the cello. I live with my partner of many years and enjoy the company of a wonderful circle of close friends.

How to make a Pysanka

When you create a batik egg, you lay down melted beeswax on a whole egg that is either its natural color or dyed another color. You apply the wax with a heated metal funnel to create a pattern of lines on the eggshell. The sequence of dye baths is generally light (yellow) to dark (brown or black), with blues, greens, reds, pinks, and purples in between. The color you cover with a wax line resists all other dyes. When you are done, you melt off the wax and finally get to see the mulit-colored pattern you created.

For a long time I made fairly traditional looking eggs by using a vocabulary of symbols that originated in pagan times and then became associated with easter. But in time I began seeing the batik egg as an art form that can express vastly more than religious symbols. All year long I mull over patterns that I think would look good on an egg. The world around me is often my inspiration. But sometimes a pattern arises organically out of a few initial marks. Infinite colors and shapes can arise out of a few simple lines circling the egg.

This is a seasonal art because birds mostly lay eggs in spring, the days are getting longer, and the weather is still cool, so an egg doesn’t rot from being covered in hot wax over many hours of work.