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Easter collection on display at the library

Nancy Dietze holds one of the decorated eggs in her Easter collection on display at the Hudson Area Joint Library. Pieces of wheat were dyed different colors, cut into shapes, and glued to the egg. Dietze purchased it at a craft show in Germany. The display also includes Easter bunnies she brought back from Germany. (Hudson Star-Observer photo by Randy Hanson)1 / 9
The Ukrainian Pysanky eggs are Nancy Dietze’s favorites, and the most valuable in her collection. Each color and symbol holds a meaning. (Hudson Star-Observer photo by Randy Hanson)2 / 9
he display of hand-painted eggs includes one with a Native American design, right. (Hudson Star-Observer photo by Randy Hanson)3 / 9
Hand-painted Easter bunnies wear traditional costumes of various German states. (Hudson Star-Observer photo by Randy Hanson)4 / 9
Nancy Dietz purchased these wire-wrapped eggs from a shop in Salzburg, Austria, devoted solely to the sale of decorated eggs. “The wire just fascinated me,” she says. (Hudson Star-Observer photo by Randy Hanson)5 / 9
The patterns on these eggs were painted in hot wax. (Hudson Star-Observer photo by Randy Hanson)6 / 9
A tiny hand-painted quail egg hangs in the center of a hand-painted pewter ring. (Hudson Star-Observer photo by Randy Hanson)7 / 9
A wood-burning tool was used to create the flower on this wooden Easter egg. (Hudson Star-Observer photo by Randy Hanson)8 / 9
A tin of hand-painted wooden Easter eggs. (Hudson Star-Observer photo by Randy Hanson)9 / 9

Now everyone can enjoy Nancy Dietze’s hobby.

The collection of Easter eggs and bunnies that she started years ago when her husband, Fred, was stationed in Germany is on display in the Hudson Area Joint Library.

Just about any type of Easter egg you could imagine is in the display case next to the entrance to the second-floor History Room.

There are chicken eggs, an emu egg, a quail egg – and eggs made from clay, glass, leather, metal and wood.

Some are hand-painted. Some are dyed using a wax process. Some of the wooden eggs have patterns carved or burned into them. Other eggs have paper designs or flattened wheat or tiny mirrors glued to them. The Easter eggs Dietze purchased at a shop in Salzburg, Austria, are wrapped in wire.

“I appreciate the artistry that goes into them,” says Dietze. “It’s the variety, I think, that attracted me.”

Dietze did two tours in Germany with Fred over the course of his 20-year Army career.

Another Army wife enjoyed decorating eggs and introduced Dietze to a craft show where around 40 vendors were selling nothing but Easter eggs.

“Decorated eggs are very big in the Lenten season over there. Everybody decorates with eggs,” she says.

A paper-cutting artist herself, Dietze was impressed by the talent of the European egg decorators and the variety of materials they used.

She began collecting the Easter eggs, which cost anywhere from $10 to more than $100 at shows nowadays.

Her favorites are the Pysanky eggs from the Ukraine. They’re made by drawing patterns on the eggs with hot wax, which protects the covered areas from the dye that is then applied. The process is repeated using different colors of dye until a multi-color design is created.

Each color and symbol has a meaning.

“It takes a fine touch to do that. Something I don’t have the hand for,” Dietze says of the Pysanky eggs. “I’ve tried it and I can’t do it.”

The Dietzes settled in town of Hudson six years ago after Fred retired from the military. They wanted to be close to their son in the Twin Cities, but not too close.

“We got more for our money over here,” including some acreage, she adds.

The Dietzes were active in Kiwanis International when they came to Hudson and organized the Kiwanis Club of Greater Hudson.

Nancy noticed that the library didn’t have an Easter display when she was visiting there about a Kiwanis book donation program.

She offered to bring in her collection of eggs and bunnies, and Library Director Linda Donaldson took her up on it.

“I like to decorate for the holidays. You should see my house at Christmas. I do five full trees,” Dietze says.

The Easter egg collection is easy to share, she says, because the eggs are small and portable.

In Germany, people hang decorated eggs from tree branches they take indoors during the Lenten season, according to Dietze.

She has a metal “waterfall tree” for the same purpose, as well as stands for displaying individual eggs.

“I enjoy sharing what I have so people can learn about the cultures of other countries,” Dietze says.

Her collection will be on display at the library until the Tuesday following Easter, which is April 20 this year.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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