New World Byzantine Studios is much more than just a church supply company. It is a network of artisans who seek to establish a new era of beauty and craftsmanship in the Orthodox arts. It is the beginning of a cultural movement.
Orthodox Christians in America have long been cut off from the magnificent artistic heritage of our tradition. Churches do not know where to turn to find handmade liturgical furnishings of good design. They believe all they can afford are imported pieces of low quality and regrettable style. Meanwhile, there are many Orthodox young people in America who greatly desire to learn traditional crafts and to serve the church as liturgical artists. But their design skills are limited, and they have not the resources to establish a well-known business.
NWB Studios offers a new approach. We are a school as well as a store, a workshop as well as a website. We design thoughtful liturgical art that meets the needs and tastes of contemporary Orthodoxy. We seek out craftspeople whom we can teach to execute our designs in service to the church. We are a growing network of artisans across North America who work together to master the traditional Orthodox crafts, and to advocate a new culture of excellence for the Orthodox arts.
Andrew Gould, founder of NWB Studios, has spent years considering the state of the Orthodox liturgical arts. Concerned by the gulf that separates Orthodox churches today from the artistic heritage of ancient times, Andrew established his vocation as a designer of Orthodox churches. For years, he and his friends discussed plans for establishing a school of the Orthodox arts. They dreamt that enthusiastic young people would attend a school to learn liturgical woodwork, metalwork, and stone carving, along with liturgical music and iconography. But the idea for a school never materialized. Young craftsmen cannot afford to attend years of school for these arts, and they cannot make a living having learned them, because there is no existing market demand.
Andrew decided upon another approach. By founding a church supply company that offers beautiful pieces in the best ancient styles, Andrew hopes to create a new market. Over time, churches will become accustomed to buying better liturgical art. As more pieces are ordered, more craftsmen will be added to our atelier and taught to design and make them. Eventually, we hope to establish a new culture in which there are many craftsmen working together in harmonious styles, and many churches partaking of their services. By means of the ancient method of apprenticeship, the dream of the school will be realized.Update: We are still seeking artisans, but our outreach efforts are mainly through the Orthodox Arts Journal. Visit us there, subscribe to our email service, and like us on Facebook to receive news of our latest projects and discoveries of Orthodox beauty.