About the film:
A plain white egg encounters numerous beautiful and fragile, decorated eggs. The decorated eggs can dance and tumble in space, while the plain egg can only dream of such feats. After sliding and rolling through this fantastical world of dancing Pysanky, the plain egg risks becoming a decorated egg, too, and can finally lift off into the ovoid.
Directed, written, and produced by
Videography and Animation
Ukrainian eggs come about through a batiking process (wax resist and dyes) on whole eggs. These batik eggs are called pysanky . A single batik egg is a pysank a . My pysanky have a wide range of patterns, colors, and themes. It takes some planning to cover one color after the next, light to dark, with wax; you can’t see what the egg will look like until you finally melt off the wax after applying the last color. I blow out the completed eggs, hang them on a string, and usually varnish them.
I have over 200 batik eggs in egg cartons. They’re fragile. When people see them, they turn them around in their hands. They tell me I should find a way to exhibit them. But how can I display them from all angles, hands free?
Movie. I have outlined a narrative for a short film: Into the Ovoid, an Ovella . Expected length: about 15-20 minutes. The story will explore some of my best eggs and include a time-lapsed demonstration of the entire pysanky creation process.
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.
Surround-around patterns and color
Batik eggs are an oddly impractical medium, but this process on an ovoid shell uniquely generates designs that can’t easily be created any other way. I’ve enjoyed deviating wildly from traditional patterns to explore all kinds of different design ideas and push the limits of batik.
- Lines and curves intersecting the latitudes and longitudes of the egg
- Dividing the egg surface into prime numbered sections
- Playing with fractals or a fibonacci sequence
- Capturing strange shapes from nature or other folk art, such as quilts and tattoos
To see patterns and colors unfold across the eggshell, you have to turn the egg around on more than one axis. Viewing one side, you might see a radiating pattern.
But from another side, it’s a different effect.
Here’s another example with the difference between an equatorial view and a polar view, but from another side, it’s a different effect:
Here’s another example with the difference between an equatorial view and a polar view:
When I wrote a script outline and started a storyboard for the film, I got stuck on the title frames because I couldn’t find a font that looked eggy. So I created a font where the glyphs fit, roughly, to an egg shape.
Creative technologist, and successful kickstarter project creator Kathryn Rotondo helped get me started digitizing the font.