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Straw Covered Eggs

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Straw covered or decorated eggs are traditional in several countries; Lithuania, Latvia, Serbia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Belarus and Ukraine, to mention a few, and are always admired, appreciated and treasured gifts.  In some cultures they are given as gifts at Easter time. Sometimes they are presented as a token of affection from a woman to a man on Easter. In some cultures they are presented graveside on Easter.

Sometimes they are decorated in the very traditional style of utilizing well worked straw and laying it flush with the egg. The majority of the images here reflect that traditional method of egg decorating.  Over the years we noticed variations of straw decorated eggs. In addition traditional methods we discovered textural egg decorations using straw as the medium as well as portrait work.

The first egg we are going to show is from American/Slovakian straw master Sidonka Wadina.  The egg below is indicative of the traditional style of Slovakian egg decorating.

Straw eggs side view Hanácké kraslice,Sidonka Wadina ,straw covered egg, straw egg,

Detail of egg by Sidonka Wadina 2005

Another offering by Sidonka Wadina, this time with a theme of goddesses.

Goddess motif on goose eggs by Sidonka Wadina, Courtesy Endowment for the Arts, straw decorated eggs, The Straw Shop

Goddess motif on goose eggs by Sidonka Wadina, Courtesy Endowment for the Arts

straw decorated eggs, Slovakian straw eggs, straw eggs, Slovakian Travel, The Straw Shop

Straw decorated eggs, Courtesy Slovakian Travel

The number of straw pieces applied to an egg is referred to as handwritings in the Czech Republic.  It is not unusual for some artists to have 300-600 handwritings per egg.  Each egg takes hours and hours of patience in preparation and execution.  Slovakia and Czech Republic offer similar styles and symbols in their decorated straw eggs.

An example from Slovakian straw artist Pani Sitarova shows a castle on the side of the emu egg.  The emu egg is naturally dark in color accentuating the golden straw work.

Pani Sitarova, Straw decorated egg, straw on emu egg, Slovakia straw egg, The Straw Shop

Straw emu egg featuring a local castle, Courtesy Pani Sitarova Slovakia

From the Czech Republic is professional egg decorator Marcela Hrabovská. Notice the various natural colors she finds and incorporates while decorating natural eggs with natural straw:

Straw decorated eggs, Marcela Hrabovská, Czech Republic, Courtesy Czech Cookbook dot com, straw eggs, The Straw Shop

Straw decorated eggs, Marcela Hrabovská, Czech Republic, Courtesy Czech Cookbook dot com

The following glossary contains words in the English language translated into Czech:

egg: vajce (va-yee-tse) or vajíčko (va-yee-chko)
blown out egg: výdušky (vee-dush-kee)
decorated eggs: kraslice (kras-li-tse)
egg decorator: krasličiarka (kras-li-chi-ar-ka)

Straw egg decorating master Marcela Hrabovská, Czech Republic, painstaking detailed work in the following instructional video is fascinating to see. See it here.   For those who want to learn more about this skill an extended video with additional instructions from this straw master is available here.  

In our research we noted a style difference in the traditional application of the straw to the egg. In some places the glue is applied onto the egg directly and then the straw onto the glue. In other places, the glue is applied to the pith side of the straw and then placed onto the egg.  It was also interesting to learn from a Czech Egg Master the origin of the change of using only whole eggs decorated with straw into hollow decorated eggs began in 1918.  Prior to that whole eggs were used.

What’s the traditional egg used?  It could be quail, chicken, duck, emu, goose, ostrich depending on availability.

straw decorated eggs, straw eggs, Czech eggs, Easter Eggs, The Straw Shop

Straw eggs Anna Drazilova, Czech Replic, Courtesy Anna Drazilova

Czech straw egg, Anna Drazilova egg, The Straw Shop, straw decorated eggs

Straw decorated eggs by Anna Drazilova Czech Republic, Courtesy Anna Drazilova

From Belarus, we are delighted to present the next three images from Master straw artist Raisa Ramanenia.

Egg of barley and rye basket, Courtesy Raisa Ramanenia

Egg of barley and rye basket, Courtesy Raisa Ramanenia

 

Egg of barley and rye basket, Courtesy Raisa Ramanenia

Egg of barley and rye basket, Courtesy Raisa Ramanenia

Eggs of barley and rye bases, Courtesy Raisa Ramanenia

Eggs of barley and rye bases, Courtesy Raisa Ramanenia

Also from Belarus is artist Maryna Yaremchyk who’s interpretation of applying straw to an egg is surprising.

Maryna Yaremchyk , straw decorated egg, Belarus straw egg, The Straw Shop,

Straw egg top view Maryna Yaremchyk Belarus, Courtesy The Straw Shop Collection

The crosswise cut of the straw and placing it on the egg is her signature.

Maryna Yaremchyk, Belarus straw egg, straw decorated egg, The Straw Shop

Straw egg side view Maryna Yaremchyk Belarus, Courtesy The Straw Shop Collection

From Serbia, artist Biserka Horvacki in Subotica, shared a wonderful collection of eggs she decorated:

Straw decorated eggs, Biserka Horvacki, straw decorated eggs, The Straw Shop

Straw decorated eggs, Courtesy Biserka Horvacki, Subotica

The Straw Shop’s Artist Page hosts a couple from Serbia named Edvard and Mirjana Kirbus. Although not exclusive to the work they produce this couple specializes in straw decorated eggs. Their style is quite different. Their use of quilled straw is almost a signature in their varied work.  The Straw shop invites you to see their work for additional inspiration. The next image is one of many styles of their work on an egg:

Straw secorated egg, Mirjana and Edvard Kirbus, The Straw Shop, Serbian straw decorated egg

Mirjana and Edvard Kirbus Serbia

The British Museum has some straw decorated eggs in their Collection. Described as: “Group of five decorated Easter eggs, hen’s eggs, hollow, each painted in a different colour and applied with cut straw patterns, a) bright blue, b) green, c) deep blue, d) black, e) red. Date 1990-1999 Production place Made in: Poland.

Straw eggs decorated origin Poland, Courtesy British Museum

The images below are meant to spark your imagination.   The beauty of a straw decorated egg is as much in its simplicity or in its complexity. We have identified the artists when possible.

You will find this short video helpful:

Here is another video click on it to enjoy:

Zdobení kraslic slámou (Kraslice 2016) / Easter Eggs Decorated with Straw

Despite some tradition straw decorated eggs may appear in many forms at any time of the year really.

 

How are they made?   Blow the natural eggs out for years of enjoyment, paint them a solid color with acrylic paint if you wish (or use a wooden egg for the form) and begin creating.  Leave the eggs in their natural shade and embellish with your choice of flattened straw colors to create your pattern.  You want to work the straw until it is ribbon-like and curls. This is an activity for all ages and abilities and not limited to one holiday. Review the above three videos of instructions offered by the teachers in their videos. You may start a new tradition.
Copyright 2013, Jan Huss/The Straw Shop