Julia Tenney first learned how to create Pysanky, or “Ukrainian Eggs“, in 1988, from a Belarussian who had defected from the Soviet Union. She returned to the art after moving to Somerville in 1999, taking it up as a form of doodling to help fight creative block with other artistic pursuits.

Traditional designs can sometimes be traced back to their original village, but, as a non-native, she did not have that kind of connection. Tradition also indicates that pysanky are a blessing, and help reduce the evil in the world, and thus everyone is encouraged to participate. Julia’s designs vary from entirely non-traditional, to incorporating personal interests (such as Wordle) within traditional design standards.

The war in Ukraine led to her first real opportunities to meet many other pysanky artists, and thus opened us a world of new techniques with the wax-resist process. A portion of her pysanky sales are donated to vetted groups helping to defend and rebuild Ukraine.”

Batik dyed eggs by Julia Tenney