The proverb says that you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.
Dave and Derek Wasylyshen and the rest of their family have taken that saying to heart, transforming pieces of Ukrainian Easter eggs into stunning works of art.
Their work is showcased at the Oseredok Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre, until Apr. 9. The entire second floor gallery is given over to Pysanka Mosaic: “New Dimensions”, which includes dozens of pieces.
The works are literally built from coloured fragments of chicken or goose eggs. Every work is unique. Hundreds of pieces of eggshell are combined into one-of-a-kind three-dimensional art.
Dave’s father Ted originally developed the process in the early 1990s. Ted Wasylyshen and wife Evelyn had spent decades building up a major collection of hundreds of Pysanka (Ukrainian Easter eggs).
Since 2004, Dave has been perfecting this art form. In 2011, he also began producing mosaics that were embedded in coloured glass.
Over the years Dave has taught the process to his children, Derek and Kaira, and his mother Evelyn.
While this art offers a chance to recycle egg “accidents”, today Dave carefully dissects intact eggs with a high-speed saw. Not without plenty of breakage though.
The resulting pieces are soaked in a solution to soften the shell and preserve the dye colours. Afterwards, the softened pieces are flattened and dried to become raw material for a new mosaic.
Completed mosaics are sealed and finished with clear plastic resin and professionally framed.
This is a new twist on an ancient art tradition. The custom of decorating eggs has been around for millennia. With the adoption of Christianity in tenth-century Ukraine, the Pysanka became part of the rituals of the new religion. Each motif carries symbolic meanings.
The Oseredok Gallery is open 10 to 4 Monday through Saturday, located just north of the Manitoba Museum at 184 Alexander Avenue East. Easter visitors are advised it is closed for the Good Friday and Easter Sunday holidays.
Oseredok is another often overlooked gallery that can occasionally surprise. For instance, ten years ago it hosted a major William Kurelek exhibit.
See the Wasylyshen website at pysankamosaic.com.