Monday, 31 December 2012

Friday, 23 November 2012

Nearly finished St. Nicholas Icon

Treated the surface with glair.
The eyes may need some correction.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Toussiana Mask - work in progress

Ab ovo...

(To be continued)

Monday, 5 November 2012

XAHC u святой Николай

(Hans and Saint Nicholas)
4 November 2012 Sketches
I managed to make a panel from the wolmanized wood, and this is to become the icon board.
The icon on the postcard is called Saint Nicolas of the Door
He is supposed to be the patron of domestic bliss

XAHC would be the cyrillic transcription of my given name, matching the average Russian pronunciation of it.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Raw material

Very ugly wolmanized wood

Not easy to work with, but not without potential

Wolmanized wood. 
Poisonous green with deathly black and yet 
there is that fleshy pink vein of Life shining through.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Toussiana [Burkina Faso]

Croquis 20-10-2012 0:26




Le masque cache autant qu’il révèle, « nie autant qu’il affirme » selon la formulation de Claude Lévi-Strauss. Bien souvent détenteur d’un secret, il tait, en effet, ce que seuls les initiés doivent savoir.
Son pouvoir relève aussi de sa capacité à incarner un esprit, lien entre l’homme et les ancêtres, le monde visible et celui de l’invisible. Il est inséparable d’un contexte mythique qui structure le mode d’existence et de pensée de la plupart des sociétés traditionnelles.
Au cœur de la vie d’un groupe ou d’une communauté, le masque, intercesseur indispensable, est toujours actif.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Tuesday, 10 July 2012


It was the 2010 elections that started the idea...

The sketch was made -again- during a meeting

Feathers without faces

Faces in the making

Today's Little Black Face

Monday, 2 July 2012


Another Featherface in the making, after  W107
The sketchings were made during an immensely boring meeting

Sunday, 1 July 2012

The Man with the Child in His Eyes

I want the eyes to be compassionate.
To the left there is a quick sketch, made after carving had started.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Hantsje Pik

After a medieval grotesque
Prune, 30.5 cm
Nearly finished

St Lawrence Church
Frisian: Laurentiustsjerke
Dutch: Laurentiuskerk
More about Hantsje Pik [in Frisian]

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Kimswert - Laurentiustsjerke

A grotesque in the rear wall of St Lawrence Church[Laurentiustsjerke/Laurentiuskerk] in the village of Kimswert
This might be a devil - in Frisian: Hantsje Pik [John Pitch].

Saturday, 5 May 2012

George and the Dragon

Георгий Победоносец
George the Victor
Leningrad, Nevskij Prospekt, March 1990

Чудо Георгия о змие
The miracle of George and the dragon

I visited Leningrad in March 1990, and it was a revelation. It was a bit of a shock however, to notice that everything centered around obtaining hard currency. Quite a different story from what we had learnt in school about communism. This was the USSR undergoing Perestroika.

Anyway, I bought this lacquer brooch from a street vendor for  very little money, 5 or 10 guilders or deutschmarks, I don't even remember.
We also went tot the Russian Museum, where I learnt about the Novgorod school of icon painting, with its characteristic use of red and green - more or less as used on my icon brooch.

Later I came to meet Sister Florentia in the City of Groningen. She was a nun, a retired teacher and had taken up icon painting as a hobby. She told that for her, icon painting had become a way of living a contemplating life. Contemplation was essential for appreciating icons, she said (or words to that matter). When I told her that I was a non-believer she remarked that, nevertheless, there was something very special about this icon and me: this was a token of this unique experience of making such a special trip to an exotic place (that's what it was in those days).
Such true words, such a wise woman.

And now for something completely different:

A drunk man knocks on the door of an inn known as St. George and the Dragon. The landlady answers. "Is George in?" asks the man.

In the early eighties, my neighbour John Nolan from Wigan(Lancs) used to tell this joke.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Easter 2012

Started as a sea turtle, it is getting rather iconic now.
And I fear that another personal Jesus may creep out of the wood.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Saturday, 10 March 2012

It's done, done, done!

Did the oiling today [linseed oil]

I used common box for the "moustache" as palm branches are a little hard to get here.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012


Finished the "spikes" yesterday, did an eye-job today. Just some final sandpapering and oiling left to be done.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Green Man

The Green Man: Fish@4:13

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Heathohlaewe - word of the day

Triggered by Kiernan's nathwylc article, I could not resist finding out myself.

The MS today: heathohlaewe - just hea is left

Zupitza's autotype - late 19th century
hlaewe - barely readable

heathohlaewe - digitally restored [Kiernan-Electronic Beowulf]


Wednesday, 29 February 2012


It came at last, this codex of codices
word-wondrous and winding, hiding
still self-contained secrets pointing at
enigmatic mores, murder, past
from the distant dark dream-time ...

Today I got my Electronic Beowulf, which really made time stand still. It was the same kind of feeling as when I found that second-hand Klaeber, way back in the eighties.

Nobody had heard of Kiernan in those days, which is really astonishing. What puzzled me though, while still believing in an early date, was the fact that somebody around the year 1000 AD deliberately spent a substantial amount of vellum on this text.

I vaguely remember seeing the MS in the British museum and me reading it aloud.

I remember my teacher of Old-English having a facsimile - a Zupitza reprint I believe - which seemed totally out of reach for me.
That was nearly thirty years ago.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Hair and Beard

Today I completed the first "ring" of hair and beard.

Last night I started on the beard. It has a very distictive, graphic effect.
No easy job, though since you can't afford any miscuts.

This is one of my models. Wereldmuseum Rotterdam [Summer 2010]

Sunday, 19 February 2012


Roughing out is nearly done.
This afternoon it almost felt like spring, so I went outdoors. An hour later, we had hail and snow.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012


Just the left arm, actually.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Vanuatu Ambrym Island - part 2 (North)

Communicating by Tam Tam [=Atingting Kon] At 3:46
Old man with boar-tusks at 3:59

Slit drum Atingting Kon at 0:39

This is my documentation. And a substantial part of the fun.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Besette swin-licum

"...adorned with boar-figures..."
Beowulf l.1453
[i.e. his wondrous helmet]

The two curls which I carved today represent boar's tusks that demonstrate status and age. This reminds one of the Beowulfian boar-helmets l.1328, the boar-spears [eofer-spreotum] l.1437, Hrothgar's boar banner l.2152 [eafor heafodsegn]and more.
More about boars and Anglo-Saxon

More about Vanuatu and pigs

Thesis about Vanuatu, slit drums, status and prestige. [In Dutch/Flemish]

Click for another image from the Metmuseum

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Green Man

Just a coincidence

Some more information on this slit-drum

Reconstructed Russian Idol

After an original(with peas for eyes) that was excavated in Novgorod

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Vanuatu Ambrym Island

The better craftsman at 1:32

Just a tryout and some sketching 7 January 2012
Van Masque du jour

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Atingting - the beginning

This illustration came from a series of late seventies magazines called Distant Peoples (Verre volken)which I found on the local flea market