Like millions of children, Nicole Bergeron grew up decorating eggs. The difference? Hers were painted in the intricate Ukrainian style known as "pysanky."
"I have been making pysanky eggs since I was 10," says Bergeron. "One year, I went overboard and made 66 eggs, so I brought them to a crafts fair and they nearly flew off the table." Soon after, she launched PysankyPanky on Etsy.com to sell her works of art.
With pysanky, each pattern and color bears meaning: Red can signify hope, and a basket weave connotes motherhood. "I love how a pysanka can tell a story," says Bergeron, who mostly sticks to traditional Ukrainian designs but adds her own twists. In her home studio in Falmouth, Massachusetts, she works on 10 to 20 eggs at a time, rotating them between dye baths and detailing.
Having grown up with a jewelry-maker mother and no television at home, Bergeron was always encouraged to craft. "I'm the type of person who cannot go one day without crafting," she says. While she also sells her own hand-spun yarn on Etsy, eggs are the canvas she now focuses on. "It's a great escape from work stress for me. When I work on an egg, I have to let go of everything and focus in on the details."
Bergeron was born without her left hand and has pain in her right. Still, she doesn't let that stop her from creating egg art. "I'm learning to pace myself," she says. "Not only is this a creative outlet, it's a chance for me to share my passion and teach others about its beautiful history. It's a true labor of love."
To create a pysanka, Bergeron lays out a design with light pencil strokes. Then she covers the parts of the egg that she wants to leave untouched with a wax stylus and dyes the rest, repeating the process.
From $35 each, etsy.com/shop/pysankypanky.