Egg Art

Masterful women from Adlešiči, Slovenia, are taking Easter egg adornment to the next level

By Slovenian Tourist Board

Nada Cvitkovič with her decorated eggs (2021) by Domen GröglSlovenian Tourist Board

Michelangelo had marble, Frida Kahlo had canvas, Banksy has walls. And Nada Cvitkovič has egg shells. 

She is one of the few masters, who excel at creating the most fascinating red, white and black Easter eggs, using special tools and an abundance of patience. 

Blowing Easter eggs (2021) by Domen GröglSlovenian Tourist Board

When she brings the white eggs from a local farm, she carefully chooses the suitable ones. “Only few will be perfect for drawing,” she says. “The shell has to have a smooth surface without any bumps or stains.” 

Then, she perforates the egg in two places and blows the egg out. The “canvas” is ready. 

Heating wax for drawing on the Easter eggs (2021) by Domen GröglSlovenian Tourist Board

She meticulously prepares her workspace. There are some eggs, some stay full, some are already blown-out. 

She fills the drawing tool with wax and melts it above the flame. 

There is bee wax and the burning candle. By the table, there is a bowl with red dye and a pan with black dye. 

Decorating Easter eggs with hot wax (2021) by Domen GröglSlovenian Tourist Board

When she starts drawing the delicate wax lines, she is remembering her past. She never intended to live in the farthest corner of Slovenia. She loved Ljubljana, the capital city, where she studied. But love brought her back. 

Woman decoration Easter eggs (2021) by Domen GröglSlovenian Tourist Board

Back home, her mother-in-law, one of the most well-known craftswomen in the region and beyond, taught her the process she is displaying. Moreover, she even taught her how to grow flax, extract linen fibre, spin it to the thread and then manually weave it.

Nada still does the whole process. All the linen that is in the house was made by her on the 200-year old wooden loom. 

Eggs decorated with wax (2021) by Domen GröglSlovenian Tourist Board

With a distinct sparkle in her eye, Nada checks her egg work so far. 

The waxy ornamental patterns are diverse, playful, and mostly geometrical. 

Painting eggs decorated with wax in red (2021) by Domen GröglSlovenian Tourist Board

Inspiration for all the shapes they used in the past came from nature,” she points out when she dips the waxed eggs in the red dye. One can tell that Nada just loves lines. 

Under her fingers they are drawn so perfectly it is almost impossible to believe they are all made by hand and by heart. Namely, Nada never draws patterns on paper.  

Red coloured egg with another layer of wax (2021) by Domen GröglSlovenian Tourist Board

Where the egg was white before, it is now bright red after some time of soaking in cold dye. Only waxed surfaces take in no colour at all. “In the old times they used beetroot for the red, but nowadays we use certain-coloured red crepe paper.” 

Blowing water from the eggs (2021) by Domen GröglSlovenian Tourist Board

It is of utmost importance to blow out all the excess water in the egg, so it doesn’t ruin the egg shell later. 

At this point, Nada is only in the middle of the process. And it took an hour or so to get there. 

Decorated red eggs (2021) by Domen GröglSlovenian Tourist Board

Adlešiči eggs are enlisted on Slovenia’s cultural history list, greatly because of Nada’s efforts. She is tirelessly sharing her knowledge with anyone interested. 

My daughter is already much better at it than I am. And my apprentices at the school where I work have won many prizes for the most beautiful Easter egg.” 

Waxing red coloured eggs (2021) by Domen GröglSlovenian Tourist Board

Now, it is time for some more waxing. Nada waxes the parts of the egg that she wants to keep red at the end. “When I’m drawing, I try to imagine how the egg will look when it comes out of the dye." 

"But it always surprises me a bit. That is one of the charms of this art.” 

Painting eggs decorated with wax in black colour (2021) by Domen GröglSlovenian Tourist Board

As usual, the final phase is the most dramatic. Anything that wasn’t waxed will become pitch black dark when cooked in textile dye. In the past, they used oak bark to colour the eggs dark. 

Handmade decorated Easter eggs close up (2021) by Domen GröglSlovenian Tourist Board

After an hour of cooking, Nada removes excess wax with oil, which adds a chic shining to its surface. The signature egg from the region of Bela Krajina is born after a couple of hours of work. 

Putting handmade tassel and string on the decorated egg (2021) by Domen GröglSlovenian Tourist Board

Adlešiči eggs can be made either full or blown-out. When emptied, Nada loves to adorn them with bright red hand-made tassels and strings, which emphasize the complex beauty of the egg art. 

Finished decorated Easter egg (2021) by Domen GröglSlovenian Tourist Board

Adlešiči eggs are not just Easter eggs that are to be taken to Easter mass as a symbol of the Creation. No, they are a chic souvenir and even much more. As a symbol of fertility, eggs were and still are a common love-expression item. 

Written messages like “As intense as the red on the egg, my love burns for you!” often decorate an egg's surface.

Handmade decorated Easter eggs on the wooden plate (2021) by Domen GröglSlovenian Tourist Board

Today, these signature eggs are an important craft that greatly honours the centuries-old tradition. 

And Nada is quite hopeful that the burning love she has for the craft will burn further with younger generations.

Handmade decorated Easter eggs on the wooden plate (2021) by Domen GröglSlovenian Tourist Board

Easter eggs are always taken to Easter mass in wicker baskets. In Slovenia, many people still know how to hand-make them. Here is the story about this amazing craft. 

Credits: Story

📣 Special thanks to:
Nada Cvitkovič


Story by Anja Leskovar

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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