Earlier this month, the children of 57th Street Meeting heard a wonderful story about the origin of easter eggs & learned what traditional colors, patterns and shapes are meant to symbolize. This week, we completed the lesson by making our own easter eggs with natural dyes. For our young Friends, this was an exploration of reuse, repurposing, and surprising beauty.
…along with several tablespoons of Alum (the mordant Joy chose to use; read here about several alternative mordants you can use, some tips & tricks, as well as other suggested ingredients); 1 tablespoon of mordant for every 4 cups of water.
This is called the hot bath method: after you bring the water, ingredient & alum mixture to a boil, you then added raw eggs to each pot (i.e. color), cook for about 15 minutes and then remove from heat. For us, this timed out perfectly. We had started our morning together sharing “roses & thorns” (“joys & sorrows”) and then discussing the original form of each ingredient: the earthy brown beet, the paper-like onion skin, the aroma of turmeric, and the artisan patterns of the sliced cabbage. After going into the kitchen and adding the eggs, then playing while they cooked, we let the eggs steep while we headed upstairs to be among Friends for the break of meeting and left the eggs to sit covered (the longer you leave the eggs in the dye, the darker the color).
When we had learned about traditional colors and their meaning, we had discovered that brown meant “happiness”, purple meant “high power”, yellow meant “spirituality” and red meant “love”/pink meant “success” (note: our beets didn’t work very well, so its unsure color you would categorize ours… a pale red or a pink) –
I definitely think the children experienced happiness while making this gift of easter eggs to the Meeting for potluck. Everyone enjoyed them!
And as our Meeting continues to explore how to teach Quakerism to our children, we will explore the depths of meaning to seek understanding of a higher power (defined in so many different ways);
We are lucky to have each other in this spiritual community;
There is no question: we are teaching peace, practicing love, demonstrating respect (for each other and for our earth), and having enormous success in helping these Quaker children grow.