Mynheer Art

Nicholas Mynheer
Beggar's Roost
4 Ventfield Cottages
Horton-cum-Studley
Oxford UK
OX33 1AP

01865 351340
ndm@mynheer-art.co.uk

site: creativeedge

Blog

Added 5 months ago

18/01/2019

Traherne wrote: 'You never enjoy the world aright till the sea itself floweth in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens and crowned with the stars'.

Added 5 months ago

10th January 2019

Sister Wendy Beckett

The Christmas card I received this year from Sr Wendy Beckett will be the last. She died on Boxing Day.

It was as if I sensed something because on December 26th after I'd typed 'St Stephen's Day' on this blog I could write no more.

Yesterday Roger Wagner and I drove to the Carmelite Monastery in Quidenham, Norfolk for Sr Wendy's Requiem Mass. It was a beautiful and joyous service; a true celebration of Sr Wendy.

Amidst clouds of incense the assembled sisters, gathered around the coffin, sang,

'May the angels lead you into Paradise, the martyrs receive you at your coming, and bring you into the holy city, into Jerusalem. May a choir of angels welcome you'

The small congregation then processed, behind the sisters, down to the graveside while two sisters rang a solemn toll on the great monastery bell. It was powerful, moving and deeply humbling at the same time.

Back in the convent parlour reminiscences of Sr Wendy were joyfully shared while eating cake made by her dear friend Delia Smith (who gave the first reading).

In Fr Stephen Blair's homily he had recounted an episode when he had been driving Sr Wendy to the hospital. She had said that she hoped that she would be forgotten. He hadn't questioned her, instinctively knowing that she would always rather simply point to God (much like John the Baptist).

Forgive us Sr Wendy for we can never forget you.

Sr Wendy was a good friend over many years as she also was to Roger (Wagner), Mark (Cazalet), Richard (Kenton Webb) and Tom (Denny).

Added 5 months ago

17/01/2019

Having now installed the St Kenelm's Reredos I'm working on a series of glass projects a window for a church, a set of college chapel windows and a set for a private Manor house.

Added 6 months ago
26th December 2018
Boxing Day - St Stephen's Day
Added 8 months ago

12th October 2018

A year to the day I started, I have just completed the five mosaic panels depicting the life (and death) of St Kenelm for The Church of St Kenelm, Church Enstone, Oxfordshire, UK. Last Easter I visited the Orsoni factory in Venice to choose the glass smalti with which to make the panels. Initially I felt that visiting the factory would just add an interesting dimension to the project but I quickly realised that it was a crucial element to the process. Seeing how the smalti was made and meeting the people involved in the process affected the way I engaged with the work. The five panels, probably finished, now sit in my studio before their installation into an oak reredos in the church later in November. As a cooked joint of meat or a pudding needs to sit and rest or dough needs to prove, so I feel the need for the panels to quietly rest, for the first time in line together. This gives me time to see if they are truly finished.

Added 2 years ago

13/02/2017

Having just completed a commissioned painting I painted its title on the reverse, 'Blind' Bartimaeus. I put the word 'Blind' inparenthesis because Bartimaeus was only physically blind. As Jesus left Jericho, along with a crowd of followers, he passed Bartimaeus who cried out to him. When Jesus asked of him what he wanted, Bartimaeus replied 'to be able to see'. Jesus tells him that his faith has healed him. In my painting (see Gallery painting section) I painted the Glory of God, coming from Heaven through Jesus to Bartimaeus, in yellows and oranges. I painted this same colour into the open eye of Bartimaeus because though he was blind of sight he could truly see God. Jesus 'heals' him giving him physical sight, enabling him to see what the Maker had made as well as he could see the Maker. The figure to the right of Bartimaeus, in my painting, appears to have no eye, for though he can see Jesus and Bartimaeus he does not see God. It is so often so easy to see what the Maker has made but not the Maker.

 

Added 2 years ago

 27th January 2017

 

Yesterday, in this quiet little Oxfordshire village, we laid to rest a gentle lady, a woman in life so modest that even in death I cannot write her name for fear that she would blush to be mentioned. 

She loved the countryside; she loved her garden and her cats; she loved the wild birds and above all she loved God. 

For so many years she served as sacristan to our church of St. Barnabas. When Jesus rose from the tomb she was first at the empty tomb preparing the church for the rest of us to celebrate Easter.

