An interview from the workshops: A place where you work on something and also work on yourself

An excerpt from the interview with Ekaterina Nesterova,
an artist from the wood painting workshop 
of St. Elisabeth Convent

Could you tell about yourself and your work? What projects are you working on now?

I graduated the University of Technology in Vitebsk with a degree of a designer of clothing and fabrics. Now I work as a designer and artist in the painting on wood workshop of St. Elisabeth Convent.

When did you come to the convent and why did you decide to work there? Do you like your work?

I came to the workshop of St. Elisabeth Convent about three years ago by good fortune. You would not believe me, but I was walking through the central city mall and saw a small shop of the Convent there. I remember that I was interested in a particular book. At that time I just started my work as an illustrator. In the shop I saw a lot of beautiful items aside from books, such as pottery, painting on wood and many others. The most importantly all those items were handmade. That fact inspired me to try for myself and to see if I could help and work at the convent.

What were your first steps and works?

At the first it was quite difficult to work. The specificity of the work was completely different from what I was used to. I understood that I would have to learn much new, but at the same time that attracted me even more.  Every day I learnt something, and I continue learning even today: new secrets of the craft, new techniques, new artists… The workshops of St. Elisabeth Convent are the a place where you work on something and also work on yourself, develop your skills. You grow as an artist. It is almost a “universal environment”, but at the same time your responsibility is quite high. Of course, just like in any other artistic profession, there are sorrows and joys, ups and downs.

To what you should pay attention while working on a nesting doll?

It all begins with a sketch. We depict the main idea of the nesting doll’s design and chose certain colors for it. You know, in our painting on wood workshop each artist has its own signature style. Great attention is paid to the draftsmanship of the doll’s face. We do our best to make it look nice and kind. It should bring joy and reflect the spirit of the convent. The face should be expressive and humble at the same time...




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