Icon of Saint Stephen the Protomartyr. Photo by Sam Landry

Icons at Home

Beginning this Advent, a series of Orthdox icons is being made for sixteen rooms typically found in modern homes. These icons are being commissioned by people from across Canada using trational methods and materials. A series of these prints will also be available, individually or as part of a subscription

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Making a Traditional Icon Panel

January 27th, 2018

Working with wood to make a panel remains something I love about making traditional orthodox icons. Maybe it’s the smell of the cut wood, which… Read more

Woad Blue

November 16th, 2017

It seems to me that all blues are the colour of the air—and this is certainly the case for woad blue. As the fall season… Read more

Local Colour in Icons

June 15th, 2017

Yesterday an article of mine appeared in the Orthodox Arts Journal entitled, “Local Color in Icons”. The piece is a reflection of how living in… Read more

Slow Goods

The Conestoga Icon Studio is proud to be part of the burgeoning Slow Goods movement. While the practice of iconography has been around for thousands of years, it has not been immune to the manufacturing approach that currently drives our economy. However, traditional iconography has much to offer in reconsidering the involvement of local materials and people; what it means to make something good; and the environmentally clean approach our faith demands.


The materials used in making these icons primarily come from within a stones-throw of the studio. All of their colours and wood are harvested around the village of Conestoga. This use of local colours and other materials not only celebrates the community, but shapes the very vision of the saints.


These icons are examples of fine craftsmanship and are made to last. Their panels are solid wood and won’t delaminate or dissolve over time. Their pigment colours are bright and won’t fade. If taken care of they will last for centuries. Good work like this embodies making things from the earth with the humility to walk lightly and listen to our materials.


Everything used to create these icons is really just being borrowed from the environment. The icon’s colours are pigments made from soil and rocks bound with egg yolk. It’s panel is wooden and its glues are all made from animal proteins. When the icon is damaged beyond repair, it can be burned (without releasing toxic fumes) or buried, and will naturally decompose back to the earth.


Symeon’s icons are a hymn of praise, drawing as they do on the local palette of each region of Canada, they calls each of us to a deeper regard for our fragile world, a deeper attention to the Holy Spirit who, “is everywhere present and fillest all things.”

—David J. Goa

Icon of Christ the Pantocrator

About these Icons

A long time ago, a monk handed me a palette knife and told me to come and learn to paint icons. I accepted the call, and today work as a full-time iconographer.

The icons made in the Conestoga Icon Studio represent a vision of the Kingdom of God from the New World. While drawing deeply from the rich tradition of Eastern Orthodox iconography, their aim is to create a contempory vision for prayer in the Americas. As such they embody an innocence, candidness, and joy. These icons are more stylized and flatter than those of other schools—lines are bold, colour’s frank, and clothing rendered in a simple geometry.

All the materials I use in making an icon come from the land—my pigment colours most often being found around the village of Conestoga where I live and work. Foraging from the soil, plants, and animals, I take what I harvest and create a testament to the love of God which energizes the whole earth.

I make icons for churches, missions, and homes, offer workshops coast to coast, and regularly present on my iconographic work.


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