Krista is available to speak on: Vestments, Beauty & Theology and Parenting among other topics. Learn more »
Recognized as one of the foremost church artisans in North America, Krista West has worked as an ecclesiastical tailor for 20 years, outfitting priests and parishes in nearly all of the 50 states with her beautiful vestments and altar cloths. It was through her tailoring work that she developed her interest in the history and traditions of Orthodox Christian art, beginning with vestments and continuing from there into the wider field of Orthodox aesthetics and the theology of beauty. Her book, The Garments of Salvation: Orthodox Christian Liturgical Vesture was published by SVS Press in 2013 and is the only comprehensive book on its topic in English. Its subjects range from the theology of beauty, to the purpose of vestments, to historical color traditions still used in the Church today. It is written in an approachable style that is intended for the laity as well as for the clergy.
A dynamic and engaging lecturer, Krista is comfortable speaking on many aspects of beauty in the Church: whether it’s a classroom presentation to seminarians on the origins of the omophorion or a hands-on lecture to children on the colors and motifs of liturgical brocades, her energy and enthusiasm are contagious. She presents the world of vestments and church adornment to audiences in a way that makes these esoteric subjects lively and engaging. Many listeners have commented that they really “see” things in the church for the first time after hearing one of Krista’s lectures.
Krista presents in a wide variety of formats: from church school classrooms, to evening lectures to entire weekend retreats. She brings sample vestments and brocade swatches for demonstration and this makes for lively presentations with audience participation. In addition to her work making vestments and writing and lecturing about Orthodox Christian aesthetics, Krista is also a priest’s wife and mother to three daughters. Her podcast on Ancient Faith Radio, The Opinionated Tailor is just as often dedicated to topics surrounding parish and family life as vestments and she also lectures jointly with her husband, Fr Alban West. Their young adult retreat, “Life 101: Choosing and Planning for your Life’s Path,” has been called “life-changing.”
So, whether speaking on the the intricacies of vestments or how to be marriageable, Krista brings a joy and delight to any group, sharing her knowledge and thoughtfulness in an inspiring way.
Krista is available to address the following topics:
- “The History of Orthodox Vestments: Why do we have them and where did they come from?” This lecture focuses on a close inspection of a complete set of priest’s vestments, explaining the origins and features of the various vestment pieces.
- “Color within the Church: An introduction to historic color perception and its role in Orthodox Christian liturgical usage” In this presentation, Krista will explain the differences between ancient and modern color perception while also guiding participants through the process of truly seeing brocades. This is a visually-rich learning experience.
- “Vestments 101: Everything you need to know about vestments in two hours or less”
- “Paraments: the altar cloths of the Church and their history and function” Altar cloths have been an important feature of Christian worship from earliest days and this lecture traces their history and describes ancient and modern usage.
- “A Theology of Beauty: Why is adornment so important in the Orthodox Church?” This presentation can be scaled down to a single lecture or expanded to fill a weekend retreat. Depending on the length, there can be a slideshow displaying various features of Orthodox Christian aesthetics.
- “Life 101: Choosing and Planning for your life’s path: (given with Fr Alban West; available to upper high-school age and young adults ages 18-30).
- Greek embroidery workshop: this day-long workshop teaches historic Greek cross-stitch embroidery on linen. It begins with a 45-minute lecture on why bringing adornment into the home is important and then spends the remainder of the day giving hands-on teaching to each student. Limit of 12 students with a $25/student supply fee which includes 100% 30-count linen, floss, and designs for creating an 18-inch by 18-inch embroidery piece. If desired, she can give a general audience lecture on Friday evening and then give the workshop to students all day Saturday.
Krista is also available to speak on other topics by request. Some topics she is interested in developing include the role of the artisan in Orthodox Christian art, beauty in our daily lives—especially as it pertains to women today (true beauty versus vanity), and raising skillful children. She welcomes your interest!