Assalaamu alaikum everyone!
When someone converts to Islam, we get a litany of lists (yes, a list of lists) of the things that we USED to do which are now haraam. There are some aunties who will write it out in gold-plated calligraphy and force you to hang it on your refrigerator (well, not really). One of these things for me was the art of pisanki.
Pisanki is an Eastern European tradition typically associated with Easter. It’s basically a collection of styles of turning eggs into art. The word pisanki derives from “pisac”, which means “to write”.
My extended family gets together once a year to do pisanki, and I’ve always been the ring leader. The younger generation looked at my work. I taught them the symbolism behind certain shapes. I was the one they aspired to be like, because for some reason pisanki is one of the things I have patience for. I will spend 4-8 hours on a single egg, just for the satisfaction of having completed it.
I was ready to give it up.
I thought that pisanki was inherently and inseparably tied to Easter. I thought that this form of art, which is part of my heritage, was now completely off-limits to me. I thought it was something that I would have to set aside. I had said to myself, “this is the last year I will be participating in this with my family.”
A few days later, though, my grandma’s friend who had seen our family’s work throughout the years called my mom. She said, “I found this group on facebook about the eggs your daughter makes. I think she would enjoy it, and be able to learn a lot.”
So I checked it out. This group, called Incredible Eggs, is a collection of people from all across the globe, from all ethnicities and religious backgrounds who make the eggs purely as art. They make them to celebrate the earth, nature, Easter, Winter Solstice, Latino, Polish, Middle Eastern, anything and everything.
My jaw hit the floor. I realized that I could continue my adventures in pisanki with a different mind, a different intention, and now a broadened worldview. Let’s just say, I’ve been a happy egg-dyer the past few years!
Here’s a few pictures of the process, just to give you an idea of the style (click open to view with caption).