Using a special knot weaving technique called macrame, Ukrainian artist Vladimir Denshchikov creates mind-blowing religious icons made almost entirely of linen thread.
Born on July 1, 1952 in Kiev, Vladimir Denshchikov graduated the Kiev Theater University and went on to become and actor. He worked his way up to director and artistic director of the Simferopol Crimea Maxim Gorky Academic Russian Drama Theater, and since 2007 he has been teaching acting and directing at the Simferopol Institute of Culture. Quite an impressive professional career, but this national artist of the Ukraine is mostly known for his unique hobby – making incredibly detailed religious icons from linen thread, using a technique called “macrame”.
Only the faces and hands of the saints in Denshchikov’s icons are painted on canvas, everything else is made from millions of linen knots. The artist doesn’t use any tools, like needles or crochets to make the knots, all the patterns and details are created directly by hand. The material used for these incredible artworks is created by the artist himself: he takes a piece of pure linen cloth (a fabric associated with Orthodox Faith), soaks it in water and takes it apart one string at a time. He uses linen threads between 0.5 and 2 meters long and works between 3 and 6 months on a single 40×50 cm icon. It might sound like a long time, but let’s not forget one of these things numbers up to nine million tiny knots, each made by hand.
In 2007, Vladimir Denshchikov suffered a stroke, right before a theatrical premiere, which led to his taking a teaching job at the Simferopol Institute of Culture. While recuperating from this terrible condition, the artist continued working on an icon for the church of Malorechenskoye village, and as he struggled to weave little knots, he felt his partially paralyzed hand moving ever more freely, as if God was guiding it Himself. The artist made a miraculous recovery and continues to create wonderful macrame artworks.