Pysanky Expert Joan Brander

artist • author • instructor • lecturer

Saving the world one pysanka at a time . . . . ™

proudly presented by Baba's Beeswax – Discover the Magic of Pysanky

Traditional Easter Pysanky by Joan Brander
Traditional Easter pysanky
Joan Ivanka Brander
Joan "Ivanka" Brander
Hangjing Christmas ornament
Hanging Christmas ornaments
Saving the world one pysanka at a time trademark
Joan's Logo©
On this page:
  1. About Joan Brander – her passion, vision, mission, accomplishments, charities, in the spotlight, and more
  2. Examples of Work – Joan's talent shines through in this visual feast
  3. Social Media Profile
  4. How to Contact Joan Brander
  5. Links that take you to a new page on this website

Pysanky expert Joan Brander saving the world one pysanka at a time1. About Joan Brander

Pysanka expert Joan Brander (who sometimes goes by her Ukrainian name Ivanka) is a Canadian artist, author, instructor and lecturer. She has been immersed in the cultural activity of using beeswax and dyes to make batik-style decorated eggs known as pysanky (pronounced PIH-sahn-kih) her entire life, having learned the tradition as a child from her grandmother whom she called "Baba". She was born and raised in Saskatchewan and now lives in Vancouver.

Her enrichment programs are multi-generational and suitable for Easter, Christmas or any time of year. They include virtual and hands-on interactive workshops, demonstrations, displays and lectures for people from all walks of life and age groups.

Her many published works include a children's activity book, newsletter, bibliography, birthday party planner, instructional guide and countless articles and teaching aids. In 2008 one of her books garnered a place in the bibliography class of the Library of Congress headings—a precedent-setting development. In 2014 she was selected as a finalist for the Arts Education Award from the City of Richmond.

Joan keeps herself busy advancing her goals and ensuring a thriving future for pysanky. Her reputation continues to grow and she is highly sought after by program coordinators to share more than 60 years of knowledge.

Many traditions have been lost over the years, but Joan is doing her part to make sure that the unique art of pysanky egg decorating endures.

Preserving one of the great traditions of all time!

Joan affectionately recalls the time when, as a little girl, she was introduced to the art of Pysanka by her grandmother whom she called "Baba".

"I will always remember Baba as being plump and jolly. Her belly jiggled when she laughed. Her garden of beautiful flowers and bountiful vegetables was lovingly tended to and fun to play in. I remember jumping on her bed of feather quilts with my cousins when we visited her. And I remember with fondness the big wood stove where she baked bread, the scent of melting beeswax, the kitchen table where we worked."

Joan in 1962 In Baba's garden Baba
Ivanka Chyrski in 1962 Baba's Garden Baba in 1962

Joan's first eggs were created without the special dyes and tools she uses today. Back then she made her dyes by soaking sheets of colored crepe paper in boiling water. She made her kistka from metal recycled from a wall calendar. Her first lines of beeswax looked like noodles. She persevered. In her teens she began giving away her Pysanky as "gifts from the heart" to friends people who touched her life, a practice she continues to this day. According to Joan "nothing is more rewarding or pleasurable than to create a lasting gift for a friend."

Even with Easter several months away, Joan has everything ready for her annual ritual. It starts right after Christmas. Before her is a lighted candle, a block of beeswax and a kistka. Jars of brilliant dyes stand at one side. In a bowl rest pagan symbols of the life force—freshly laid eggs, white and smooth. In the same way that the people who originated the pysanka believed in its power, Joan writes symbols on the curved surface of the egg. Her basic design emerges and she bathes the egg in a succession of dyes in the technique akin to batik. Finally she wipes off all the beeswax--and behold! A breathtaking delight.

Passionate about pysanky

Joan began demonstrating and lecturing in the community where educators and program directors took notice of her teaching skills and friendly manner. It wasn't long before they asked her to conduct workshops for them.

Over time Joan amassed a huge collection of her unique works of art and a one of-a-kind library of books. She developed an interest in writing and sharing her knowledge about pysanky.

In the busy weeks prior to Easter, thousands of children and adults, families and seniors, will try their hand at pysanky under the skilled direction of Joan as she shares her knowledge and expertise. It means a lot to her when people exclaim how fun and easy she makes it for them.

Her Vision | Her Trademark Saving the World . . . . one pysanka at a time . . . . ™

The increasing demand for Joan's knowedge and for affordable and accessible supplies motivated her to do more with her egg decorating hobby. As her early years were spent in her parents' hardware store, starting her own pysanka enterprise was a logical next step. In 1991 she started a business, giving it the whimsical name "Baba's Beeswax". She didn' look far to find the ideal name: Baba because she was her inspiration and teacher—Beeswax because of its significance to the technique.

An ancient legend says that as long as pysanky are being made, evil shall not prevail over good in the world.