The Eucharist was central to her life and her final wish was that her funeral service should be part of it. 

Here in St Barnabas we hold Christmastide until the Feast of Candlemas and so, during the service,  her coffin was placed in the chancel in between the Nativity crib and the sparkling Christmas tree. She rested amongst us as we took communion. After the service we processed into the frozen air and gathered around the grave. As her coffin was gently lowered into the earth and the priest began to speak a breeze beruffl'd Robin, sitting in a tree less than a metre from me and directly overlooking the grave, began to sing. His voice, so clear and insistent, rose above that of the priest until his song seemed to fill the churchyard and his was the only voice. 

In honour of our friend we had prepared the church to be as beautiful as possible with candles and flowers throughout and with the best gold and silver plate... but all the treasures of the world; all the gold and silver of the world; no king or president or money could have bought what God then provided - a tiny Robin to sing the Te Deum in homage to a modest woman.    O, the magnitude of meekness.

 

Added 3 years ago

 24th November 2016

Living, as I do, on the edge of Otmoor I'm always aware of birds preparing for migration. Thousands of Starlings fly weaving and spinning in vast clouds barely above the field in an exuberant curtain call before they set off for warmer climes.

One morning while I was outside carving recently I found a dead Starling lying on the grass. When I picked it up to admire its beautiful spangled plumage I could find neither broken neck or wing and no apparent feather damage. I placed it in the rubbish bin.

During the night I dreamt about the bird. I saw it flying freely with its fellows, curving and sweeping over the fields. Upon waking I hastened to the bin, retrieved the bird and having carefully cleaned it I took it onto Otmoor where I buried him with dignity.

 

It was a strange coincidence then, that a great friend, Jonathan Stockland, sent me a recent poem of his entitled Migration.

 

Migration

 

Starlings fly South when winter nears;

their flight turns the skies inside out,

as with shrill cries their parabolas

mold the air in a motion

so fluid it has no resolution,

patterning the horizon in black and white

they move onwards towards the light

of their beckoning destination.

.   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .

Geese and ducks are noisily direct

in their convinced formations,

tacking frayed chevrons of flight

onto a moving sky, like blazons of heraldry,

as they seek with wavering aim

the long miles' test

and claim of those landfalls

of their resting place.

.   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .

We have not the homing instinct of birds;

we are billeted in the land

of the heart's uncertainty,

not knowing what is the travel plan,

or whether to stay, or which way to go.

We wander the long stretches

of the seasons' change and year's turning

without true compass, without natural range.

.   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .

In Autumn though, as summer closes,

we do turn our faces towards

the vanishing sun, looking for the one light

to outlast the year's darkening flight;

we do then, as birds do, seeking

a safe haven, so far, so near, found at last

beside us, and within, under the shadow

of wings almost too bright to bear.                            Jonathan Stockland  -  October 2016

 

 

Added 3 years ago

 12th July 2016

Dedication of the Southwell Mister WWI memorial window on Sunday 10th July at 3.30pm.

The cathedral was filled with hundreds of people, many of whom were serving or retired service men or women.

The service started with the Standard of Reconciliation carried by Bugle Major Kieran Robinson RHR leading a procession of standards through the Nave.

A selection of Great War readings, movingly read, preceded Malcolm Archer’s ‘Requiem’ sung by the polished cathedral choir. The Last Post was played by Bugle Major Peter Roebuck on a silver bugle from the Great War (7 Foresters 1917).

With reference to the ‘leaves of Southwell’ and also my carved plaque underneath the window which depicts an angel catching a falling leaf (soldier), thousands upon thousands of oak leaves fluttered silently down from the roof of the cathedral. An extraordinarily moving and symbolic piece of theatre.

Bishop Stephen Oliver dedicated the window and a wreath was laid beneath it. Then moving to the theme of resurrection Siegfried Sasson’s ‘Everyone Sang’ was read before a member of RAF Cranwell’s College Band played the Reveille on a bugle (much as the angel does at the top of the window).

The congregation sang Blake’s ‘Jerusalem’ followed by the National Anthem.

With powerful symbolism the military flags and standards were processed past the newly dedicated window, through the Nave and out through the great West doors.

In a final nod to the symbolism of the window (in which we see the Cup of Suffering transformed into a mug of beer in celebration of eternal life) beer and sandwiches was served in the North transept of the cathedral.

