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About my carvings
Detail of the "Moses in front of the burning bush" scene from my iconostasis

The carvings you see here are not a line of products, they are examples of my work. Every item is unique. There's no such thing as a standard size or shape. I do not make copies.

I usually work in common walnut (Juglans Regia - sometimes called European walnut even though it covers a much wider region) and boxwood (Buxus Sempervirens), and now and then in rosewood and black walnut (Juglans Nigra) for less detailed and bigger carvings. I mostly use exacto knives and home made carving knives and chisels for carving miniatures, and regular carving tools for normal sized carving.

Wanna learn how to do this? Here it is:

Take a piece of steel, shove it into some sort of a handle so that you can hold it safely, sharpen it, and then use it to cut and carve a piece of wood until it starts to look like one of these you can see here, and then you stop. It's quite simple a procedure, it just takes a lot of time and work. Try not to lose any fingers while learning. If you live in some normal country you can skip the part about home made tools and just go and buy a set of carving knives. That's all there is to it. If you've got it in you it's gonna be a piece of cake, and if you don't you can always hire me :) You'll see that it's literally impossible to work on a miniature longer then five - five and a half hours at once (even if you take breaks). After that time your sight becomes blurred and you're usually done for the day.

About my icons

I paint traditional icons (commonly called Byzantine icons) in the traditional way, using linden boards, traditional gesso, 23,5 - 24 carat gold leaf and egg tempera.

The technique, in short, is this: I go over the board with rabbit skin glue, usually three times. When it's dry (the next day) I use the same glue to glue down a cotton cloth over the future painting surface. When that is dry I apply the gesso (levkas) made out of Bolognese chalk and the mentioned glue. It takes about 15 layers of it. When that is dry (in a few days) I use sand paper to make it as smooth as possible. Then comes gilding - it can be done with "gold size" (glue) commonly known as "mixtion" or with red bole in which case it can be burnished (polished with an agate polisher) or brushed. The gold is then sealed with a few layers of shellac or some other sealant. After that comes painting with egg tempera, drying for 6 months, and varnishing.

Detail of the Archangel Gabriel icon from my iconostasis

The "drying for 6 months" rule is something that most modern iconographers don't do, the reason being that they either don't know about it or simply want to sell the piece as soon as possible, and that the customers also want their order as soon as possible. Unfortunately for them, chemistry and physics look upon our rat race with utter disgust and so what happens is that instead of the protective layer being on top of the layers of color it sinks through and becomes one with them which, in the worst case scenario, leads to the icon peeling off in a few years or decades or, in the best case scenario, makes the icon irreparable when the time comes (given the quality of most of them that perhaps isn't such a bad thing).

This should serve as a warning to people who are in a hurry to buy an icon for that special occasion that is only a month away - whoever makes it for you should leave it unprotected until at least 6 months pass by; only then can the paint layer be safely sealed. At the same time you should warn the receiver not to touch or wet the surface in any way until it is sealed.

One thing about icons themselves - a lot of people with protestant background see icons as idols, the "graven images" that God warned about in the ten commandments. Seeing how in Orthodox Churches people bow to icons and kiss them doesn't help in changing their mind. So here's the explanation:

God did not forbid art, he forbade people to take art for something more than it is. The proof for that is that God himself told Moses to instruct Bezaleel to whom He gave artistic talent (Exodus 35:31-35; 36:1) to make, among other things, the Arc of the Covenant with two Cherubim on top of it. So making carved or painted images is not forbidden in itself - taking the made images to be deities is forbidden. The problem with the golden calf was not that people made it (that part is just art) but that they started worshipping it instead of the one God.

The orthodox explanation of bowing to and kissing icons is that "the honor given to the image is transferred to its prototype" (St. Basil the Great). The best example of that is this one - it is quite common that people will kiss a photograph of their loved ones when they miss them (grandmas so often do that with pictures of their grandchildren) and yet it is clear that they're not really kissing the photograph but the person in the photograph. Likewise, when a person is praying in front of an icon of Christ they are not praying to the physical object with Christ's face on it but to the Christ Himself, the physical object is there only to give them a point of focus. We as humans simply have the need to perceive things with our senses, it's the way we are created. An ancient Greek praying in front of the statue of Zeus in Athens wasn't retarded - he knew he wasn't really praying to the big block of stone in front of him but to Zeus himself, but the big block of stone was a convenient way to focus his attention. His paganism wasn't defined by praying in front of the statue, but by praying to a made up deity.

However, why people would feel the need to kiss either the icon as a physical object or the person whose face is painted on it is a whole different story and I will get into that as soon as I find time, given that I really dislike that archaic custom.

About me
George I was born on 6. May 1976. (at 5.02 PM) in Langen, a small place near Offenbach (a not such a small place near Frankfurt on Main) in Hessen, Germany. When I was about three months old (not strong enough to fight back, that is), my father decided that we should move back to Yugoslavia (that's SFRY), and so I was brought to Serbia.

I never got used to it.

I grew up relatively normal, apart from apparent signs of artistic interest and its usual side effects. I was one of those kids who prefer tools to toys and a pencil to a know, just not dumb enough to be happy.....My parents dealt with it the best they could, but eventually gave up on trying to fix me. Thanks to their lack of persistence you're reading this right now.

I like to carve, paint, sing and play music. I like computers. I like human psychology (not the official, useless one, though). I used to like to read and write but just can't seem to find the time for it now so I've decided to be illiterate for a while, just to see how it goes...... I like long walks, but have no time for them either ..... Classical story - the more you know what to do with your time the less you have it.......

I like to breathe.... I forget to do it sometimes, though... I like cats and really can't understand cat haters...... I like how the rain smells in the summer..... In short: I like being alive. Of course, that's all on a good day.......

I'm allergic to obnoxious drunk people, front sides of cameras and agricultural work.

I currently live in MN, USA.

Artist Statement

No, thank you. I hate so called artist statements, I think they're all a bunch of ...... (fill in with a derogatory term of your choice). Have you ever wondered why they usually sound like they've been written by an art critic? And why, regardless of the artist's nationality, the statement is almost always in Gibberish?

Or, for those of you who grew up in a polite environment:

No, thank you. I don't like artist statements, I think they’re nonsense some artists feel pressured to write to convince critics that their art is worthwhile.