Last month I had the opportunity to give my first icon carving training for Hexaemeron. Hexaemeron is a travelling liturgical arts school based on the work and method of Ksenia Pokrovsky of recent memory. It was an honor to join the Hexaemeron team and to have a chance of working with a very dedicated group of students. I was even given the opportunity the present a lecture on the history of carved images in Orthodoxy.
I have taught art in many guises all my life, but it was my first time teaching icon carving, a skill which I was at first not so certain how to communicate. Unlike icon painting, the complexity of the spacial relations in a low-relief icon is one which eludes a straightforward step-by-step process. I also knew that the carved iconic expression of a face and especially of the eyes is quite difficult to render. And honestly, I had very little mercy on my students by choosing a pattern with much detail.
To my great joy, students rose to the challenge and although not everyone was able to finish, the results were spectacular. Many would stay up at night, using headlights to continue in the darkness.
Most of the students had little or no experience with either carving or the creation of icons, and you could never tell this by looking at the pictures.
I have to say it was a wonderful experience and I look forward to doing it again. Hexaemeron has just posted dates for 2014 classes, so please come join us and discover the carved icon.