Assist Gilding Workshop in Melbourne Australia (January 2019)


Workshop schedule:
Tuesday 29 January - Saturday 2 of February 2019, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM with one hour lunch break at about noon.

Location: Australian Catholic University (ACU) ART SPACE

26 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, (Victoria), Australia

See the ArtSpace on Google maps >>

Housing possibilities: see the bottom of the page.

Workshop description:

Many of the earliest portable Christian icons have some gilding on them. Use of gold in that time as a visual symbol and sign of highest respect toward divinity was inherited by Christian iconographers from their predecessors. To use this material for the new context they had to adjust it to new understanding of what is divine for a Christian and what type of respect it implies. But even in our days after 2000 years some iconographers have problems understanding the role of gold in liturgical image, - in theology and in practice. As we can see on old icons, the gold assist has a unique and a very powerful role in an image, therefore knowledge of its basic principles and characteristics is crucial for a thoughtful work.

That is why we decided to make at least one workshop, fully dedicated to the use of gold, it's "rules" and circumstantial circumstances. Literally:

The Theoretical part will be made to teach and show immense variety of it's cultural connotations and visual chracteristics, possibilities it gives to an iconographer and responsibilities it requires.

Practice: - we made a decision: instead of gilding square meters (or inches) of a background to master our students varnishing (burnishing) technical skills, we rather preferred to let our students practically experience assist gilding, through images and lectures immersing them deeply into the range of ways, in which gold can be used and comprehended on an icon.

Icon writing workshop Having said this we have to apologise: searching for a good icon model for this Workshop we have checked our memories, memory of our friend and a good number of books, - it took us a while, but we did not find anything good. Our initial goal was to find a portable icon, but after certain number of attempts we discovered, that we can't find even a single one, where Christ Emmanuel (Baby Jesus) had been represented in frontal position with the figure and garments discernible and with assist gilding non-damaged. At the end the best image we found was a XIV century fresco from Visoki Decani (Serbia). And being sincere, we have to mention that assist in this fresco was not even gilded with real gold leaf, -it was actually PAINTED with some whitish yellow ocher, but since it was applied in most classical way, this image fitted our requirements and we decided to take it.

During the workshop we plan lead our students through a series of drawing, painting and gilding excercises. It goes without saying, that at all our workshops every step is always demonstrated, explained and overlooked by instructors. Disciplined practical work will have breaks for series of lectures and talks on main theological and theoretical aspects of iconography.

As stated above, the workshop day starts at 9am and finishes at 5pm. We urge punctuality in consideration of all participants. There will be an hour-long lunch break around midday and short tea breaks at about 10.30 AM and 3 PM.

During the day there are lectures, visual presentations, Q&A and discussion that include sharing experiences and ideas � practical and theoretical seminar for traditional artists-iconographers.
We plan our workshops to be very intense, and yet we believe that in spite of the mentioned range of activities every student will be able to finish his or her icon by Friday 3 PM, but more important, - to understand and to evaluate own work with measuring system of traditional iconography.

Assist Gilding Workshop in Melbourne Australia (January 2019 From the very beginning the drawing and painting are taught and practiced in a focused and concentrated way without any distractions such as conversation or music. This enables the icon to evolve at a slow pace enabling us to live and understand each step deep in our being; this is done best in a quiet and silent environment.

The image we have selected (not just the one above, but some extra ones as well) provides a good opportunity to learn how to build assist and get more accustomed to traditional gold sizes (like beer malt and garlic juice), drawing and painting techniques.

The payment options:

The full cost of the workshop is 750 Australian dollars (about 550 us dollars), it covers teaching and necessary tools and materials provided.

To reserve a space you can pay $80 US dollars (approximately equivalent to 110 Australian dollars). The rest - 640 Australian dollars are paid upon arrival.

The group is limited to 16 participants, students are accepted on a first-come first-served basis. The registration payments are non-refundable, unless the workshop is canceled due to lack of participation.

Things to be taught during the Assist Gilding Workshop:

  • to learn basic principles for gold assist in icon painting

  • to plan role of the assist in the future image: rhythm, composition, changes of values and colors

  • to understand methods of mixing and applying the assist gold size

  • to prepare gilded areas for varnishing

  • Icon writing workshop


    The purpose of all our workshops is to teach iconographers thinking. We introduce our students to visual language of traditional Christian iconography and share our experience, approach and ways of building the image.

    We encourage creativity, at the same time remaining faithful to the tradition. We never trace images. Instead we teach workshop participants drawing and painting techniques practiced by most respected iconographers of our time.

    Who should attend:

    The Assist Gilding Workshop is mostly made for advanced level students, - for those, who has at least some experience in painting icons.

    About the instructors:

    Philip Davydov and Olga Shalamova are founders of Sacred Murals Studio (Saint Petersburg, Russia). Philip holds an M.A. in State Fine Art from the Academy of Saint Petersburg, faculty of Theory and History of Art. He is a professional, second-generation iconographer with more than 15 years of teaching experience. He is also a professor at the Institute of Theology and Sacred Arts and the head of The Sacred Murals Studio in St. Petersburg, Russia.

    Olga Shalamova holds an M.A. in State Fine Art from the Academy of Saint Petersburg, faculty of Theory and History of Art. She is a member of the Union of Artists of Russia and is chief artist of the embroidery workshop at Feodorovsky Cathedral in Saint Petersburg. She is also an active participant in exhibitions of contemporary ecclesiastical art.

    Philip's and Olga's goal and the goal of their studio is to create icons and murals within the Christian tradition that are also contemporary works of Christian sacred art. Philip shares this creative and responsible approach as well as his own experience and professional discoveries with his students at his workshops.


    Make sure you give us your actual contact information: first and last name, home and cell phone number, street address and email address. It is important for us to be able to contact you in case, if you register, but don't show up for the workshop. We never use any personal data of our students/subscribers in any other way for any other purpose.

    For all questions regarding registration and payments, please, contact Philip Davydov phildavydov@gmail.com

    Possibilities for housing:

    Brooklyn Arts Hotel

    48-50 George St, Fitzroy VIC 3065

    phone : 03 9419 9328



    Backpackers the Nunnery (Lodge)

    Ask for: Guesthouse Section

    116 Nicholson Street, Fitzroy

    phone : 03 9419 8637 or 1800 032 635


    North Fitzroy Homestay (B&B)

    45 St.Georges Rd.

    Close to Brunswick St. tram.

    Phone: 03 9489 9661

    Website: www.northfitzroyhomestay.com.au

    Email bookings: bookings@northfitzroyhomestay.com.au

    Glowery House

    132 Nicholson Street

    Fitzroy Phone: 03 9417 3379


    Metropole Hotel and Apartments & Conference Centre

    44 Brunswick St. 03 9411 8100 or 1800 061 441

    Web-site: www.metropole.org

    Email: reservations@metropole.org