Joan is committed to saving the world . . . . one pysanka at a time ™ by:

  • creating greater public awareness of the fascinating art of decorated eggs known as "pysanky" in Ukrainian folk-art
  • writing books and resources for teachers, community leaders, and anyone interested in pysanky

Her Mission

Joan is proud to be at the forefront of preserving one of the great traditions of all time. She loves sharing pysanky from workshops and displays to demonstrations and lectures. She enjoys writing books, publishing articles, and connecting through social media. If you think that egg decorating is just for Easter, think again!

Her Accomplishments

Author / Creator

Books, eBooks and Teaching Aids

Listen audio files on BabasBeeswax.comPysanka Power Podcast

  • Episode 1 – The Essentials of Pysanky Ukrainian Easter Eggs
  • Episode 2 – The Ancient Origins of Pysanky and Stories Told About Them
  • Episode 3 – All About Pysanky Dyes
  • Episode 4 –Traditional Pysanky Symbols – Geometric Patterns
  • Episode 5 –The Technique of Using Pencil Guidelines for Pysanky
  • Episode 6 – Types of Ukrainian Decorated Eggs

Watch a video on Baba's Beeswax YouTube channelPysanka Power Videos on YouTube Channel iluvpysanky


Pysanky-Related Designs and Slogans that are Inspirational, Whimsical and Cute on apparel, gifts and novelty items

Visual Artist

  • Presenter, 2008 Pysanka Symposium, Washington, DC 2008
  • Visual Artist, Art Starts in Schools, Vancouver
  • Hidden Passions - British Columbia Institute of Technology (2013, 2018)
  • Richmond Museum
  • Moncton Museum - Eggfest '97 (July 28 to August 10, 1997)
  • Richmond Art Centre – 2013
  • Richmond Art Gallery – 1980
  • Richmond Art Gallery/Richmond School Board "Arts for Life" – 2001
  • Shadbolt Centre Seasonal Celebration – 2010
  • Surrey Museum "Ukrainian Spirit" – 2013
  • Surrey Musuem "Making a New Home: 125 Years of Ukrainians in Canada" – 2016


  • 1995 to 2001 EGGS-aminer, a newsletter dedicated to the art of Pysanky

Awards and Mark of Distinction

  • Arts Education Award, Richmond – Finalist 2014
  • First of-a-kind place in Library of Congress headings in bibliography classification for About the Pysanka—It Is Written!


  • British Columbia Ukrainian Arts Council, Vancouver
  • British Columbia Ukrainian Cultural Festival, Langley
  • Ukrainian Centennial Days, Plaza of Nations, Vancouver 1991 and 2000
  • Canada Day at Canada Place, Vancouver 1992
  • Ukrainian Showcase, Pacific National Exhibition, Vancouver 1992
  • Ukrainian Canadian Congress, BC Branch 2011
  • 120th Anniversary of Ukrainian Settlement in Canada Celebration 2011


