Kasia is the artist at the helm of our most unusual holiday-themed class to date: traditional Polish Skrobanki Egg Scratching. Hear her inspirations for getting started, and why you should ditch the drug-store egg dye in favor of this colorful & rich Polish tradition!
Can you tell us a little about your heritage and how you got into Polish Egg Scratching?
I’m first-generation Polish-American on my mom’s side; her family immigrated to the US when she was 10 years old. My grandma, Ryszarda Klim, is an amazing Polish craft master. She taught me everything I know about Skrobanki and other Polish crafts. I grew up making Wycinanki (paper-cuttings) and scratching eggs in front of the TV as a kid, and now I’m always excited to share those skills and traditions with others.
What’s the benefit of making eggs this way, rather than dip dyed in drug store product?
First and foremost, the cultural connection. Learning an art form is just so “hands-on”, and what better way to learn something new about a culture than actually trying it yourself? I make a point to discuss background information of each art form I teach, so students can learn the meaning and history behind what they’re doing, and then they can carry that information on and share it with others. It builds community and connection.
There’s also the environmental benefit to making your own dye out of kitchen scraps which is completely non-toxic, as opposed to a synthetic dye mixed up in a lab somewhere. The traditional dye used for Skrobanki is really just onion skins, vinegar, salt and water… and it turns out beautifully!
When you’re not making beautiful eggs, what else do you do in your spare
Hang out with my husband and chase around after our toddler. 🙂 When I have the energy, I spend time art-making in my home studio. I also teach classes at a variety of community-based settings in traditional Polish crafts, paper crafts and fiber art. I like to sleep when possible.
And this might be a leading question, but … What’s your favorite holiday?
Halloween, actually! I’m biased, since it’s also my wedding anniversary. 🙂
To sign up for Kasia’s Skrobanki Egg class in Milwaukee, head here.
Kasia Drake-Hames has been teaching art classes to diverse groups of adults and youth in a variety of community-based settings for over 8 years. Kasia specializes in teaching fiber art techniques and paper crafts, particularly traditional Polish paper crafts, which she learned early in life from her grandmother, folk artist Ryszarda Klim.