Damascene Gallery is committed to offering beautiful Orthodox icons of exceptional quality. We have been working to perfect our icon concept for years and our vision finally became a reality in August 2010 when Damascene Gallery was launched on the feastday of the Icon of Our Savior “Not Made By Hands.” This feast of our Savior and the feast of our heavenly patron St John of Damascus are our two primary feastdays.
Our headquarters in West Virginia is less than a mile from the Hermitage of the Holy Cross, a Russian Orthodox Men’s Monastery. We maintain a print shop and wood shop, and are currently in the process of opening a storefront which will feature an expanded inventory of mounted icons, all our antique and new icon inventory, our carved crosses, and more. Preliminary construction of a chapel in honor of St John of Damascus has also begun.
Our approach to mounted icons is different than that used by many icon producers. We do not want our icons to have an “overproduced” look and feel. We have striven from the outset to create mounted icons that capture something of the presence that hand-painted icons have. While we believe strongly that mounted icons can never take the place of hand-painted icons within the Orthodox Church, we also realize that in modern times, the majority of icons in both churches and homes are reproductions.
Most Orthodox Christians in America pray before reproduction icons every day. Why should their quality be greatly inferior to that of the hand-painted originals? Inspired by this question, we pioneered our signature High Quality Mounted Icons in 2010 using only the best materials: carefully selected solid-wood panels with hardwood support slats; archival quality canvas meticulously chosen for its unobtrusive weave and brilliant depth of color; archival, pigment-based inks laid down using state-of-the-art printers; and a unique, UV inhibiting varnishing system, formulated to make treated images retain their vibrance and color trueness in excess of 100 years. We have been producing icons commercially using this design since 2010, preceded by an extended period of development. With additional experience, we have perfected our process and the resulting icons have a fit and finish that is second-to-none.
In 2011, we took our canvas icon concept to a new level and began offering what we describe as “Printed Fresco” icons. These ultra large format icons, along with iconographic towelling, are installed according to custom layouts that we create for each individual parish, creating the effect of a fully painted church. This is an approach used today by many iconographers, who paint icons on canvas in their studios and bring them to churches en masse for installation. Our unique skills in image manipulation and retouching allow us to achieve layouts that that can be adapted almost any size or style of building.
Because our images are pre-processed, many projects can be completed within weeks instead of years and at costs which are a mere fraction of those typically associated with painting. Our extensive image collection, accented by our vast assortment of iconographic ornaments, towels, and other designs, create a holistic, polished feel.
Damascene Gallery is committed to producing and developing excellent quality icons, church furnishings, and other products for years to come. We have laid down roots and established the headquarters of our business in Wayne County, West Virginia, adjacent to the Hermitage of the Holy Cross. From the workshop, we can hear the monastery bells in both the morning and evening. Fr Jonah Campbell, pastor of Christ the Savior Orthodox Church in Wayne and the co-founder of Damascene Gallery, oversees the print shop operations. Our hope at Damascene Gallery is really very simple: we are successful to the extent that our work succeeds in drawing all of us to a deeper spiritual life, to a deeper awareness of our own frailty and need for repentance and to the union of our souls with Christ, the image of the Invisible God.