Conestoga Icons
Dear [subscriber:firstname | default:reader],

With the fearful uncertainty that many people are experiencing in the world right now, the rhythms of the studio's day-to-day work are a comfort. The ongoing daily routine of rising early, daily prayers and focused work provide ballast in the studio amid the waves.

That said, there are new routines afoot, too. As I write this, my children's school has closed for the next couple of weeks, so the studio now has five eager helpers each afternoon. That means that a lot of new work is getting done (as you'll see below) and I think that space is probably cleaner than it's ever been. Beyond these tangible effects, the hum of enthusiastic voices working away on their projects is perfect for the space.

Evidence of the joy to be found in daily work often happens here. Another voice that joined its chorus a few weeks ago was my daughter's. After a day of gessoing two large boards and passing back and forth between studio and house between the dozen applied coats, I overheard her as she told her friend, "See, we live the best life. Look at the gesso on our doorknob!"
Gesso on the doorknob.
I hope that the studio's newsletter shares with you a bit of this joy amid the current worry and fear. I hope that you, too, will take special notice of these little moments of joy in life amid the flurry of current events. —Symeon

The Conestoga Iconographic Studio
"A Vision of God's Salvation"



"I saw the snares of the devil laid out upon the ground, and I said: Who can flee from these? And an angel said to me: Humility." —Saint Anthony

For many of us, the liturgical season of Lent is an especially appropriate time to draw close to the Desert Fathers and Mothers. These abbas and ammas lived in the deserts of Egypt and Syria from the third to fifth centuries. They embodied the profound holiness possible in following the example of saints like John the Baptist. And, in doing so, they became saints themselves.

Last year, a young Coptic couple commissioned an icon of Anthony to Great for their home. Anthony (†356 AD) is known as the father of desert monasticism, leading thousands into the desert by his example. Their great love of this saint was evident throughout the whole process of making the icon, and their continuous engagement blessed the work.

Given that the husband, Mark, regularly gives sermons at their church, I asked a few months ago if he'd be willing to write something about this saint that we could share on the studio's website. He has graciously done so, and I hope that you will find the article as edifying as I did.

The article, The Life of Saint Anthony the Great, can be found here:
Prints of the icon can be purchased here:


Since the studio first began making its own blue pigment out of the woad plants we grow each year; we've experimented with the pigment called Maya Blue. This month we spent some more time with this bright, light-fast blue, and the results are inspiring.

You can read about the work and its effect in the article that appears on the studio's website:


Claire curating the studio's pigment collection.
Michael weeding the woad plants.
Emmanuel cleaning up the studio's wood shop.
Adèle making envelopes for the studio's prints.
Elise grinding new pigments for paint.


With the current restrictions on groups and gatherings, we can't be sure what the future holds for our workshops this year. Currently, these events are still planned for the summer, but we'll keep you informed as the situation develops.
This workshop is scheduled to happen at the Sisterhood of Saint John the Divine in Toronto during the week of June 21st. It is a repeat of last year's workshop, which was a wonderful time of working and praying together. Currently, there are still seats available for this year's workshop.

To find out more and reserve your place, please [email protected]
This workshop is being planned for the week of July 19th, 2020 at the parish of St. Mary the Virgin in Regina, Saskatchewan.

To learn more about the experience we had last year, please read, A word from St Mary’s Church in Regina:

Please contact St Mary the Virgin's Anglican Church to find out more at:
[email protected]
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