Since 2003 Hexaemeron has been an itinerant school of ecclesial arts. We will celebrate our tenth anniversary in Sao Paulo, Brazil, January 20-26, 2013. As our reach has lengthened to include venues in the western United States and South America, our curriculum has broadened to include ecclesial embroidery and icon carving. Our first course in ecclesial pictorial embroidery, taught by master embroiderer Olga Fishchuk, is scheduled for late September 2012 in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. Our first course in icon carving, taught by master carver Jonathan Pageau, is planned for mid-May 2013 in Santa Barbara, CA,  and is to run concurrently with icon painting and embroidery.

We are tremendously excited about adding icon carving to our offerings for Hexaemeron’s 2013 schedule. Fro​m the earliest sarcophagi to lavish ivory miniatures to the austere Russian low reliefs, icon carving has been a vibrant part of the Orthodox Tradition.

Jonathan Pageau

Our teacher, Jonathan Pageau, is a graduate with honors from the Painting and Drawing program at Concordia University in Montreal. His spiritual journey toward Orthodoxy led Pageau to icons and traditional Christian images. Though disillusioned with contemporary art, Pageau’s love of art was rekindled and he developed a passion for carving. He has been carving various liturgical objects in both wood and stone since 2003. He also studied Orthodox Christian theology and iconology at the University of Sherbrooke in Montreal.

Watch this beautiful video clip of Jonathan working.

As a carver of large icons and miniatures, Pageau’s desire is to renew the ancient art of icon carving that has been neglected in recent centuries. Likewise, Olga Fishchuk’s goal is to spur a revival of the ancient art of ecclesiastical pictorial embroidery. Hexaemeron has partnered with Pageau and Fishchuk in an effort to further their mission and ours.  By bringing serious students to our teachers, we fulfill the mission of the ever quotable Master Iconographer Ksenia Pokrovsky: “I need steady stream to fish. Bring me a steady stream and I will pull the best from it.”

Ground rules for the carving course

Pantocrator carved in linden wood

The course is open to 10 students per site. Pageau teaches this ancient art through both practical work and theory. Students will have the opportunity to carve either in either wood or stone.

Wood Carving

Those wishing to carve in wood are expected to have a basic understanding of woodworking as the course will focus on carving rather than technical aspects like laminating panels or sharpening tools.  Although tools will be available, students should bring whatever gouges they have, ideally 1 straight gouge, 1 scoop gouge and 1 “V” gouge.

Stone Carving

Tools will be made available for those who plan to carve stone.  Each student is expected to leave with at least one finished icon by the end of the class.​  ​​

St Nicholas of Myra carved from stone

Work and theory will intertwine through the week and will address following elements: ​ ​

  • ​​Icon carving in the Orthodox tradition, history with ancient and contemporary examples
  • ​Preparing a panel, choosing a pattern, tracing the pattern.​
  • ​The difference between icon painting and icon carving: drawing for relief, compression of space interpreting iconic style for carving
  • ​Grounding the image and basic shaping
  • ​Light and shadow in carving
  • ​Clothing, hands, hair, faces​​
  • ​​Inscriptions​
  • Finishing and polishing

For a glimpse at Jonathan’s work, visit his website: PAGEAU CARVINGS.

Jonathan is a contributor to the Orthodox Arts Journal; see his article on The Recovery of the Arts   Part 1 and Part 2), which clearly expresses the mission of Hexaemeron. Also see his article on Armenian Carving. We welcome Jonathan to Hexaemeron’s faculty of expert iconographers. We share his belief that “the arts can be a revealing of the Kingdom, the making present of the sacred – the visible, audible and tactile example of how Creation can become sacramental.”

For our 2013 schedule, visit us at