PISANKI EASTER EGG CLASS, MARCH 3. 2007
Always the forefront of all good things Polish, the Polish Art Center has been offering Saturday and Sunday classes in the fine art of pisanki making. Under the tutelage of Joan Bittner and her daughters Michelle and Kathleen, hundreds of eager students of all ages learn the batik art of pisanki during the Lenten weeks that lead to Easter.
According to our interview with Joan, the name Pisanki comes form the Polish verb pisac, ‘to write,’ and traditionally, the eggs are decorated with many Polish symbols of Easter. Most popular are the Lamb with Resurrection Banner (Baranek, symbolizing the Lamb of God from the Agnus Dei of the Catholic Mass), pussy willow (often used instead of palms in Poland), the Cross (symbolizing the Crucified Christ) and Polish-language Easter greetings such as Wesolego Alleluja. Different regions of Poland have also developed particular geometric and floral designs specific to those communities. Natural dyes, such as onion skins or beets, are often used to color eggs referred to as Kraszanki.
The packed-class we filmed on March 3 included multiple generations. One of the most heartwarming stories we’ve yet encountered in the Polish American community is that of mark and Susan Stempien, a formerly childless couple from Dearborn Heights who in 1999 adopted three sisters from Poland. All three, Krystina (12), Angelika (11) and Sylvia (10) came to class dressed in traditional embroidered Polish costumes and all three seem to have adapted beautifully to American life, naming Kelly Clarkston as their favorite singer! Still, they take to the egg decorating with gusto, and along with their proud parents, light up the classroom.
Pisanki classes continue through Lent at the Art Center.
Polish Art Center
9539 Jos Campau
Hamtramck, MI 48212
Telephone: 1 (313) 874-2242
Toll-Free: 1 (888) 619-9771
Fax: 1 (313) 874-1302
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 9:30am - 5:00pm
Thursday 9:30am - 7:00pm
Friday, Saturday 9:30am - 6:00pm
Sunday 11:00am - 3:00pm (September - Mother's Day