The iconography and themes of the window had been reflected in the service itself.

It was a truly moving celebration; in many ways an extraordinary piece of theatre that went from the spine tingling Last Post; the hearty singing of Jerusalem by the hundreds assembled to utter stillness when one could only hear the faintest rustlings of thousands of falling fluttering leaves.

I’m sure that all who were present will never ever forget that service. 

Added 3 years ago

15th April 2016

It was slightly nerve-racking, yesterday morning, walking across the sward to Southwell Minster to view for the first time my newly installed World war One memorial window. For though, in one sense, I had been living with it since its commission back in February 2014 the sheer size of the window meant that at no point could we ( myself, Steve and Dave Cowan glaziers) work on the window in its entirety either in my studio or in their glass studio. Though the Islip glass screen is even larger the monochromatic nature of that project seemed to make it easier to envision. Colour is integral in the Southwell window and particularly the way in which it changes/graduates over the panel. 

I was hugely relieved to find, in my opinion anyway, that the window works; that the colours sit happily together and that it fits into its setting, both with the adjacent window as well as the architecture as a whole.

But, and perhaps for the first time ever with a newly installed work, I found it hard to tear myself away from the window and leave the Cathedral. I felt like a parent leaving his/her child on their first day ever at school; knowing that you must go in order to set them free and yet at the same time struggling to do so.

Added 3 years ago

 March 14th 2016

The Sarum Cycle was installed today in the Crypt of Canterbury Cathedral along with a series of my 'Passion of Christ' sculptures. I've put an image of The Man of Sorrows in the sculpture gallery. Anthony Gormley's splendid dead Christ (made of medieval nails) hangs from the ceiling behind it.

The exhibition is there until 14th April.

Added 4 years ago

13th May 2015

 

A strange day - both joyous and poignant.

This morning to S. Mary's Convent, Wantage for the Requiem Mass to bid farewell to my dear friend Sr Bridget Mary. I'd known Bridget for more than 20 years.  A multi-talented artist and writer, my two sons will probably best remember Bridget for playing football with them (in full habit) when they were very small.

The first time I met her was in her studio at the convent. She was in full welding gear, in the process of repairing some heating pipes for a visiting plumber before turning back to a metal sculpture she was working on.

More recently I took her up to Mucknell Abbey to deliver a sculpture that she had produced and which they were to install.

She was a larger than life character and I will miss her greatly.

Her grave (in a manicured plain grass lawn at the convent) was one of the most beautiful things I'd ever seen. The earth walls of the grave itself were lined with flowers - May blossom and white roses on the sides and yellow roses at the head all interspersed with greenery. There was something very powerful (and at the same time modest) about the idea of the beautiful flowers being covered by the earth.

This afternoon I sat for Jane Dowling to draw my portrait. Jane is rightly proud of her wonderful garden in Charlton-on-Otmoor. Tall Cowparsley dominates creating a three dimensional garden full of wildlife. As I sat on a chair in a small cleared area outside her studio  bees buzzed around me and a blackbird landed nearby as she sketched me in the dappled sunlight. Though it was as if time stood still I knew that I would remember the moment forever - perhaps a May day that I would always think back on.

Added 4 years ago

25th March 2015

Last night saw the second Oxford Lenten music and Art evening. The second half of Arvo Part's extraordinary 'Passio' was performed as well as his haunting Spiegel im Spiegel.

Jonathan Stockland, one of the driving forces of this wonderful of Lenten series, sent me a poem he had written based on my Simon and Jesus sculpture (see sculpture section of my website). It is a very powerful piece capturing in words what I tried to capture in stone.

 

'Nick Mynheer's Simon and Jesus'

by Jonathan Stockland - March 2015

 

They do not stand apart, those two;

like conjoint twins,

one leans to the other

as the hate-full,

slanting slab of that cross beam

pins them together from above,

in their shared yoke of love.

 

Hand on bare shoulder

above the flayed ribs

re-membered in the deep gouges of cloth;

the bare nipple exposed and tender

as the Spirit's dove;

one mouth opens in a gasp of pain,

the other closes his lips in the strength

of His love.

 

Weathered limestone

washed clean by wind and rain

where the mark of the scourge remains-

the sculptor's tool marks the crime;

both seem utterly involved

in one passion, one in a unity

of person, place and time.

Simon's hand and arm clasp

His shoulder, as they both stare ahead,

inward eyes seeing the cross, above

the bone mound of the dead,

the towering tree of Love.

