Icons from Shells

By Jonathan Pageau on April 4, 2013

Here is a surprising video from a Georgian news website of an Archpriest who uses seashells to create decorative images but also icons.  His images are quite “folk” in appearance and composition and the iconography is obviously rather simple as the shells prevent too much detail.   This priest seems quite comfortable as he is shown venerating one of the icons.   I am curious to know what some of you think about this.

The original post can be found here:





  1. Mrs. Rene O'Riordan on April 4, 2013 at 10:05 am

    “…the works draw feelings because they are beautiful..” – that is the true test of sacred art – and these works do draw the heart to higher things. Thanks for this video – blessings – Rene

  2. Orthodox Collective on April 4, 2013 at 10:16 am

    […] https://orthodoxartsjournal.org/icons-from-shells/Thursday, Apr 4th 8:52 amclick to expand… […]

  3. Salvatore on April 4, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Although I don’t find these icons to my liking, I suppose the principal is the same as the tile mosaic icons.

  4. Susan Cushman on April 4, 2013 at 10:49 am

    Beautiful, on so many levels. I love how Father Dimitri uses the beauty of the created world – without changing the colors or anything else about the shells – to create not only works of art, like the flowers, but also icons. He seems to have such a humble, prayerful spirit, and he blesses the icons and prays before them. There may be some Orthodox who will say that icons must be written with paint (some even say they must be done with egg tempera and not acrylics)but these mosaics are very spiritual to me. Thanks so much for sharing this.

  5. Andrew Gould on April 4, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    I agree, this are pleasing and effective folk iconography. Icons can, and always have been, made from any technically suitable material. Of course, some materials offer more detail and color than others, and seashells are limited in this regard. So I certainly wouldn’t endorse seashells as the most logical mosaic medium for icons. But if I were designing a small Orthodox chapel to be built near a beach in a place like Florida that has no natural stone, I would definately consider this as a charming and locally meaningful medium.

  6. Steve Calascione on April 4, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    The maritime theme is very suggestive of the redemption and kind of presages the resurrection. What scripture does with words, these particular icons do with sheer symbolism.

  7. Carl Johnson on April 6, 2013 at 10:45 am

    A great way to use what god has given us.

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