Photographs of Shandra Wilson creating in her studio, which can be found in McKean County.
“Eggs were a magical item because there was no science to explain it. There was something that looked like a rock, and life came from it.”
Shandra has been doing pysanky (Ukrainian Easter egg painting) since she was five. The skill was passed down from her grandparents, who were from the Ukraine.
“Traditionally, they were made as magical items that had this power, and women would pass them down to their daughters,” Shandra said.
She was taught by her Grandma Vee (Virginia Anderson). The insides of the eggs are blown out, a candle is lit, and she starts to layer designs in hot wax on the egg shell. Dipping them in an assortment of dyes, the process continues — dip and draw, dip and draw — until she feels it is complete. The wax is then melted off to reveal the intricacies of the design and then shellacked into permanence.
“I don’t have any idea how an egg is going to look when I start it,” Shandra said of the eggs, which take between three to four hours of labor to complete.
Her studio is the extra bedroom of her home, and her art is made under the close direction of her cats, Mister (shown) and Ramona. She teaches classes locally, sharing her family's tradition with others — an act she thinks would make Grandma Vee proud.
These images were captured by Katie Weidenboerner Deppen as part of the 2017 Creative Makers Exhibit, a traveling showcase of creative makers working in the PA Wilds.
More about the show here. Proceeds from the sales of the Creative Makers Exhibit photographic tiles & posters will go back into the work of the Wilds Cooperative and the extension of this project as we will continue photographing the creative makers living and working in the PA Wilds.
Each tile measures 8 in x 8 in and is mounted on foam core that is approximately 3/4 in thick and comes with adhesive attached for wall mounting.
Please note: Orders for photographic tiles are placed in a batch at the end of each month with the vendor, and then take an additional 2 weeks for delivery. Please be prepared that your order could take 4-6 weeks for delivery.
Meet the Maker
Over 10 years ago, a groundbreaking effort began to brand a quarter of the Commonwealth as the "Pennsylvania Wilds" and invest in it to create a premier nature, heritage and cultural destination that would fuel local economies and inspire stewardship among the people who live, work, play and visit the region. Engaging the region's artists and craftspeople in the work is key to building a meaningful regional brand and infusing pride into economically-distressed communities. The Wilds Cooperative of Pennsylvania, our membership program that supports artisans and entrepreneurs through such regional branding, was born out of this belief. Today, nearly 200 local artists and craftspeople participate in this juried arts and business development program. "Creative Makers" reflects the splendor and uniqueness of the Pennsylvania Wilds landscape and rural lifestyle, and the resourcefulness and talent of the artists who live and work here. PA Wilds Juried photographers captured the images, and our goal with the exhibit is to help tell the story of the creative individuals living and working in the PA Wilds.
This project is made possible through grants from the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts.