Home | Search | The Artists | Teaching | Hiring | About This Site | Contact Us


Betty Piso Christenson

Ukrainian Eggs
Suring, WI


Drop-pull technique: A simple way of decorating Ukrainian Easter eggs. Wax is “dropped” on an egg and then quickly pulled into a tail shape using a straight pin.
Fertility: (sounds like, fur-TIL-uh-tee) The ability to reproduce.
Kistka: (sounds like, KITS-ka) A stick, about the size of a pencil, with a metal funnel at one end, used to apply melted wax to an egg.
Krizanky: (sounds like, cry-ZAN-key) Ukrainian Easter eggs decorated by using pulled wax and dyes.
Lent: The six weeks before Easter.
Pysanky: (sounds like, pie-ZAN-key) Ukrainian Easter eggs decorated by using wax and dyes to make traditional symbols.
Ukrainian: (sounds like, you-CRAY-nee-in) From Ukraine, a country in Eastern Europe.

back to top

Journal Questions

QuestionDoes your family have special Easter traditions? Or, does your family where the adults hide something and the kids have to find it? 

QuestionHas an older person in your family taught you how to do something special? 

QuestionHave you ever seen something and wondered how it was made? Describe that experience. If you ever found out how it was made, tell the details of how you found out. 

QuestionHave you ever decorated eggs? What tools did you use? What were the steps in your process? 

QuestionHave you ever tried to blow out an egg? Was it easy or hard? 

QuestionDo you know someone who does their art in only one time of the year? 

back to top

Resources For Teachers

Web ResourceUkrainian Egg-Cessories has two egg posters that you can download and print out on a color printer.

Web ResourceHow to Make Ukrainian Easter Eggs (Pysanky) has five black and white drawings of pysanka that can be printed and used as coloring pages.

Web ResourceStepping Out in Chicago is produced by the Chicago Public Schools. This page features the Ukrainian National Museum of Chicago and has three links to worksheets for students.

Web ResourceKinderArt offers “Egg-citing,” a lesson plan for using modified wax resist egg decorating techniques with young children.

Web ResourceThe Ukrainian Museum in New York has an on-line slide show of pysanky that includes eggs decorated with traditional motifs and eggs with very contemporary re-interpretations of the tradition. Use these images with your students to discuss how artists can re-interpret traditional art forms.

Web ResourceBlue Skies offers an excellent series of articles on Ukrainian history in Ukraine and in Canada (much of which parallels Ukrainian immigration history in the United States).

Book ResourceThe March 2002 issue of FACES student magazine features Ukraine. See an outline of the issue, and a teacher’s guide for using it with your class.

back to top

Resources For Students

Web ResourceBetty was named a National Heritage Fellow in 1996 by the National Endowment for the Arts. Who else from Wisconsin has been honored as a "national artistic treasure"?

Web ResourceThe Ukrainian Gift Shop is a family-run business in Minneapolis. Find out more about pysanky, and three generations who love this art form!

Web ResourceYou can see other examples of Ukrainian-style art by looking at the on-line collections of the Ukrainian Museum of Canada.

Web ResourceWant to see a giant pysanka? Visit this site to see the five thousand pound egg sculpture in Vegreville, Alberta, Canada, home to many Ukrainian Canadians. Click on the picture to find out more!

Web ResourceGo here to discover Basic Facts about Ukraine.

Does your library have these books?

Book ResourceThe Bird’s Gift: A Ukrainian Easter Story
By Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated by Katya Krenina, 1999. 28pp.

Book ResourceRochenka’s Eggs
By Patricia Polacco, Putnam & Grosset Group, 1988. Tells a miracle story of an egg artist in the United States.

Book ResourceDictionary of Mythology, Folklore and Symbols
By Gertrude Jobes, New York: Scarecrow Press, 1961. Learn more about pysanky symbols.

back to top


Text written by Jamie Yuenger, edited by Anne Pryor.

Sources consulted include tape recorded interview with Betty Pisio Christenson by Michael Kline (9/21/98), with the tape housed at the Wisconsin Arts Board.


Wisconsin Folks

For Educators:

To Hire Betty
Pisio Christenson



Home | Search | The Artists | Teaching | Hiring | About This Site | Contact Us