 

Their eyes are drawn down in pity

for all the love to be spent

for generations to come;

for the grief of mothers' calls

for dying children in tents

of desperation, and in streets

of demolition, on borders of despair.

In this one embodied moment

is the pain of the world

they share, and take

upon themselves

for Love's sake.                  Jonathan Stockland - March 2015

 

Added 4 years ago

17th March 2015

This weekend I hung the Sarum Cycle of paintings in the wonderful cancel of Michaelhouse in Cambridge.

This evening sees the start of this years Oxford Lent concert series in The Queen's College chapel, Oxford. More than concerts they are meditations on Our Lord's Passion through Art and music. This evening I will exhibit 5 small oil on paper paintings from the series I'm working on currently based on The Life of Mary. They'll be hung in their entirity January 2016 in Southwell Minster. Nottinghamshire.

The three evening concerts are Tuesday 17th March, Tuesday 24th March, Tuesday 31st March - 6.15pm. The music is Arvo Part's 'Passio' and Spiegel im Spiegel along with John Tavener's ' Chant', 'the Hidden Treasure' and 'Svyati'.

I'm a great fan of Tavener's music and perhaps an even greater one of Part's so I'm looking forward to it.

Added 4 years ago

30th January 2015  The Feast day of Charles I King & Martyr

Having spent the last three months working on a triptych dedicated to Charles I King & Martyr it was a great delight to finally install the paintings in the private chapel of the extraordinary Studley Priory. I have put a picture of the triptych in my Paintings Gallery section.

Charles Ist visited Studley Priory when he came to watch The Battle of Brill.

Central to the design is the chalice; symbolic of Charles' understanding that the mass should be the central act of worship. It was, of course, his adherence to this truth that turns the chalice into his own 'cup of suffering'.

The joy I experienced in the painting of the triptych was tempered by the increasing awareness of the magnitude of Charles' sacrifice.

Thomas Traherne wrote in his Centuries of Meditation (with 17thc spelling):

The Cross of Christ is a Tree set on fire with invisible flame,

That illuminateth all the world. The Flame is Lov.

The Lov in His bosom who died on it.

In the Light of which we see how to possess all the Things

In Heaven and Earth after his Similitude.

For he that suffered on it, was the Son of GOD as you are:

Tho He seemed a Mortal Man.

To this poor Bleeding Naked Man

Did all the Corn and Wine and Oyl,

And Gold and Silver in the World minister in an invisible Manner,

Even as he was exposed Lying and Dying upon the Cross,

Here you learn all Patience, Courage, Lov,

Contempt of the World, Joy, Penitence...

With whatsoever else is requisit for a Man, a Christian or a King.

Ths man Bleeding here was Tutor to King Charles the Martyr.

 

I also came across this extraordinarily moving piece of text...

Monday January 29th 1649

It was a day of ineffable sadness for the king when his two children, Princess Elizabeth, 14, and Prince Henry, 9, came from Syon House to St. James' Palace for a short visit to see their father for the last time. The Princess later wrote:

   'He wished me not to grieve and torment myself for him, for that would be a glorious death he should die, it being for the Laws and liberties of this land and for maintaining the true protestant religion. He told me that he had forgiven all his enemies and hoped God would forgive them also, and commanded us and all the rest of my brothers and sisters to forgive them. He bid me to tell my mother that his thoughts had never strayed from her and his love would be the same to the last. He bid commendation to all his friends.......'

 

At a time when we so often hear the term 'Martyr' the last three months painting have made me dwell on what it truly means to die for your faith.

 

Added 4 years ago

22nd January 2015

The full sized cartoon for the Great War Window (for Southwell Minster, Cathedral of Nottingham) is now complete and ready for going into production. The next stage is the selection of glass and the making of small trial sections. It was wonderful finally seeing the design full size. The drawing looks huge in my studio though the window in Southwell Minster seems relatively modest.

I've just finished the private commission of a large painted triptych for the chapel of a private Manor house. I'm pleased with how it's turned out. Based on the theme of King Charles I, King and martyr the central panel depicts Christ on the Mount of Olives; the Cup of suffering. This is the moment where Jesus says 'Not my will but yours be done'. Jesus (like Charles) is aware that he must take The cup of suffering and he is aware of its consequences.

