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Materials Made in Heaven

"Hail, O Nut, far-striding goddess, who strews the greenstone, malachite, and turquoise of the stars!"


-Prayer to Nut, Pyramid Text 350


"The sky is like gold, the primeval waters are lapis lazuli blue, and the Southland is turquoise, as he rises among them".


-The Leiden Hymns/ Papyrus Leiden

350 recto, ix Hymn at Sunrise

The ancient Egyptians viewed various stones, metals, woods and even sand as bearing divine qualities, as being close to the Gods and even a part of the Gods.  It is said of the God Ra that His hair is like lapis lazuli and His skin of gold, and hymns tell us that His sunbeams are turquoise-colored.

Whenever the Ancients desired to convey the preciousness of something, or its relationship to deity, they used the language of precious stones and metal.  It is through gold, lapis lazuli, turquoise, malachite and carnelian that the celestial, magical qualities of creation are manifest upon the earth, and it was through these very precious substances that the ancient Egyptians crafted images as focal points of their worship.

The creation of a sacred image is a collaborative process between the iconographer and the deity or deities being represented.  Part of that process, quite naturally, calls for the appropriate materials that will link a man-made object with the hallowed presence that is being asked to bless and to take up residence in the image.  Within the Kemetic or Ancient Egyptian iconographic tradition, as with other Near Eastern religious traditions, the materials used to compose a divine image are of utmost importance.  Such an image (referred to as a cult image by academics) must be- by traditional standards- constructed out of precious and/or semi-precious materials in order to be properly sanctified for habitation by the deity.  Each deity has metals or stones that are linked to it, and such materials are viewed as properties of attraction that assure the deity's presence in the image, together with honoring the deity through the use of costly and beautiful materials.

The icons I create are no exception to these time-honored traditions.  It is through the lavish use of the purest gold that I create a resonance with the celestial and solar Gods, Whose bodies are said to beam with gold as embodiments of the indestructible.  The ancient Egyptians used gold to spectacular effect in their sacred images, and although their method of gilding utilized sheets of gold generally far thicker than that used by contemporary gilders, my commitment to the ancient tradition of icons compels me to use the finest professional grade of gold available.  I use only the best Italian and German (22 and 23 karat) gold leaf, platinum, copper, and Sterling silver in my icons, assuring that the images I create are materially and spiritually fit for divine use, and glorious to behold. When asked to do so by a patron, I have on occasion used professional acrylics in the working of an icon (which can be more cost-effective if that is a primary concern),

however, my preferred method of painting is the use of natural genuine mineral pigments used as watercolor.  My primary concern in the creation of an icon is never cost or time effectiveness, but in the production of an image of the highest quality and purest materials possible.  This means the use of real gold and pigments such as lapis lazuli, amethyst, turquoise, jadeite, Amazonite, malachite, hematite, garnet, rhodonite, fuchsite, carnelian, and bloodstone.  The use of these non-synthetic pigments is in keeping with the spirit of the materials used by the Ancients for their divine images, and because the pigment origins are natural, that is to say, imbued with the innate properties of earth-mined minerals, it follows that the image painted with them also possesses these qualities and reflects their energy.

Together with the application of real gold and genuine mineral pigments, the completion of an icon may also include embellishment of the icon panel with semi-precious and/ or precious stones- including lapis lazuli, amethyst, opal, ruby, turquoise, malachite, jade, carnelian, emerald, topaz, sapphire, citrine, spinel, onyx, Libyan glass, and Austrian crystal elements by Swarovski®.  When consecrating an image to the service and glory of a deity, one summons only the most valuable, pure and precious materials as reflections of the Heavens upon Earth.

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