Time of isolation used effectively
By Sofia, Jun 14 2020 02:50PM
The time of isolation has been (and still is) a nuisance to many. However, it proved useful for Babis Kochilis, a fine craft carpenter here on Skopelos. He has completed an elaborate, beautiful, full-size hand carved iconostasis, designed and ordered to be hand-made by another fine art artist.
As in other places in Greece and elsewhere, in Skopelos boys often follow in their father's professional tradition. There are exceptions and so it was with Babis and his brother. The two men are autodidact carpenters, choosing wood to be their medium to work with rather than textiles, with which their father worked as a tailor of costumes and other classical wear.
The two brothers chose different direction of the line of work. Babis chose artistic woodwork to become his speciality and to create beautiful carvings in furniture, free-standing decorative objects, but more frequently religious objects and chapel furniture of altars and iconostasis.
Passers-by, be they local or visitors, stop to watch Babis at work, patiently and skillfully engraving details of life into wood, his chisels almost breathing back life into the wood, life which was interrupted in the felled tree some time in the past. Plants, birds and many other design features become alive in the wood he works with underneath his chisels, guided by his hand. The enchanted onlookers ask questions, which Babis tirelessly answers, thus interrupting his work.
With the shut-down time gained in his workshop where Babis spent his isolation period, the iconostasis - a magnificent labour of feeling and skill - is complete now. It is a time now for the iconographer to show skills of creating the imagery icons, which are to be slotted in place for the completed work to be installed to serve in the chapel.