Workshops and classes from the studio are a unique opportunity to learn about the historic and stylistic vision that informs traditional Orthodox iconography by creating a copy of one of the studio’s icons. In doing so, attendees will learn about the skills—like drawing, making egg tempera paint, and gilding—that are part of making an icon. At the end of the workshop or class, each person will have a small icon of Christ the Pantocrator, made by their own hand, to take home.
Each attendee works through the process of making an icon with the support of Symeon. Workshops are typically limited to 12 students, so that each person can received personal attention and encouragement. All the materials and equipment needed to complete an icon are provided during the week together. The icons themselves are created on simple wooden boards, painted in egg tempera using earth pigments, and gilded with high karat gold leaf. The pigments themselves are usually prepared during class using a variety of tools, which are available for attendees to experiment with during the week.
As those who have attended a workshop can attest, the effort involved in making an icon is demanding but extremely worthwhile. Many students have found the experience to be personally enriching and a blessing that inspires them into the future.
The schedule for a workshop is always flexible and intended to change depending on specific circumstances. But, as an example, below is what a typical workshop looks like:
Evening: A presentation about icons for attendees and open to the public.
Morning: Prayers; Drawing cartoons freehand.
Afternoon: Transferring the cartoon to our board; Etching the board; Prayers.
Morning: Prayers; Making our pigment palette; Creating egg tempera paint; Painting the icon’s undercoat.
Afternoon: Painting the icon’s membrane; Prayers.
Morning: Prayers; Painting the icon’s face;
Afternoon: Bringing life to the face using red, black and white; Prayers.
Evening: Catchup time and Open house for family and guests.
Morning: Prayers; Painting the hair; Painting the robes; Applying gilding mordant;
Afternoon: Free time.
Evening: Applying gold leaf.
Morning: Prayers; Painting the halo; Naming the icon.
Afternoon: Blessing the icons; Prayers; Final thoughts.
During the workshop, we come together as a group and support each other in our work. Often this means that lunch is enjoyed together as well. Eating as a group provides a chance to get to know each other personally and also to talk more deeply about icons. In some cases, accommodations are also arranged for attendees. Most often this is when the place hosting the workshop can also provide a sanctuary, such as when the workshop is happening at a monastery.
Workshops have happened at different churches and monasteries across Canada and are open to anyone who is willing to respectfully approach the task of making an icon of Christ the Pantocrator.
Workshops that are currently planned will appear on this page. If you are interested in one of these, please get in touch directly with the institutions who have organized this event to find out if seats are still available. If interested in discussing the possibility of hosting a workshop, please contact the studio directly.