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 our icons in crushed stone and our other works, or by placing an order for a custom-made icon or picture.
We invited Sister Yelena to talk about her service to God and others, her workshop and plans for spiritual and personal growth.
Ever since its launch, the workshops’ craftsmen have been making pieces of great beauty and magnificence.
Lay and monastic brothers and sisters, many of whom are professional painters and art experts, have worked on restored hundreds of icons of different types.
Icons are painted on thoroughly dried wooden planks covered with a coat of natural materials.
Father Sergius Nezhbort, who is a priest of our Convent and the head of our Icon Painting Studio, is our guest today. We are going to talk with him about how he became an icon painter; how the studio grew and developed.
The fundamental objective of an icon restorer is to recover the integrity of the icon image for prayer. Much like a bomb technician, an icon restorer works in constant fear of irreversible consequences from a single false move.
The tradition to put icons in Rizas, or covers, comes from Byzantine and the Kievan Rus. Their artisans designed the processes for producing icon covers from precious metals, reserved for the most revered icons.