I'm about to start working again on a series of very small oil on paper paintings based on the life of The Virgin Mary. These are for an exhibition in Southwell Minster in January 2016 dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

Added 5 years ago

16th December 2014 

Our hearts bleed. Two thousands years on and still The Innocents are Massacred.

God bless all those children slaughtered in Peshawar... and have mercy on the Taliban perpetrators; Herod's men.

Added 5 years ago

12th December 2014

Presently I'm enjoying working on a large painted Triptych for the private chapel of a Tudor Manor House. Based on the theme of King Charles, King and Martyr and linking Charles' visit to the house the design reflects on the sacrifice of Charles with Christ on the Mount of Olives.

I'm also currently working on the full size cartoon for the Great War Window for Southwell Minster (Nottinghamshire). It's so large I can't quite lay it out on my studio floor. See the glass section of the website for the coloured design as well as the monochrome cartoon on the studio floor. I'm working on this project with Steven and David Cowan (glaziers) of Sutton Coldfield.

Added 5 years ago

 

1st October 2014

Sunday 28th September saw the dedication of the new font cover Roger Wagner and I produced for Iffley Church in Oxford. Having both produced works for the church ( a window by Roger and an Aumbry by me) we decided to collaborate in designing and producing a new font cover. Having designed it together I produced a clay sculpted centre which Davia Walmsley of Daedalian Glass cast beautifully. The surround was made in pewter by A E Williams of Birmingham and the structure was made by Luke Hughes Design. What appears to be a rather small work was hugely complicated but eventually sucessful (I think).

Added 5 years ago

7th July 2014

Yesterday afternoon saw the dedication of my two sandblasted windows for The Church of St Christopher, Warden Hill, Cheltenham. It was a truly joyous celebration.

The church is a celebration of glass with ten superb coloured windows by Tom Denny and now the two new monochrome panels either side of the entrance.  

Tom's windows are based on Jesus' parables so I decided to use two more parables in my designs. In the right hand panel we see St Christopher wading through the river (of life) carrying a child - unknown to him the Christ child.

Christ opens his arms to wecome the return of the prodigal son (left hand panel) who is also us. At the same time the left hand panel depicts the parable of the good samaritan.

(see images in Glass section)

 

                            

Added 5 years ago

May 29th  2014 (Ascension Day)

The two sandblasted windows for The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham have now been installed (and dedicated). They were commissioned by two Birmingham Primary Schools: St Margaret Mary Catholic School and Christ The King Catholic School. This was the second window that Christ The King school had commissioned.

What extraordinary schools they are. I met with a group of the children (aged 5 to 11) and we developed the designs between us. Daedalian Glass of Lancashire sandblasted them for me.

Presently Daedalian are casting a sculpted Dove panel that I've produced to be part of a new font cover. I've worked with the artist Roger Wagner to design a new cover for Iffley church in Oxfordshire. Roger produced a new window for the church and I carved a stone Aumbry so we thought that it would be nice to collaborate to produce a new font cover.

I was absolutely delighted to be commissioned to produce a new stained glass window for Southwell Minster in Nottinghamshire to commemorate The Great War. The design is complete and I shall begin working on the window fairly shortly.

 

 

Added 6 years ago

17th December 2013

Victoria Jones wrote this splendid article about my Islip Glass screen. Her blog is well worth following.

Islip Glass Screen 

the Bishop of Dorchester The Rt Rev'd Colin Fletcher wrote this piece for 'The Door' relating to my Mother & Child sculpture in Beckley Church

Mother and Child

Added 6 years ago

29th November 2013

A busy time at the moment. 2 windows designed for a Church on Chetenham and waiting to start production. I'm also working on designs for another two windows for The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. Two seperate Primary schools are commissioning the panels. It is extraordinary to be working for such very young patrons!

For the last few weeks I've also been working on a design proposal for a large window for Southwell Minster to commemorate the First World War. I'm on a shortlist of 3 artists for the commission but the subject matter has taken me over. It has been enthralling researching the history of Southwell and The Great War. Many of the reports af the soldiers lives (and deaths) have been so moving that I have found the work both exhilarating and draining at the same time. Of course it would be a huge honour to produce the new window but whatever the eventual choice of artist I feel that it has been a privilege spending time working on the theme. In some very small way I feel that it is a way that I can salute all those who fought; both those who fell as well as those who returned.

