STITCH LINES...... Ramblings on life as a quilter, stitcher, traveler, photographer, gardener and lover of books, cats and fine chocolate....

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Packing away Christmas...





January 1st. A new year. New beginnings. Another chance to get it right, as Oprah says! lol   Well I got off to a very lazy start. Haven't accomplished a great lot today, although, with the "night owl" hours I keep, there's still lots of time yet. I slept late this morning (it felt good  :) and I guess the most ambitious thing I've done is take down our big tree. The small Victorian one is still up. Maybe tomorrow... I did do some much needed tidying in my studio too, so I guess that counts for something... I guess you could say I'm "easing in" to the new year... haha  This blasted cold weather has me just wanting to do nothing but wrap up in a cozy quilt, eat chocolate and read... Yes, the scales today told the tale of the chocolate eating, but we won't go there, okay?
As I was removing tree ornaments this afternoon, I remembered I had planned to do a blog post on my Czech eggs. So although I'm just a tad late for talking about Christmas decorating, I thought you still might like to see the eggs. When Laura and I were in Prague this past summer, although there were many many "gift shops", I'd have to say that the majority of them all had the same junk "goods" for sale, most of it tacky mass-produced souvenirs, not even made in the Czech Republic. (We were told most of it comes from Russia.) Eventually I found
Manufaktura, which is a network of shops with traditional crafts hand-made in the Czech Republic. I was looking for things which were small and lightweight to pack and was thrilled to find a good selection of eggs. Even though these are considered  Easter eggs in the Czech Republic, they were also displayed as Christmas decorations (no doubt to appeal to the North American tourists.) I chose a variety and when I paid for them the friendly young clerk gave me a brochure which tells about each type of egg and which part of the country it is from. Each region has their own distinct design or style of egg, and there is considerable variety.

One of the more common styles I found is the figural egg, usually just two colors - often red and white or red and cream. Designs are usually small figures and churches.














The Vnorovske egg is named for the Moravian village where it originated. It is done by the typical batik method of waxing and dyeing in intricate patterns, usually geometric or floral patterns, in red, yellow and orange.















Relief eggs have wax applied to the surface  in patterns and they also are from Southern Moravia.












Eggs from Velká and Veličkou are decorated by batik methods in combinations of white, dark blue and black with very complex and sophisticated designs, often with a geometrical pattern around the circumference of the egg.















I think these two eggs must be from this region. (I can only guess at my pairing up of the eggs I have with the written descriptions in the brochure. I guess you'll have trust me on this!!)











I think the Drilled eggs were my favourite! Their designs were inspired by complex Madeira embroidery. Relief wax is applied around the drilled pattern. Production of this type of egg requires skill, patience and high quality tools. I can only imagine how many eggs I would smash while trying to learn this technique of drilling an egg!!










This egg has a design applied with straw. It is not mentioned at all in my brochure, but I remember asking the saleslady about it and she told me it was straw, cut and carefully applied to the surface of the egg. I assume the straw is glued on (?) and if so, it has been expertly done as there is not one tiny drop or smudge of excess glue anywhere. The surface is smooth and clean. I purchased this one in Český Krumlov in a small privately owned artist's shop, along with the one below which I think she told me is a duck egg (slightly larger). I am thinking it might be from the Velká area (see above) from the intricate pattern and the dark blue color...






The other type of egg which was interesting (but I didn't buy) was the wired egg. The egg itself was plain, but it was covered with fine wire, worked into intricate designs. These were more expensive than any of the others, so I passed. Silly me, should have got at least one. Next time!! I guess I was worrying about how I would get all these home without breaking them.. and no doubt you are wondering just how I did that. Well... they were placed in...   you guessed it - an egg carton. Actually because I bought them in several different shops, on different days, I had several egg cartons, cut in half (for 6 eggs), taped up. Very basic- nothing fancy at all. But it worked. Not one was broken when I got home, despite them being in my carry-on bag, and when we were seated on the Prague-Franfurt flight in an exit row, the flight attendant came along and grabbed my bag from under the seat and stuffed it in the overhead bin. Okay, I thought I'll just have to get it down carefully when we leave. (More carefully than she handled it, I was thinking...)Then a big burly German comes down the aisle and opens the overhead bin and shoves his large bag in front of mine, jamming mine back... Well there go the eggs, I thought...  but they were all okay!! I think I brought home 17 eggs in all.

This last egg is from Budapest- a gift from my friend Barb who was there this fall - the same Barb who gave me the advent card here. It is done by the same batik method of wax resist dyeing, she saw them being done. Just look at the intricate designs- if you have ever tried doing Pysanky, you know this is NOT easy!!

So now, added to my Christmas ornament collection, I have an egg carton, full of eggs, to remind me of the summer of 2013 and Prague. Pleasant memories...

Peace,
Linda

"Christmas is the keeping-place for memories..." ~ Joan Mills




6 comments:

Jeanna said...

Love your egg ornaments Linda. Thank you for sharing the detail about each one :)

Pamela Gordon said...

Linda, these eggs are just gorgeous! What a beautiful set of keepsakes you have from your trip. The designs and all the detailed work is exquisite. Something to enjoy for a long time. So glad they made it home intact!

Islandviewduo said...

Wow Linda. Your photos of your egg ornaments are outstanding.
Debby

Country Gal said...

These are all so pretty . I remember as a kid in school decorating eggs for Easter and Christmas . Lovely photos ! Thanks for sharing . Blowing a blizzard here . Have a good day !

Peg said...

Beautiful eggs. What a perfect theme for a Christmas tree!

Lee said...

These are just perfect as a souvenir! Different, memorable and enjoyed once a year so you won't have to dust them year round. What more could you ask for?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...