The Ukraine is a large country in Europe well-known for its beauty, culture and history. A part of the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) until 1991, the country became independent and could once again express itself fully through its art. Pieces of folk art like the Pysanky (a Ukranian decorated egg) are bright in colour and can become projects for the entire family to enjoy.
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Ukranian art includes the decoration of elaborate tiles made from clay and wood. Find some small squares of either clay, wood or cardboard around 3 inches by 3 inches for your children to decorate. In Ukranian culture, these tiles were used as decoration on the walls or for practical and attractive hobs. These tiles were typically brown, green and blue. Let your children choose the paint colours for their tiles and then hang them up on your wall for decoration.
Needlepoint and Embroidery
Needlepoint and embroidery projects were adopted by Ukranian culture from older folk cultures and became popular for weaving beautiful decorations. With a little bit of initial instruction, children can easily learn needlepoint and embroidery using plastic mesh and a large weave. First, show your children examples of patterns from the Ukraine. Have them create their own designs using graph paper and markers. They can then transfer their designs onto needlepoint fabric and begin sewing. These designs can be used as part of a quilt, a pillow cover or a wall decoration for their room.
Pysanky is a technique for dying Easter eggs that involves wax to create a more intricate pattern. Start the process by having your child draw the pattern he wishes to make on the egg in pencil. Show him how to apply wax to the areas he wants to stay white. Dye the egg in a light colour (like yellow) and then add wax to the areas of the egg you want to stay yellow. Keep repeating the process until your child has finished his design with different colours and levels of wax. Once the pattern is completed, you can help your child hold the egg near a candle to melt all of the wax off to reveal the pattern.
Dzbanky is the Ukranian word for bowls made out of clay or wood. These bowls contained pictures of rams, goats and stags, though your children can decorate their bowls however they wish. Since carving wood can be dangerous, stick with forming a bowl out of clay. Have your children decorate the bowls with paint or glaze with the colours of their choice. For an added craft bonus, you can place the Pysanky eggs in your Dzbanky bowl.
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