A few months ago I posted a piece introducing our readers to Branislav Derkovic, a Serbian carver of exceptional quality. Branislav had asked me to send him some of the stone I use to carve icons, commonly called steatite. This stone was traditionally used in Constantinople for carving small miniatures but also portable icons. In exchange for the stone, Branislav suggested sending me some boxwood, the wood used in carving all those wonderful miniatures from Athos we see as pendants and altar crosses.
Branislav said he enjoyed carving the stone. He warned that “It is not a masterpiece. My goal was only to feel the stone.
I can tell that it is a very good material.”
On my part, I really had the chance to discover this magical wood carved by the monks of the Holy Mountain. The piece was an order for a bishop who has suffered much in the last years, and so made it with a knot in the halo of the Theotokos.
Here then is both of our first experiments with new materials, Branislav’s tiny stone stone cross and my own first boxwood panagia.