The Unusual Glass-Bead Icons of Angelika Artemenko

By Andrew Gould on January 24, 2013

Icon by Angelika Artemenko

I have just learned of a most unusual iconographer from Ukraine whose medium is primarily glass beads. Her name is Angelika Artemenko, 26 years old. Despite her unconventional technique, she works with great care and piety, emphasizing the blessing of her bishop in all she does.

Ms. Artemenko begins by painting the hands and faces on canvas. She then embroiders all the fabric and background features using tiny glass beads and gemstones. A medium-size icon includes about 50,000 beads. Stylistically, her work combines elements of folk art and canonical iconography.

I find her work interesting in that the beadwork seems to lie somewhere in between an ornate riza, which is separate from the image, and embroidered drapery, which is part of the image. Of course, beadwork itself is not unusual on icons; some important icons have cloth rizas or frames embroidered with pearls and gems. And many embroidered icons include pearl beads in the halo. The use of beads exclusively on the drapery and backgrounds is something I’ve not seen before. It lacks integration with the painted flesh, and so could be seen as problematic compared with regular icon embroidery. But seen as a sort of riza, analogous to a stamped metal covering, it is not so unprecedented. Like so much iconography of a popular or ‘folk art’ genre, the love and devotion apparent in the work transcends the unconventional style. The result is an unexpected and endearing beauty.

Additional information:

Icon by Angelika Artemenko

Icon by Angelika Artemenko

Icon by Angelika Artemenko

Icon by Angelika Artemenko


Icon by Angelika Artemenko

Icon by Angelika Artemenko

Icon by Angelika Artemenko

Icon by Angelika Artemenko


  1. Orthodox Collective on January 24, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    […] Jan 24th 12:43 pmclick to expand…The Unusual Glass-Bead Icons of Angelika Artemenko, Jan 24th 1:30 pmclick to expand…Using Colors According to Tradition […]

  2. Fr Joseph Lucas on January 24, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    This style is similar (albeit more complex than) a folk technique used in parts of Romania. I have inherited a few such icons with painted faces/hands, with the remainder embroidered and accented by some beads and other ornaments.

  3. Bazarov Igor on January 24, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    Thank you for the wonderful post. Its great. All icons are beautiful!!! Angelika Artemenko is the unique master.

  4. Mary Corbet on January 24, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    Absolutely stunning work! Thank you so much for sharing it!

  5. Jonathan Pageau on January 25, 2013 at 9:50 am

    In looking at the iconography, one gets the feeling that the icons are painted by different hands, there are three distinct styles in the presented icons. I wonder if she also covers other people’s work.

  6. Maja on January 25, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    Beautiful icons!

  7. Bazarov Igor on January 26, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    Hello! All icons has been created by Angelika Artomenko it 100%. All faces are painted by she’s hand!

    • Jonathan Pageau on January 27, 2013 at 9:49 pm

      Thank you. She is quite versatile.

  8. lana kokayeff on February 10, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    absolutely breathtaking..

  9. Sona Sarian on February 13, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    Absolutely exquisite work!

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