Added 6 years ago

Summer Solstice

Finally finished carving 'Veroinca wipes the brow of Jesus' (see Sculpture Gallery).

Ever since I first painted this theme when I produced a set of Stations of The Cross for St. Matthew's Church, Birmingham this theme has haunted me. My dear friend Beamont Stephenson explained to me that the title was really a corruption/ development of the term Veronika, or 'true image'/ true icon. Normally the imprint or image of Christ himself appears in the cloth that Veronica uses to wipe Jesus' brow as he struggles on the road to Calvary.

In my sculpture, however, the cloth that Veronica holds has no image on it. Through her selfless action of wiping Jesus' brow she acts for and as Christ - She has become the very image of Christ.

Added 6 years ago

19th April 2013

Today the new window for Queen Elizabeth Hospital Chapel, Birmingham was dedicated in the most lovely service. The delightful children of Christ The King Catholic School, Birmingham who instigated the whole project sent along 25 of their fellow pupils to the service. They had the vision to commission the window; raising the funds to pay for it; commissioning it and helping with the development of the design.

In the window the two stretcher bearers wear Christ The King School sweatshirts. - for the children in their vision for this project act as stretcher bearers, bearing the viewers to Christ Himself. I reminded them of the words of St. Teresa of Avila - 'Christ has no hands but Yours'.

This week I was reminded how I see parallels all around me with what I read in the Bible. When I looked upon the image of that smiling happy little boy (called Martin) that was killed this week in the Boston Terrorist attack I immediately saw St. Stephen - a face filled with the light and glory of God; a candle burning brightly against a dark background. God bless that boy.

Added 6 years ago

10th April 2013

On Monday had the pleasure of meeting Victoria Jones, a young American visiting Britain with her husband for the first time. Victoria keeps a really fascinating Blog - check it out  http://the jesusquestion.org/ 

Today fitted the new glass panel I'd been working on for the Chapel in Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham. This was a very special commission as it was a Primary School (Chrit The King Primary Schhol, Birmingham) that commissioned the piece. It's the first time that I've ever worked for children and they were a great delight to have as patrons! - see an image of the panel on my Glass Gallery. It will be deicated next week when the children will see it for the first time.

 

 

Added 6 years ago

13th March 2013

It seems to have been a busy Lent in many ways. The series of talks accompanying my Sarum Cycle has now come to a close. Salley Vickers, Sr Frances Dominica, Lord Ian Blair and Lord Richard Harries all took one image from the cycle and talked about it. Each was very different and all were superb speakers. 

The small exhibition of sculpture and painting in the University Church passed happily as did the first night of this Lent's series of Art and Music in The Queen's College Chapel, Oxford University . I exhibited my Simon & Jesus sculpture. The music was four different settings of Psalm 51; settings by Purcell; Kuhnau; Esteves and Gabrielli. Next week the artist showing is Tim Steward and the following week Alison Berrett.

The standard of the performance is always breathtaking and last night was no exception. The acoustic of the chapel suits early music but at the same time demands unbelievably tight and accurate singing and music making.

God was truly glorified last night.

Added 6 years ago

11th February 2013 

Last night saw the first of the series of four speakers responding to 'The Sarum Cycle' Passion of Christ paintings currently on show in Christ Church Cathedral. The author Salley Vickers considered the painting of The Last Supper. She was riveting (in fact you could have heard a rivet drop) as she considered  Christ's last supper and the theme of Betrayal.  She spoke about the nature of this meal and its setting and about Judas' betrayal as well as Peter's denial/betrayal of Christ.

It is always wonderful to hear what others read into one's work and strangely moving (if not a little uncomfortable) when someone understands particular ideas that you have carved or painted. It is as if your very soul has been laid bare....'a sword shall pierce your own heart too'

Sometimes it is as if you have known someone forever

 

Added 6 years ago

5th February 2013 

Today I set up 'The Sarum Cycle' (Passion of Christ paintings) in Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford where it will remain until 9th April (see Exhibition section). It will be a focus for a series of 'After Eight' services in the cathedral at 8pm on Sunday evenings, when four prominent people in public life will reflect on one of the paintings:

10th February - Salley Vickers

17th - Sr Frances Dominica

24th February - Lord  Blair of Boughton

3rd March - Lord Harries of Pentregarth

I will lead meditations on The Passion of Christ using the paintings immediately after tyhe 6pm Eucharit on Thursday 21st February and Thursday 14th March

 

Added 6 years ago

20th December 2012

Today I visited Mirfield Priory to check how my Altar looked installed and to double check that the carving was completely finished. As I've only carved the front section at the moment the rest of the altar has been constructed on a temporary basis until I carve the side sections. A stone back and top will then be fitted. Finally the whole will be mortared to the floor removing the gaps that are presently apparent (see images in my Sculpture section).

