Sofika Pysanky and Ceramics

Sofika Pysanky and Ceramics Ukrainian Easter eggs and Ceramics
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What happens when the curator (me) of The Pysanka: A Symbol Of Hope  installation doesn't visit the exhibit for 3 and a ...
05/10/2024

What happens when the curator (me) of The Pysanka: A Symbol Of Hope installation doesn't visit the exhibit for 3 and a half weeks? This!!! 64 new pysanka donations. Thank you- Ohio, North Carolina, Illinois, Virginia, Tennessee, Idaho, Kentucky, Arkansas, Oregon and Washington DC! For more information about the installation please visit- https://pysanka.ukrainianinstitute.org/

There are many pre-christian and christian legends explaining the origins or the "why" we write pysanky. My favorite chr...
05/03/2024

There are many pre-christian and christian legends explaining the origins or the "why" we write pysanky. My favorite christian legend: "After helping Christ carry the cross, the eggs Simon was carrying to the market place turned a bright red color. Simon was so startled by this miracle that he dropped the basket and the eggs rolled down the hill and rested by the Virgin Mary who was praying at her Son's cross. As She prayed She cried and tears fell down Her cheeks onto the red eggs creating beautiful designs."
There can be many reasons why the color red was used as the background of so many "traditional" pysanka designs but in my mind, this legend explains it best.
Chicken eggs, traditional pysanka designs from different regions of Ukraine.

З Квітною Неділею.
04/28/2024

З Квітною Неділею.

It was my pleasure to be included in the curriculum of prof. Lisa Sanditz’s Sustainable Drawing class at Bard College.
04/11/2024

It was my pleasure to be included in the curriculum of prof. Lisa Sanditz’s Sustainable Drawing class at Bard College.

Part II of my interview with HGTV and Rajiv Surendra.
03/19/2024

Part II of my interview with HGTV and Rajiv Surendra.

Last week, Rajiv Surendra visited the Ukrainian Institute of America, where he met with Sofika Zielyk, curator of the exhibit, to learn about the art of Pysa...

Thank-you HGTV for the opportunity to explain what I do and significance of the installation The Pysanka: A Symbol Of Ho...
03/12/2024

Thank-you HGTV for the opportunity to explain what I do and significance of the installation The Pysanka: A Symbol Of Hope.

The ancient art of pysanky, Ukrainian Easter eggs, reflects centuries-old traditions and beliefs passed down through generations. Today, Rajiv Surendra visit...

For Ukrainians March is the month of Taras Shevchenko. He was born on March 9th, 1814 and died at the age of 47 on March...
03/09/2024

For Ukrainians March is the month of Taras Shevchenko. He was born on March 9th, 1814 and died at the age of 47 on March 10th, 1861. We know for a fact that Shevchenko was familiar with the pysanka tradition from the first lines of his poem "Село"---
Село! І серце одпочине:
Село на нашій Україні —
Неначе писанка.......
Shevchenko was buried in the city of Kaniv, overlooking the Dnipro river and the steppes of Ukraine- according to the wishes of his will and testament. There are many examples of traditional pysanka patterns from the Kyiv region (which Kaniv is part of) but I could never find a design specifically from the Kaniv region until a few years ago. I thank Michael Andrec, Natalia Honcharenko and the archives of the Ukrainian History and Education Center for this discovery
Chicken egg, 2019, traditional pysanka design from the Kaniv region.

03/01/2024
Today marks the 145th anniversary of the birth of the Ukrainian born artist Kazimir Malevich, whose talent changed the h...
02/23/2024

Today marks the 145th anniversary of the birth of the Ukrainian born artist Kazimir Malevich, whose talent changed the history of the art world.
Chicken eggs, 2021,designs created in the artistic style of the artist.

Happy Valentine's Day"Love Birds"15 inch diameter Ceramic plate, 2004,
02/14/2024

Happy Valentine's Day
"Love Birds"
15 inch diameter Ceramic plate, 2004,

Maria Prymachenko was born 115 years ago today. She has received much attention in the world during the past few years a...
01/12/2024

