The Illustrations

A note from R.J. Hughes

The Orthodox faith is a faith of art in many forms. While my work was limited ot the visual arts, I wanted to, and hoped I did, create a rich, colored world that reflects the beauty of a Pascha service.

A huge thank you to Father John Troy Mashburn and St. John Orthodox Church in Memphis, Tennessee, for allowing me and Charlotte Riggle to model Catherine’s church on theirs, including inserting the icons that adorn their sanctuary, directly into Catherine’s sanctuary.

I am an artist, not an iconographer. Iconography (literally, “writing an image”) is a very specific form of art that takes many years of training. It is, really, a form of worship, where the resulting icon is not a picture or painting, so much as it is the result or record of each particular act of worship. I felt to mimic that by trying to draw a copy of an icon for this story would be to mock this ancient art form. By allowing us to model Catherine’s church, including the icons she saw, on theirs, I could keep the integrity of this form of worship, while still including it as a central part of Catherine’s church and Paschal experience.

The Orthodox Church includes some of the oldest and continuously used churches and art in the world. Icons in murals and frescos, illuminated manuscripts, chants and hymns, all can trace back, centuries, and even millennia. Many of the churches and patterns on these pages reflected some of these ancient designs. In the spring of 2018, Charlotte and I will begin sharing information about the churches that framed Catherine’s world on her blog. I hope you enjoy learning more about them!

Credits

The icons at St. John Orthodox Church that I used as my models were created by Fr. Luke Dingman. You can learn more about Fr. Luke, his iconography, and his other artwork at his website.

The designs for the Pascha basket covers that you see in the illustrations in Catherine’s Pascha were created by Tracy Thallas of Practical Blackwork. Contact her if you have questions about an embroidery pattern in our store, or about blackwork embroidery in general. You can see more of her historically inspired patterns at her Etsy store.

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