Monday, June 17, 2013

Icon Figures

Two of the areas of the Catechism environment, Parables and Life of Christ, involve icon figures used as visual aids while reading the children the parables and the major events of Christ's life from the Gospels. 
These icon figures are made by isolating individual figures in an icon, printing them out, and mounting them on a thick, flat piece of wood carved to imitate the shape of the saint (or Christ) being mounted.

This particular icon figure is of Christ standing in our model Jerusalem. We use the model Jerusalem and our icon figure of Christ to take the children through the events of Holy Week beginning with Palm Sunday and leading up to the Crucifixion and Burial of Christ. (Don't worry, we do the Resurrection too!)

We love using these figures because they connect the work back to the icons the children see in Church every time they go. A couple years ago, a class of mine was lent a huge icon of the Nativity that was taller than most of the children. After we had done the Nativity work with them, showing them with movement how Joseph and Mary travelled, how Christ was laid in a manger, how the angel came and how the shepherds went to worship Christ, the children began to recognize the figures in that large Nativity icon saying things like, "There's the shepherds!" 
It was beautiful how they began to connect with the icon as more than a picture. That's a difficult thing, especially for those of us who come from Western mentalities, where what you see is what you get, and everything seen is meant to be understood. Icons have a mystical quality and presence in the event they convey, and that's something that is inexpressible yet tangible in our experience. By using these figures as opposed to some kind of model people, we give the children an opportunity to put their hands on what they hear and see and to begin to understand that a festal icon is more than a group of people, it is kairos, an eternal moment in which we see revealed a confirmation of our Faith.

I'll take advantage of being at the course at Hellenic College for the next few days to take some more pictures of the newer icon figures that have been made since last year. Hopefully I'll be able to post them by the end of the week.

No comments:

Post a Comment