My first Icon Workshop and Icon Master Class
Happy birthday to my favorite older brother!
Today in my Russian class I was given some difficult homework: memorize a blurb about what I do normally each day: “A day in the life of Allison” if you will. We also worked on conjugating adjectives, weather words, and conjugating the 2nd form of verbs. I realized that we do A LOT each day and that is why it is so easy to fall behind. After class I went by myself (Maria was busy) to see my first Icon workshop! The name of the workshop is Art-Craft and it was everything I had imagined, honestly: A decent sized apartment filled with huge panels for an Iconostas with 5 people working on different aspects of each icon. Yaroslava, the woman who spoke to me (in pretty good English), explained the aspects of the workshop to me. She does the drawings for the icons, another person does the clothes, another does the faces, another the gold leaf and back ground, and another the clean up and general helping. She said they sometimes have students from the Orthodox school help out by drawing or completing a task or two, but I could tell right away that even if they let me hang out I would have nothing to do. I needed to be there from the beginning, and as Yaroslava kept saying, “We are too small, the studio is too small for too many people.” So I didn’t push to have them let me help paint or anything. They have delegated the tasks and there is nothing for me to do there. Also, I haven’t learned how to paint Icons yet…
I think in Moscow I will have a better opportunity to work in a workshop. Yaroslava said I could come back and see how they are progressing in a few weeks, so I am excited for that.
After our meeting I walked to the nearby St. Simeon Church which is one of the oldest in St. Petersburg. When I went inside I was confronted with museum staff that didn’t speak any English and again I got flustered and so one of the women just handed me a pamphlet about the church in English and I said thank you and left without looking at the icons. I will go back another time and hopefully construct some helpful sentences that I remembered as soon as I left the church. Phrases like, “Skwelko Stoweet Muzsye’ee?” (how much is the museum), “Ee Photoaparat?” (and photography). Next time I will do better!
Today after class I went to Philip’s studio. We ate lunch and then I power sanded the panels… this was the one day where I actually needed my mask. Darn it! Philip seemed very pleased with how they turned out… but they turned all my clothes white. I then met Lana for tea and dinner at the same bleenee place . Lana is nice and she gave me a little set of lotions as a gift. How sweet! I am excited for moving to her apartment!
During the day on Saturday I mostly worked on my drawing for my Icon class. Then for dinner I went with Denis to a pretty good, fresh Italian place called Testa. After dinner he took me to a few hip bars (including one that had a cat and was also a laundromat). We also went a house party which was a “moving in” party where we all helped to take out the trash. This is, apparently, a Russian tradition. So we all carried pieces of wood and random bits of debris to a big trash bin around the corner. This apartment was pretty run down (the ceiling was sort of crumbling). It was an intimate house party with only about 10 people, it was an interesting event for me because many of the people there where somehow involved in the arts…it was like a little Russian Bohemian art kid party. One of Denis’s friends, Nastia, is pretty active in the art scene here and she agreed to let me interview her in the coming week. I think it will be interesting to hear her feelings and opinions on the art world both locally and globally. On Sunday I spent the day working some more on my drawings and my Russian homework.