Ukrainian eggs hatched locally

Amber Armstrong

Amber Armstrong

Lillian Hellickson does her part to keep the Ukrainian culture alive by doing what she does best, egg art.

Ukrainian egg art started over 1000 years ago when Christianity was accepted and has been in Hellickson’s family over 100 years.

Hellickson, the secretary of High School Press in the Journalism Department, learned the art form when she was 10 years old and has been decorating since.

Everything on the egg from a line to a specific color has meaning.

For example, a cross would stand for the death and suffering of Christ, while the color black stands for the remembrance of Christ’s death.

Hellickson says she uses lots of red, which symbolizes love. She decorates her eggs using only traditional symbols.

To begin, Hellickson draws free-hand designs the white farm eggs with beeswax using an electric pen, called a kistka.

When nearly all the design is finished, she dips the egg into Ukrainian egg dye, starting with the lightest color dye first.

The procedure is then repeated with each dye color. Then, the eggs are placed into an oven set at 200 degrees for about 10 minutes, just long enough for the wax to melt, revealing all the colors.

Lastly, a varnish is applied on the eggs to maintain the color and reinforce the shell.

It takes about four to five hours to complete a chicken egg, eight to nine hours for a goose egg and about a month to finish an ostrich egg.

Hellickson says even though the decorating process is slow and tedious, she loves doing it and feels it is a rewarding experience to have people appreciate them.

“I do it for the love of art. I just love everything about them,” Hellickson says.

She says goose eggs are her best sellers, mainly because they can be personalized. She often decorates personalized goose eggs for events such as wedding, anniversaries and baptisms.

She also has chicken eggs on hand, along with some ostrich eggs, for special occasions.

Hellickson dates and initials all of her art. She says some customers will purchase an egg every year to update their collection.

“I feel it is an honor for people to buy them for gifts for others or even gifts for themselves,” Hellickson says. “They (the eggs) make you feel good.”

Prices run $30 for chicken eggs, $50 for goose eggs, and $300 for ostrich eggs. Personalizations are an additional charge.

A phot gallery of Hellickson’s work as well as and ordering information are available on Hellickson’s website,