NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Organic pigments, 24K gold leaf, and lots of faith enables non-artists to become an ‘icon writer’. In 2009 Teresa Darby of Nacogdoches took her first icon writing workshop. You could say she was called by God.
“An icon is called a ‘Window to Heaven’,” said the stained glass artist and former graphic artist.
Darby explains a person writes an icon. It tells a story. More than a painting on the wall, believers say the serene images strengthen faith.
“It’s a spiritual process for the person that’s doing the piece.”
Icon writing is spiritual symbolism or language handed down over centuries.
“St. Luke knew the Virgin Mary. He was a painter. He actually wrote the first icon,” said Darby.
She explains the spiritual lessons come during each step of icon writing. The materials are specific. Organic pigments, natural eggs, and white wine. Then there’s a halo of 24K gold that’s blown onto the image.
“Just like the breath of God. We breathe onto the clay of man to apply the gold,” Darby explains in pure enjoyment while gesturing to her heart. “It’s so cool,” she says, with laughter.
An image of the beginner piece students will create at an icon writing workshop in Tyler next month looks as if a person would need years of art training. Surprisingly, icon writing requires no artistic talent.
“This is what we call copy work. They receive a drawing and they literally trace it. We use carbon paper.”
And icon writers aren’t just Catholics.
“Oh, heavens no,” said Darby. “We have Methodists, Episcopalians, Baptists, Orthodox. Even agnostics.”
And for some, the sacred art will become the most powerful image on their wall.
“Do you have an image in your home that makes you think your Christ innerness in the day? So, these images--that’s what they’re for.”
Teresa Darby wrote an article with more interesting details about icon writing. You can visit the Big Red Box on this website for the link. You’ll also find workshop registration information if you want to take the leap of faith.