  • Ukrainian Community Society of Ivan Franko, Richmond

Charities she Supports

In the Spotlight

  • CBC Vancouver: our Vancouver, Easter eggs, the eastern European way, March 27, 2016
  • Shaw TV Vancouver: go! March 23, 2016
  • Delta Cable Communications: "Plugged IN! Pysanka with Joan Brander", Delta 2008
  • Voice of America, March 19, 2008
  • CityTV, Breakfast TV, Vancouver, March 22, 2005
  • CTV, Vancouver, March 26, 2005
  • Vancouver Cable 10 Echoes of Ukraine Easter Program: "Pysanka Workshop", Produced by Julia Stashuk, Vancouver, 1999
  • BCTV, Vancouver, April 4, 1998
  • Vancouver Cable 10 Echoes of Ukraine Easter Program: "Pysanka Workshop", Produced by Julia Stashuk, Vancouver, 1997
  • Vancouver Cable 10 Echoes of Ukraine Easter Program: "Pysanka Workshop", Produced by Julia Stashuk, Vancouver, 1994
  • Delta Cable 10 Community Events Program: "Bubblebash", Delta 1993
  • CBC The Early Edition with Stephen Quinn April 10, 2023 "How resiliency of Easter pysanky tradition gives Ukrainian-Canadians hope"
  • CBC The Early Edition with Stephen Quinn April 18, 2019
  • CBC BC Today with Michelle Eliot April 18, 2019
  • Nash Holos Interview, August 26, 2018
  • Nash Holos Interview, Vancouver, April 27, 2008
  • CBC, North by Northwest, Vancouver, March 19, 2004
  • See also Pysanka Power Podcast below which debuted on Nash Holos Radio
  • The Globe and Mail : "Fire and Colour" – April 11, 2020
  • Richmond Review – July 2, 2014
  • Richmond Review – August 21, 2013 [link to The Richmond Review website and advance to page 6, or .pdf version]
  • The Richmond News - March 14, 2012 [link to The Richmond News website and advance to page A17, or .pdf version]
  • Diverse, Canadian Multicultural Awareness Magazine focusing on Art + Culture + Heritage, Volume 3, Issue 1
  • The Ukrainian Weekly, April 27, 2008
  • Burnaby New Westminster NewsLeader, March 20, 2008
  • Burnaby New Westminster NewsLeader, April 7, 2007
  • Vancouver Shinpo, March 29, 2007
  • Vancouver Sun, March, 5, 2007
  • Burnaby New Westminster NewsLeader, April 15, 2006
  • Peninsula Lifestyles, April 8, 2004
  • Richmond Review, April 8, 2004
  • Delta Optimist, March 27, 2004
  • Richmond News, April 12, 2003
  • Florida Today, April 4, 2003
  • Richmond News, April 15, 2001
  • Delta Optimist, March 20, 1999
  • Richmond News, March 16, 1997
  • Richmond Review, April 3, 1996
  • Ming Pao, March 16, 1996
  • Richmond News, April 19, 1995
  • Richmond Review, April 19, 1995
  • Vancouver Sun, April 2, 1994
  • Richmond News, March 30, 1994
Digital Media Newsletters and Magazines
  • Nasha Doroha, Spring 2014
  • Diverse, Canadian Multicultural Awareness Magazine focusing on Art + Culture + Heritage, Volume 3, Issue 1, Summer 2011
  • Ukrainian Community Society of Ivan Franko, Richmond, Volume 20, Number 3, Spring 2009
  • Solovei, Volume 4, Number 2, Spring 2008
  • Ukrainian Community Society of Ivan Franko, Richmond, Volume 10, Number 10, Spring 2008
  • Solovei, Volume 1, Number 2, Spring 2005
  • EGGS-aminer, published by Bluenose Press, Richmond, Volume 7, No. 2, July 2001
  • International Egg Art Guild, No. 78, April 1998
  • Ukrainian Community Society of Ivan Franko, Richmond, Spring 1994
  • Contact, published by Ukrainian Canadian Congress, British Columbia Provincial Council, Vancouver

Promoting Pysanky

  • 2008 Pysanka Symposium (Washington, DC) – March 8, 2008
  • Malls
  • Teachers, Schools, Artist in Residence
    • B.C. Art Teachers' Association (1996 to 2004)
    • School Districts of British Columbia
  • Festivals, Multi-Cultural, and Community Events
    • Arts Alive, Langley – 2011
    • BC Ukrainian Cultural Festival 1998 to 2004
    • Chateau Whistler Resort – 2014 to 2018
    • Culture Days – 2014, 2015
    • Dragon Boat Festival, Vancouver – 1996
    • Eurofest, Swangard Stadium, Vancouver
    • Fusion Festival, Surrey – 2011 to 2012
    • International Tall Ships Festival, Richmond (Steveston) – 2002
    • Kaleidoscope: A World in Our City, Richmond – 2004
    • London Farm, Steveston - 1992, 1996, 1997 (Family Farm Fair) and 2011
    • Mountain Secondary School, Langley – 1997 (Multicultural Night)
    • Multicultural Celebration '98, Richmond - 1998
    • Multifest, Richmond - 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997
    • Palmer School (Community Interaction Days), Richmond – 1996
    • Panorama Heights Elementary School, Coquitlam – 1995
    • Plaza of Nations (Ukrainian Days), Vancouver – 1991
    • Pysanka Festival, Vegreville, Alberta – 1998, 1999, 2004
    • Richmond Doors Open – 2014
    • Richmond Nature Park, Richmond – 1991
    • Richmond World Festival – 2017, 2018
    • Rotary Club, Vancouver – 1993
    • Steveston Landing, Steveston - 1994, 1995, 1996
    • Steveston Salmon Festival on Canada Day - 2012 to 2016
    • Svitanok Performing Arts Society of BC – 2002
    • Ukrainian Community Society, Richmond – 1995 to 1999, 2004 to 2018
    • Vancouver European Festival – 2007 to 2015
    • Vancouver Multicultural Society of BC, Cultureshare – 1997
    • Vancouver Museum, Vancouver – 1994, 1998
    • Vegreville Pysanka Festival, Vegreville – 2004
    • Writers' on the Street, Vancouver – 1998
    • Yevshan Spring Festival, Abbotsford – 1998
  • Pysanka Power Podcast
  • Seniors
    • Courtyard Gardens, Richmond - 2006, 2011
    • Fraserview Manor, Richmond - 1994
    • Icelandic Care Centre, Vancouver - 1998
    • Inglewood Care Centre, West Vancouver - 2000
    • Kinsmen Senior Recreation Centre, Tsawwassen - 1997
    • Laurel Place, Surrey - 2009
    • Lions Manor, Richmond - 1996 to 2014
    • Pacifica Resort, Surrey - 2009
    • St. Michael's Senior Centre, Vancouver - 2000, 2001
  • Corporate Events
    • Chateau Whistler Fairmont Resort – 2014 to 2019
    • Delta Town & Country Inn, Delta –1993, 1995
    • Eatons, Lansdowne Shopping Centre, Richmond – 1992
    • Hycroft Manor, Vancouver – 2016
    • MacCallum McIntyre Law Corporation – 1992
    • Pixar Canada – 2013
    • Pryke, Lambert, Leathley, Russell Law Corporation – 2009
    • Richmond General Hospital– 1995 to 1997
  • Churches
    • Fraserview, Richmond
    • Holy Eucharist Ukrainian Catholic Church, Toronto – 2009
    • M.O.P.S., Richmond – 1995
    • Reah Fellowship, South Langley MB Church, Langley – 1994
    • St. Joseph the Worker Church, Richmond – 1995

