Icon Workshop: St. Euphrosynos

Today we are on the fourth day of the icon workshop at Icon Arts studio.  Students are working on an icon of St. Euphrosynos the Cook. I will post pictures soon.

Byzantine Art exhibit at the Smithsonian National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.

Originally published January 4, 2014

I happened to be in D.C. over Christmas break and stumbled upon a new Byzantine Art exhibit at the National Gallery of Art! It was a small exhibit but with very fine examples of Byzantine Art from different periods of the Byzantine Empire. They had marbles, illuminated manuscripts, icons, mosaics, frescoes, jewelry and more. It was fantastic! I loved most a manuscript scroll with the priest’s prayers for the Liturgy of St. Basil. It was unrolled to the very beginning and had a most beautiful illumination. I wish I had had more time to admire it. I also saw one of my favorite icons which they call “Man of Sorrows” from the 12th century. It is really “Extreme Humility” and it was one of the icons I selected to write during the workshop I organized for the Prosopon School in Austin a couple of years ago. It was a most powerful icon to write and I was so happy to have been able to see the original in person. It was part of a double sided icon with the Theotokos Odigitria on the obverse with a surprisingly sad furrowed-brow expression, and the Christ on the other. As a set, her expression makes sense as the lifeless body of Christ is on the reverse. The images below are of an informational plaque about the exhibit upon entering, and the icon I wrote of the Extreme Humility after the original in this exhibit. The link for the exhibit is: http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/features/byzantine.html

IMG_1788Extreme Humility 2011

Silver repoussage workshop Italy/ final week

Originally published November 6, 2012

I am finally ready to add the pics for the silver repoussage portion of the workshop in Italy. We had a busy second half of the 10-day workshop in Italy and returned home to a busy schedule. To recap, after the visit to Giusto Manetti Battiloro in Florence and the last day of iconography which culminated in the Cooks and Butchers fair in Greve, we began the silver portion of the class. We had 5 full days of work and the last day we welcomed the local priest from the Church of the Elevation of the Cross who was invited by our host Gianpaolo Lensi to come to our class and say a prayer with us. We also were interviewed by the Tuscan television station who came to Terre di Baccio to do a local cultural interest piece about the activities taking place at agricultural Estate of Terre di Baccio. The youtube link for the interview is attached at the end of this blog.

Lee Ann just traced the design on her silver sheet.

Our repousse class began with a practice session for all the different techniques on a sheet of copper. Then, we began to trace the drawing of our design on the silver sheet.

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Cooks and butchers’ fair on Sunday at the piazza in Greve

Originally published October 10, 2012

On Sunday October 8th, our iconography group took a late lunch to finish our icons and then go to the piazza in Greve to the Cooks and Butchers’ fair. We were delighted to find several tents spread out on the piazza. One of them selling tickets for the meal which included a plate of a variety of delicious grilled ribs, chops and sausages, white beans, bread, a glass of Chianti from the region and a bottle of water. In addition, there were a variety of vintage cars parked all along the piazza. It was a beautiful afternoon and a relaxing reward for a hard week’s work.

Later that afternoon there was a parade with standard bearers, drummers, flag holders and a lot of people dressed in Renaissance style. Pics follow.

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Icons are finished! And now the silver work has begun.

Originally published October 9, 2012

On Sunday we finished all our icons of the crucifixion. On Monday morning before we began the silver repousse class to make the budded ends of the cross, we took a picture with all our crosses newly finished.

Today the day was cloudy and rainy, yet the landscape is still the most beautiful there is. There is no bad view of the valleys and the hills from anywhere in this area or any kind of weather.

Tomorrow, I will post pictures of the silver work.

The whole class with their crosses finished. The budded ends will be covered with repousse silver this week!

Work in the studio and lunch outdoors

Originally published October 6, 2012

Today is the 4th day of class and tomorrow we will finish the icon. It was such a beautiful day, Gianpaolo set our lunch table outdoors. Tomorrow we hope to finish the icon in the morning and then go into the piazza in Greve for a fair and a look at a classics bicycle race that will go through town in the afternoon.

These are some of the pictures of the day, working at the studio, a view from the coffee stand outside the studio, and our beautiful lunch table outdoors.

Students working in the studio

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Visit to Giusto Manetti Battiloro and Galleria dell’Accademia

Originally published October 5, 2012

Today was our day off from iconography to visit the 1870’s factory of Giusto Manetti gold beaters in Florence. We were met by my contact Eddie Martin who gave us the tour of the factory. We arrived at 10 AM and were welcomed right away. We first went upstairs to a classroom where there were three people picking 0.30 micron-thick sheets of gold with wooden tweezers and palette knife, cutting them by hand and placing them in books. They were training people in this particular skill. Then, we were taken to the foundry where they melt the gold ingots and start the rolling process. We saw the melting and cooling of a piece of gold and got to hold a two pound and a one pound ingot of pure gold. It will probably be the most money I will ever hold in one hand! After that we went to another room where they begin cutting gold and silver strips in to tiny squares which then begin to be hammered into increasingly thinner sheets. There are about three different hammering stages and finally then the hammering is done by hand. These thin sheets are the ones that are cut by hand by the ladies we saw in the classroom; except most of this work is done by many people at home.

Irene and Maga in front of the Giusto Manetti factory.

Students waiting to enter the Giusto Manetti Gold Leaf factory building.

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Beautiful scenery around Terre di Baccio, Greve

Originally published October 3, 2012

Today in class, one of our attendees remarked that when God made the garden of Eden for Adam and Eve it must have looked just like Greve.

I cannot agree more with that observation as this afternoon while running through the forested hills of the Terre di Baccio Estate with my friend and co-facilitator Maga. We enjoyed some of the most beautiful views of the country side this afternoon before sunset.

Montefioralle from the hills

the town of Montefioralle on the other side of the hill of Terre di Baccio

Maga and Irene running on the forest trails in the vineyards with cities in the background

Co-owner fo Terre di Baccio Gianpaolo and
my brother Gonzalo picking almonds.

Just arrived at Terre di Baccio

Originally published SEPTEMBER 29, 2012

At CDG in Paris about to board the plane to Florence.

Maga and I are about to board the plane from CDG Paris to Florence. We have just arrived at Terre di Baccio after a late but much needed and delicious lunch at the Greve town square.

My brother Gonzalo was very nice to pick us up a the airport and take us on some errands.

We are looking forward to the arrival of our iconography workshop attendees on Monday. We received a warm welcome by Ilaria and Gianpaolo Vestrini. Here are some more pictures of Terre di Baccio, the scenery and our beautiful apartment.

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Antiochian Village Residency

Originally posted September 26, 2012

  • During the last night of our residency at the Antiochian Village for the St. Stephens Course in Iconology, we host a studio tour so all the other students at the residency can view the work we did during our nine days of residency.
  • This is the icon I worked on while at the Village. The Iconology teacher has each student pick a detail of an icon to paint on a masonite panel with gold foil and acrylic paints. This was actually the first time I have ever painted with acrylic paints. We had a hectic schedule, short studio time and a very busy teacher who was stretched thin with eight students at all levels.

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