Susan Blubaugh’s work includes mainly two art genres: pysanky or batik eggshell art, and alcohol ink mixed paintings. Pysanky or Ukrainian Easter eggs are intricate colorful designs created on the egg shell through the layering of beeswax and dyes. The geometric shapes, floral designs and animal figures are steeped in symbolism. Over 2,000 years ago, before the time of Christ, people decorated eggs believing that great powers were embodied in the egg. To them, eggs symbolized the release of the earth from the shackles of winter and the coming of spring with its promise of new hope, new life and prosperity. With the advent of Christianity, Easter eggs symbolized the Resurrection and a promise of eternal life. Legend has it that as long as pysanky are decorated, goodness will prevail over evil throughout the world.
Susan’s eggshell designs are inspired by traditional Ukrainian patterns, southwestern Native American pottery designs, Wedgewood Jasper Ware, Cosmati marble floor inlay (found in Italian medieval churches), and her own imagination. White and brown chicken eggs provide the usual canvass for the art, however, Susan also uses quail, duck, goose, emu, rhea, and ostrich eggs shells.
Susan began experimenting with alcohol inks on ceramic tiles and a synthetic paper called yupo. Unlike the pysanky and batik eggs which require control and precision, the designs created with alcohol inks are literally free flowing. Susan’s Spirit Scapes are abstract and representation designs suggesting Pacific Northwest landscapes. Creating a Spirit Scape is an intuitive process that uses no brushes or pre-planned sketches. Coffee stirrers, drinking straws, expired credit cards, and other every-day items are used to move the inks and create designs on the ceramic and yupo surfaces. Susan’s designs are inspired by the mountains, lakes, palisades, rivers, and other geologic features of the Pacific Northwest.