Educational Background

  • Foam Lake Composite High School, Saskatchewan
  • Seneca College of Applied Arts & Technology, Toronto
  • University of British Columbia
  • British Columbia Institute of Technology

Pysanky expert Joan Brander2. Examples of Work

Pysanky gallery at Baba's pysanky created by Joan Brander Beautiful pysanky created by Joan Brander
Pysanky Gallery –
a huge collection of Joan's creations
Joan Brander's traditional pysanky
displayed in a wooden bowl
A sun motif dominates this
colourful display of pysanky written by Joan Brander
Eggs Beautiful pysanky design by Joan Brander Pysanky studio at Pysanky library at
A vibrant red amd blue poppy motif
admidst dozens of pysanky written by Joan Brander
Pysanky Studio Unique one of-a-kind
Pysanky Library

Pysanky expert Joan Brander saving the world one pysanka at a time3. Social Media Profile

Discover the magic of pysanky on Facebook Facebook Baba's Beeswax – Discover the Magic of Pysanky
Joan Brander Artist and Instructor
Joan Brander Author
Discover the magic of pysanky on Instagram Instagram iluvpysanky
DIscover the magic of pysanky on YouTube YouTube Videos Baba's Beeswax Channel with playlists Pysanky How To's and DIY; Book Previews; Events; Fun Stuff; Pysanky Workshops; and Inside Baba's Beeswax
Discover the magic of pysanky on Flickr Flickr Photo Albums Joan Brander's Photo Albums
Discover the magic of pysanky on LinkedIn LinkedIn Profile Baba's Beeswax
Joan Brander
Discover the magic of pysankyh on Pinterest Our favourite pins on Pinterest Discover the Magic of Pysanky
Discover the magic of pysanky on Blogger Blog Baba's Beeswax
Our trademark blog (under development) Saving the world one pysanka at a time . . . . ™
Discover the magic of pysnaky on Twitter Twitter

Baba's Beeswax

Behind the social media scenes, Joan embraces our cute and whimsical mascot character "Panya Pysanka" for regular posts on anything pysanky-related. To share herknowledge, she draws on not only her heritage, but also over 30 years teaching pysanky to all ages and levels of experience since 1991.

  What are you interested in?  
Panya Pysanka, a cute mascot character depicting Ukrainian Easter Tuesday Tips This is a bi-weekly series of tips and troubleshooting for eggs, beeswax, kistka, dyes, candles, pencil guidelines, removing beeswax, emptying your eggs, varnishing your pysanky, using a drying board, displaying your pysanky and more . . . .
Take a Look. Read a Book! Discover the magic of pysanky, one book at a time. We show you book previews of pysanky books to add to your collection
Friday Funnies Who couldn't use a little pysanka humour to start off the weekend?
A Pysanka Poem Worth Sharing Discover the magic of pysanky one poem at a time in our monthly sharing of these words arranged purposefully with meaning, sound, and rhythm
Ask Us Anything About Pysanky Your questions and answers on tools, technique, tradition and more . . . .
Customer Feedback We heart our customers!
Let's Chat About Pysanky Free ZOOM meetings that are educational in tone and informal in nature


Pysanky expert Joan Brander saving the world one pysanka at a time4. Contact Joan Brander

Address | 3591 Springfield Drive, Richmond, BC V7E 1Z3

Phone  | 604-275-8169

Fax | 604-275-6847

Email | [email protected]

Pysanky expert Joan Brander saving the world one pysanka at a time5. Links that take you to a new page on this website

What are pysanky and how are they made?

Learn pysanky with Joan Brander (online teaching/learning, hands-on interactive workshops, demonstrations, displays, lectures)

About Baba's Beeswax (landing page)

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