Sara Gatilogo is a crafter of jewelry based on a traditional Ukrainian egg dying process. Sara began her developing her craft at age 16, working with Emily Fleenor, one of her current partners in the Cackleberry Studios in Waynesville. In 2016, Josh Fleenor utilized their process in jewelry decoration and thus was born “egg shell jewelry,” a unique craft item at Cackleberry.
Cackleberry Studios was created by sisters, Sara Gatiligo and Emily Fleenor, while they were still in high school. The pair sold eggs for fundraisers and worked with the Village of Yesteryear at the NC State Fair. Emily’s husband, Josh joined the duo and they perfected their style of decorating egg shells and transforming them into beautiful jewelry using a variation of the Pysanky art method.
Pysanky, or Ukrainian egg painting, is a centuries old traditional art form found in much of Eastern Europe. Beeswax is used to paint the egg and then placed in a special dye bath until the desired color is achieved. Once removed from the dye the wax is melted away, revealing the design. A protective coat of varnish is then applied to the egg shell to preserve the colors and to strengthen the shell.
To create their pendants and earrings, Cackleberry Studios melts the wax off the egg shells after dying, then cuts out the design on the shell left by the wax removal. The inside of the shell is then filled with a casting resin and the design is sealed with a polyurethane varnish. A hole is drilled and the chain or hooks are applied for stunning jewelry.
The eggs used for Cackleberry Studios come directly from chickens raised by the Fleenor and Gatiligo families in their own back yards. They believe that, “Caring for God’s creatures in sustainable ways brings honor to Him and health to our family.”