This workshop opened in 1999 and is among the oldest at the Convent. Its main product is works of visual arts made with crushed minerals and semi-precious stones, rather than traditional paint, to add richness, durability and glow to the colours.
Unlike the conventional artist, who can mix the paints to achieve the desired hue, we get the same effect by using a variety of minerals and stones, which come from places as far as China, Kazakhstan, or Russia’s Ural mountains. Furthermore, all the minerals are crushed and ground by hand, as fractions of different fineness are needed to achieve the visual effects common for conventional pictures, such as depth and perspective. Finer grains are needed to paint backgrounds, small and more distant objects, while the larger details and images in the foreground require thicker fractions.
The making of a picture of crushed stone is also a complex process that consists of many stages. The first stage typically involves the drawing of an outline on a substrate, of which marble is one of the most common. This is followed by a process called ‘pouring’, in which layers of colour are added, one after the other, with the aid of a miniature tool known as the spoon. This requires from the artist great skill, meticulous attention to detail, and certainly a lot of patience and diligence. But the final product is worth the great effort, pleasing the eye by a play of hues and colours and a unique glow not achievable by any other technique.
You can check this out for yourselves by browsing the images of our icons in crushed stone and our other works, or by placing an order for a custom-made icon or picture.
Skilled artisans work side by side with the disadvantaged residents of the monastic farmsteads.