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Biography of Kirsten Voss, Iconographer

Kirsten Voss, ikonographerBorn in 1960 in Hamburg Germany, daughter of a blacksmith.
Because of the early and tragic death of my mother, I have always had an inner voice that accompanied me my whole live – searching for God and Spirituality. From my father I got the love to create. When I was a little girl he liked to take me to the blacksmith’s shop on weekends, when he worked sometimes for his private use. Because steel and iron seem to me “too heavy”, I later became a carpenter and got my apprenticeship diploma. The knowledge all about wood nowadays is very useful to me when I choose and create most of the wood boards myself.
My search for the human soul went on at the university in Hamburg, where I studied 16 semesters of psychology, but science couldn’t warm up my heart at all. I worked my way through the university by running a cinema-café. In 1996 I left home behind me and travelled thru the Mediterranean on my way to Crete, where I have been living since.

1996 was my first contact with the orthodox live and its celebrations. In 1997 my study of Greek language showed its first results and more demanding conversations were possible.  In 1998 I start reading Greek newspapers and books.
drawing an icon2001 - for the first time I came in inner contact with icons, visiting monasteries all over Crete.
2003 Chania, Crete - by joining a program of the government (NELE), it give me the opportunity to became an iconographer, in the main area of Cretan School, 4-Colour –system, gaining knowledge of different materials, fundamentals and little later the oil gilding with Mixion. My teacher was named Georgos Makrakis, who is an iconographer, but also is a restorer and a specialist for original gilding with gold leaf on clay base.

  • October 2003 – I joined the NELE-program and had my first exhibition of my own icons in Chania.
  • 2004 - Chania-Akrotiri, Crete. Deepening my education with NELE, splitting the program in theory (about the Byzantine Period) and practice.
  • Trained in the gilding with gold leaf on clay base under my teacher Georgos Makrakis. More activities are contacted to the monastery of Kissamos “the live spring”, where I studied under the support of the Rumanian Sister Xenofonda, studying the proportions of the face and gesture of the hands.
  • Erection of my own bibliotheca (collection of books) all around Byzantine Icons. Greek literature with exact descriptions of old icons and patterns.
  • con-studioSummer 2004: second exhibition of icons with NELE in Chania
    People started to order my icons, I did another icon for a very old chapel in Kandanos (west Crete) and delivered icons to Austria and Germany.

2005 Chania, Crete. Continued my studies with Georgos Makrakis, with the focus on Byzantine scenes, its constructions and also intensive contemplation of frescoes (wall paintings of the older times).

  • Also joined television programs on the Kidon-station and other local stations here on Crete. Education in theory (Byzantine and Post Byzantine Period) and practising with the iconographer Elefteria Bitsanaki: Organizing the process of drawing for identical reproductions of Byzantine Icons.
  • Exhibition of Icons in “The Villa” of Kissamos. 
  • Orders of icons from private individuals ( for example England and Italy) became more frequent.
  • Another altar piece for a little chapel in Kaliviani (Saint Katherine, standing figure).

2006 Education in Chania-Akrotiri with the iconographer Vangelis Marmatakis. Focused on creating the surface of the skin (Incarnat) and several different kinds of hair and beards of the Saints, study of the color Zinnober and its different influences.

  • Studied with Elefteria Bitsananki about gilding wooden ornaments with gold leaf on clay base and critical inspections of old icons comparing them to modern iconography.
  • All the time still keeping in contact with my first teacher Georgos Makrakis, who opened my inner eyes for the meaning of Byzantine Icons.
  • Other exhibitions in “Tsami-Jiali”, at the harbour of Chania and in a monastery in Rethymnon.
  • New orders all over Greece and another icon for a church in Kaliviani, “Deisis” (worship) with Christ, Mother Good and John the baptism.

showroom for handmade byzantine iconsMy heart is full of gratitude to all my wonderful teachers who helped me on my way to becoming an iconographer. It is a great gift for me to learn arts and crafts for iconography especially here on Crete - one of the very important Byzantine sources. Yesterday, like nowadays here icons are valued and admired and take a central part in the orthodox live of everyone. To study iconography on this spot (Crete) gives me a deeper understanding of the colouring and construction.  Sometimes the dimensions or figures seems to be “wrong”, but they are really existing, cypresses hanging down up to the ground for example or the geometric wrinkling of the monks robes, which you can still see at the monasteries.

2007 Kaliviani, Crete: Professional registration of my atelier (studio) and craft for iconography.

  • I now have a showroom at my home and stocks of ready handmade icons for walk-in customers.
  • Installation ceremony of a big icon (Saint Katherine, bust) in the Church Saint Konstantin at Platanos/Fallasarna.

my first wallpainting 2008 - first experiences with wall-painting on canvas with acryl and pigments.

  • Chapel in Traxilos, Northwest Crete: Platytera (semicircle, diameter 4,2 m) on the east wall.
  • Pantokrator (diameter 2,2 m) and around of Jesus Christ Pantokrator 8 kinds of angels in clips.
  • Saint Chrisi - icon for a church in Platanos, West-crete.
  • demands on Crete as well as Athens, Austria, Germany, America

2009 - First icon seminar for students. Whomever would like join, please send me a note by email, mail or phone. Individual teaching or in groups is possible. Please stay in contact with me a little while before you plan your visit, so I can organize the seminars.
Wall painting Acrylic on canvas: 4 scenes of the life of Jesus are already done for the church in Traxilas.

2010 - Will be a nice year too, I believe. And a note: on February the 13th, Papa Spiron baptised me and my little soul, so I became an orthodox Christian, named Christina.

Since July 2010 change residence from Crete to Hamburg. Atelier, gallery and workshop in Hamburg.
 

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