Egg decorating workshop at Van Tassel gets pretty in pisanki

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BLOOMFIELD, NJ — Back by popular demand, Van Tassel Funeral Home had its second annual Easter egg coloring class on Saturday, April 8. Whereas the class last year had about 20 people learning skills of traditional Polish egg decorating, there were about 60 people in attendance this year.

Izabel Van Tassel, owner of the funeral home which has community programs during the year, said she was thinking of not even having the class this year. But word of mouth about it spread and with Easter coming, people started calling her. The response changed her mind.

“I had to close registration,” she said while cleaning up after class. “I would have had over 100 people. I had to buy tables. I’ll keep them for next year. I think we’ll have two sessions next year.”

She attributed the overwhelming response to photographs that were taken of last year’s class and posted on Facebook. She also said having Aneta Pierog-Sodol as the instructor was a big factor.

“She’s very famous,” Van Tassel said. “She has a lot of followers.”
Pierog-Sodol, a photographer and art teacher, smiled and dismissed the compliment with a wave of her hand.

Indeed, of the 60 people in attendance, half of them were kids with mothers who were presumably of Polish descent because they were speaking Polish.
There were no grown men, or fathers, at the class.

What was taught was pisanki, a traditional method of coloring Easter eggs using wax.

The wax is applied using a pin stuck into a pencil eraser. The head of the pin becomes a stylus, in effect.

Hot, translucent, white wax is applied to the white egg which is then given a color bath. When the egg emerges, the wax resists the color but the white of the shell can be seen through it. More wax decoration is applied and a second bath, presumably with a second color, is given, and so on.

Pierog-Sodol said that following Polish tradition, the eggs will be blessed on Holy Saturday and eaten on Easter morning.

“Egg is a symbol of life and Jesus risen,” she said. “All the food is blessed for Easter breakfast and eaten after Resurrection Mass at 6 a.m.