Maria Prymachenko was born 115 years ago today. She has received much attention in the world during the past few years and gained many new admirers. Thanks to my mother I have loved MP since I was a little girl. Many years ago mama bought a children’s book called “Товче Баба Мак”, illustrated by MP which I still have. One of my favorite childhood memories includes looking though that book and marveling at the colorful flowers, animals and interior scenes. I especially liked the flatness of all the illustrations and imagined myself at an easel painting the way she did. Its no wonder that my first non traditional, experimental series of egg designs started with Prymachenko. I began the series in 2017. I don’t copy Prymachenko’s artwork onto the eggs rather I try to create a pattern or design in her artistic style. Everything is done in the traditional pysanka batik technique. There are no markers or paint brushes. I started this project by thinking what if Prymachenko’s medium was an egg rather than a piece of paper and that though evolved into a series of more than 35 eggs (so far). I hope that somehow Maria Prymachenko knows that many years ago “Товче Баба Мак” planted a seed in a little girl’s head which continues to grow to this day.
Chicken eggs, 2017-2023, batik

To my knowledge Kazimir Malevych never painted the Madonna and Child, although his black square might be considered an i...
12/21/2023

To my knowledge Kazimir Malevych never painted the Madonna and Child, although his black square might be considered an ikon.. Continuing experimentations of creating egg designs in the artistic styles of Ukrainian born artists. Malevich is known as the father of suprematism but he painted in many different styles.
Much of Malevich's art includes backgrounds of different colored bands. Folk art had a profound influence on this creativity. The various colored ribbons sewn on regional Ukrainian costumes, which he saw in his day to day young life, might have influenced him- just my theory.
My interpretations of Malevich had he created designs on eggs (in all my research of the artist I didn't find any evidence of this).
Chicken egg, 2019, traditional batik, private collection
Goose egg, 2020, traditional batik.

December 15th marks the 140th anniversary of the birth of Hanna Sobachko Shostak (1883-1965), someone I have been fascin...
12/08/2023

December 15th marks the 140th anniversary of the birth of Hanna Sobachko Shostak (1883-1965), someone I have been fascinated by for years. After thinking and reading about this artist, studying her work and digesting everything, I think I MIGHT be ready to take on my next project- creating egg designs in her artistic style. At first glance this might seen very simple but the trick is not to copy her designs (like we do when creating traditional pysanky) but to create designs on eggs, using the batik technique, as she might have. This artist's style is totally different from my experimentation with Maria Prymachenko, Malevich, Sonia Delaunay and Victor Palmov and up to now most difficult to achieve. But I cleaned my work table and will start soon.
BTW,I hear an exhibit of Hanna Sobachko Shostak's work is supposed to open in Kyiv on December 15, her 140th birthday.

Happy Birthday to Ukrainian born artist and designer Sonia Delaunay (1885-1979)From the series of egg designs created in...
11/14/2023

Happy Birthday to Ukrainian born artist and designer Sonia Delaunay (1885-1979)
From the series of egg designs created in the artistic style of artists I researched during my Fulbright time in Kyiv.
Chicken egg, 2021, traditional batik technique

Maria Prymachenko depicted many storks in her work but more so than not they were secondary characters in her village sc...
10/08/2023

Maria Prymachenko depicted many storks in her work but more so than not they were secondary characters in her village scenes: storks sitting in a nest, flying over trees or standing on one leg by a house. But once in a while she portrayed these birds as the main subject of a painting. This is my design of a stork wearing a hat (MP loved to put hats on her animals) created in the artistic style of Prymachenko.
"Stork with Hat by Cattails" Chicken egg, 2023, batik

In anticipation of the blockbuster Maria Prymachenko exhibit at the Ukrainian Museum in NY opening on October 7th.  #5.....
10/05/2023

In anticipation of the blockbuster Maria Prymachenko exhibit at the Ukrainian Museum in NY opening on October 7th. #5......
Maria Prymachenko loved nature. Besides magical beasts, birds and reptiles she painted many different types of flowers. One of my favorite Prymachenko motifs is her "tree of life" theme. It usually consists of a branch emerging from a vase then multiplying with depictions of different plant life. This is my "tree of life" created in the artistic style of Prymachenko.
Goose egg, "Tree of Life with Voloshky and Maku" 2017, batik

In anticipation of the blockbuster Maria Prymachenko exhibit at the Ukrainian Museum in NY opening on October 7th.  #4.....
10/01/2023

In anticipation of the blockbuster Maria Prymachenko exhibit at the Ukrainian Museum in NY opening on October 7th. #4......
Besides mythical beasts some of Maria Prymachenko's works feature reptiles. This is my interpretation of one such creature. This snake is colorful and seems playful but shows that he is ready to attack if provoked, as evidenced by his dark tongue.
Chicken egg, 2019, "Colorful snake" batik method. Egg design created in the style of naive artist Maria Prymachenko.

