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5/31/2013 4:37:00 PM
Iconography institute runs June 21-29
Iconographic Arts Institute photo
Student holds icon.
Iconographic Arts Institute photo
Student holds icon.

MOUNT ANGEL — They mix pigment with an emulsion of egg yolk, water and vinegar, exactly as it was done in the fifth through 13th centuries. Following an ancient canon, they draw according to traditional geometric patterns, and then add the gold leaf and paint in color combinations established millennia ago by the world’s greatest iconographers.

Advanced and aspiring practitioners of iconography will convene June 21-29 at Queen of Angels Monastery in Mt. Angel for the annual summer session of the Iconographic Arts Institute, nine days of learning, practice, prayer and community.

Each year, as many as 30 students from the U.S. and Canada enroll in the Institute’s summer session, according to Kathy Sievers, the institute’s communication director. No special skills are required, Sievers says, but a drawing background helps. The Institute is still accepting applications, and visitors wishing to see iconographers at work are welcome during the session.

“When students begin their studies, they receive an introduction similar to adult formation, with a period of inquiry followed by formation, commitment and service,” Sievers said.  “The beginning program allows students to get a taste of what it means to be an iconographer, to ask questions, to briefly try on the vocation of iconography and to learn a prayerful approach to writing icons.”

Icons are “written,” not painted.  Inspired by prayer and Sacred Scripture, the iconographer symbolically portrays spiritual truths through artistic expression.

Says Sievers, “People often come back over and over. They love it because of the community they find here. It’s not like a school that ‘I have to attend to get credit,’ but rather, ‘I want to be with the people who love the things I love.’”

Instructors Mary Katsilometes and Kathy Sievers are local iconographers who have taught at the Institute since the mid 1990s.  Their work may be viewed at local churches including Resurrection Church in Tualatin, and Holy Family Church in Portland, among others.  At times they are joined by Claudia Coose and Ania Kocurek Williams.

For information about the institute, its services and its educational opportunities, visit www.iconinstitute.org.   For information about this year’s session, contact Kathy Sievers at [email protected]

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