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Icon Boards and Panels

Premium quality Icon boards and Icon panels!
Imported from Russia and made by Pskov monastery monks under supervision of master iconographer Adolph Ovchinnikov who is also a leading consultant at Moscow art and restoration center Grabara ( . ).
Boards are prepared following an exact technology of 13-14 century.

Board preparation stages:

Bass, poplar or birch are good choices for an icon board. The icon painter's favorite wood is the linden because it is very homogeneous, soft, and easy to work.

The board's vertical dimension is symbolic of the Tree of Life and its horizontal dimension (width) represents the Tree of Knowledge; together they are a reminder of Paradise. The grain of the wood must run vertically in order to receive the Spirit from Heaven.

The indentation of the board or 'covcheg' is symbolic of the Arc of the Covenant. The inner surface represents Paradise which is separated by the border from the outside world or cosmos. Generally boards are carved 2 to 5 mm thick or more, if one desired.

Sealing of the wood and application of linen: The wood is sealed and the linen cloth "pavoloka" is applied. This process consists of attaching linen cloth to the board in order to have solidarity between the cloth and the wood. This provides a surface that is flexible and helps to eliminate cracking in the gesso. The linen cloth is symbolic of the shroud of Jesus.

Application of 10 or more coats of gesso or levkas: The gesso represents the rest or state of non-action before Creation; a state of pure potential. The word levkas comes from the Greek "leukos" which means white. Gesso is made from marble dust, chalk, and rabbit skin glue.

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"Pavoloka"

The word pavoloka originates from Russian words meaning to envelop and to drag, which indicate the method of its use; covering an icon board with cloth.

Pavoloka is cloth with open weave threads that serves to strengthen the bond between the gesso and the board. Furthermore, if the board should warp or split, pavoloka, in the majority of cases, may prevent the ground from failing.
There are known examples of icons where a section of gesso became completely loosened from the warped board, but because of pavoloka the front surface of the ground containing the painted image remained intact.

Pavoloka is glued onto a sized board. The glue penetrates the upper layers of the wood panel and forms a thin layer (0.2-0.5 mm thick) over the surface of the pavoloka, penetrating both the softened layer of glue on the surface of the board and the cloth impregnated with glue, resulting in a strong mechanical bond between the board and the ground. Hot glue also makes a chemical bond with natural fibers in pavoloka.