In anticipation of the blockbuster Maria Prymachenko exhibit at the Ukrainian Museum in NY opening in October.  #3.........
09/27/2023

In anticipation of the blockbuster Maria Prymachenko exhibit at the Ukrainian Museum in NY opening in October. #3......
Besides portraying mythological beasts Maria Prymanchenko painted many birds or bird-like creatures-- some as the main subject, some in the background, some in flight. This design is one of the first I created when I started my series of egg designs in the style of this naive artist.
"Bird with large blue beak" chicken egg, 2017, batik

In anticipation of the blockbuster Maria Prymachenko exhibit at the Ukrainian Museum in NY opening in October.  #2.........
09/20/2023

In anticipation of the blockbuster Maria Prymachenko exhibit at the Ukrainian Museum in NY opening in October. #2......
Maria Prymachenko was famous for painting mythological beasts. Some were a bit fierce looking ready to devour their prey while others were portrayed as playful and jolly. This is my take on a playful beast, holding flowers, done in the style of the artist had she used an egg as her medium. I hope she would have approved.
Red beast with flowers, 2023, chicken egg.
All Maria Prymachenko inspired designs created in the traditional batik technique of the pysanka tradition.

In anticipation of the blockbuster Maria Prymachenko exhibit at the Ukrainian Museum in NY opening in October.... I star...
09/16/2023

In anticipation of the blockbuster Maria Prymachenko exhibit at the Ukrainian Museum in NY opening in October.... I started creating egg designs in the artistic style of Prymachenko in 2016. I have periodically added to this series throughout the years in what the artist Slava Gerulak calls "мистецькі напади" (its when for no reason you have the uncontrollable urge to create something and that urge doesn't go away until its done.) Since finding out about the Prymachenko exhbit my "мистецький напад " of all things Prymachenko has not left me. I have created egg designs featuring flowers, mythical beasts, birds, landscapes, water scenes etc. and all in the style the artist herself might have created had she used the egg as a medium. Stay tuned for more.....

Almost 800 eggs and counting....Our pysanka installation at the Ukrainian Institute of America in New York is growing ev...
09/04/2023

Almost 800 eggs and counting....Our pysanka installation at the Ukrainian Institute of America in New York is growing everyday. Today we received 25 eggs from the attendees of the pysanka retreat at the Soyuzivka Heritage Center.Thank-you Emily Robbins for being the courier of this wonderful donation. The closing date of "The Pysanka: A Symbol Of Hope" installation has been extended once again. Please visit the website for more information on how to take part in this project. https://pysanka.ukrainianinstitute.org/
Photo- eggs from the pysanka donation on the background of the installation.

When you spend your Saturday afternoon mixing new dyes. And this after 3 hand washings.
08/12/2023

When you spend your Saturday afternoon mixing new dyes. And this after 3 hand washings.

This particular goddess motif from the Polissya area is still one of my favorite designs. Whenever I feel that life is a...
08/06/2023

This particular goddess motif from the Polissya area is still one of my favorite designs. Whenever I feel that life is attacking me from all sides I sit at my table and create this "protectress" . Somehow she has a calming effect on me and this crazy life just goes on.

It was my honor to exhibit my work -pysanky- at the East European Heritage reception hosted at Gracie Mansion by Mayor E...
07/29/2023

It was my honor to exhibit my work -pysanky- at the East European Heritage reception hosted at Gracie Mansion by Mayor Eric Adams. Together with the director of the Ukrainian Institute of America we celebrated the many cultures of the Eastern European diaspora.

Deadline- July 15th,
07/08/2023

Deadline- July 15th,

Thank-you Apofenie magazine for publishing my article on the transformation, adaptation and resilience of the pysanka tr...
06/18/2023

Thank-you Apofenie magazine for publishing my article on the transformation, adaptation and resilience of the pysanka tradition from its pre-Christian roots until today.
https://www.apofenie.com/letters-and-essays

This photo just popped up in my memories section and made me smile. It was a different time- before the pandemic and the...
05/24/2023

This photo just popped up in my memories section and made me smile. It was a different time- before the pandemic and the war when life was more innocent (for lack of a better word). This is still one of my favorite wild flower combination, mint and buttercups. Although the vase that I painted many years ago I now use as my paintbrush holder.

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