Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The simple joy of dyeing eggs

6" x 6" on 8" x 8" paper
watercolor and water-soluble printer's ink on Arches 88 paper
click to enlarge

Chicks and rabbits, daffodils and tulips, jelly beans and marshmallow peeps—I adore Easter-y things. But my favorite Easter tradition of all is dyeing eggs. Over the years, our family has experimented with just about every known way to color and decorate eggs. Store-bought kits, natural dyes, tie-dyeing, markers...I even bought this kit ages ago but was never quite industrious enough to tackle those detailed Ukrainian designs.

I may feel brave and try it out this year, but really and truly, the method I love best is the classic: Drop that little Paas color tablet into a cup of water (not those fizzy tablets, I like the ones that require hot water and vinegar) or better yet, get out the food coloring and mix up some colors of your own. I always have either the malted milk "robin's eggs" or Cadbury caramel eggs close at hand. Dyeing eggs requires sustenance.

With this little linocut image, I was trying to convey the simple joy of taking that plain egg and choosing which color to use first. I was going to cut separate blocks for the dye cups, but decided to paint them in with watercolor before pulling the print. That way, I could play with different colors, etc. (I use water-soluble printer's ink, so I couldn't do the watercolor after the printing.) I'm still learning about printing and watercolors, so there was a lot of experimentation!

Here's the uncolored print:

and here's one printed on Stonehenge Kraft and hand-colored with colored pencils:

Finally, I scanned one and made smaller digital prints for some cards. 
I just love my printer (Epson Artisan 1430), it's hard to tell the digital prints from the hand-pulled ones!

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