WASHINGTON — The Gibbs Library, 40 Old Union Road, features works of Ukrainian folk art by Lois Eastman, including an exhibit of the process and materials used to create pysanky eggs, throughout May and June.
Eastman’s interest in art began in childhood. She started doing pysanky at the age of five. Growing up in a family that included her grandparents, she was surrounded by family members engaged in a variety of Old World art forms and traditions.
“Every year before Easter, my mother, my aunts, various cousins and I would gather at my grandmother’s kitchen table to make pysanky,” Eastman said. “We were taught the ‘pin-drop-pull’ technique, which involved sticking a common pin on a candle, dipping the hot tip into a cake of beeswax, then dropping the tip onto the candle. egg and draw a teardrop shape. We could change the color of the patterns by dipping the eggs in colored dyes, lined up along the shelves in my grandmother’s pantry.
Eastman said it was still a big production and a lot of fun. “Everyone enjoyed the company, the food, the laughs, the teasing and the polka music in the background,” she said.
Although she spent her childhood in New Hampshire, she later moved to Newport, RI where she established a photography studio. She then moved to Maine and enjoyed a 20-year career as a high school art teacher. She now resides in Rockland where she continues to create art.
The Ukrainian belief is that as long as pysanky are made, goodwill prevails over evil.
“This year, when Russia attacked Ukraine just before Easter, I felt immense sadness and compassion for the Ukrainian people. I could imagine families seeing their homes destroyed with all the beautiful pysanky and other heirlooms that had been carefully preserved for generations,” she said. “A week later, the opportunity arose to exhibit works of art at the Gibbs Library. Most parts are for sale. A percentage of each sale will be donated to Ukrainian aid.
For library hours, visit gibbslibrary.org or call (207) 845-2663.
First Friday at Farnsworth returns June 3