As I sat, alone, in the vast yet surprisingly warm, expanse of this extraordinary church the silence was broken by a distant yet clarion - clear call of a cock crowing. It could not have been more perfect; the crowing cock - an early symbol of the Resurrection in this place that is dedicated to the Resurrection. The image I've carved on the front of this new Altar depicts one of the Resurrection appearances; The Supper at Emmaus.

Added 7 years ago

21st November 2012

Finally finished carving the front panel for the new stone altar for Mirfield Priory in Yorkshire.

The design is based on the Supper at Emmaus. Christ breaks bread and is recogised by those around him. This must have been an extraordinary moment and the various reactions to the realisation that Jesus was once again amongst them is reflected in their faces. We see astonishment; we see quiet acceptance (or could it be plain disbelief) and wee see abject horror (in the face rear right).  

Now, we read the account with the acceptance of hindsight - the actual event must have inspired incredulity, ecstatic excitement and perhaps even terror.

I've put an image of the panel in the Sculpture Gallery

Added 7 years ago

22nd October 2012

A while back I designed a Chasuble for St Matthew's Church, Birmingham. Croft Design of Shropshire have just finished making it and I've posted a photo of it on my 'Painting' Gallery.

Croft Design have done a wonderful job. I'm very pleased with how it's turned out! 

Added 7 years ago

10th October 2012:

Having spent the last two months in France I returned to see the House Martins massing on the telegraph wires outside my house preparing for their long flight south to Africa. It's a wonderful sight but one that is always tinged with the sadness that the summer is finally over; a summer in France that was long, dry and very hot.

Missing the Olympics entirely was more than made up for by going to Brands Hatch to watch the Paralmpic cycling and by going to the Mall to watch the Paralympic Marathon running and wheelchair racing. Extraodinary and exciting - the other Olympics could not possibly have compared.

It's strange how after several long term commissions come to a conclusion others seem to appear. I've finally started on the stone Altar for Mirfield Priory; I'm working on designs for a new window for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham and I'm designing a series of large paintings for a church. Alongside these there are several smaller projects that are all at the early design stage. It seems almost like the start of a new year.

Added 7 years ago

22nd June 2012

I've finally finished carving 'The Runner-Up' (Man of Sorrows) and put an image in the Sculpture Gallery. It's for an exhibition to be held in the Bow street Methodist Church, London from 23rd July - 1st September called ' Reaching Beyond'.

This piece is based on the idea of the athlete who, having trained much of his /her life for the Olympics, fails to make the final, perhaps going out in the first round or who perhaps fails to make the Olympic team selection.

To a world obsessed with medal tables and massive expectation placed on those who often a few months before were completely unknown (and often unsupported) anything less than Gold is failure.

I also see this figure as 'The Man of Sorrows', Jesus awaiting execution. Jesus, in the eyes of his disciples, must have seemed the ultimate failure. He who promised to save the Jews; who could save others but could not save himself.

And yet if we look beyond the immediate we see....the athlete who has reached beyond him or herself to achieve a place in the world arena. Similarly if we look beyond the crucifixion we can see, as did Jesus' disciples at the Supper at Emmaus, that Jesus was not the ultimate failure but rather the supreme victor.

Added 7 years ago

21st June 2012

You expect Midsummer's Eve to be magical and it has not disappointed me. This morning I installed the New Altar I designed for the Church of St Mary, Kiidlington. It was made by James Binning (of Deep in Wood) and Peter Street.

The design of the Altar is inspired by the medieval 'Weeping' Chancel of the church itself. The asymmetric design echoes the medieval stone arches and the slight tension resulting from their juxtaposition.

Standing at the back of the Nave looking eastwards in St Mary's it is difficult to find the visual centre point of the East end because of the sloping angle of the chancel. I have reflected this in the Altar design. Whilst the outer edges of the feet form a perfect rectangle they meet at different points where they reach the top - challenging the viewer to find the Altar's visual centre.

The left leg juts through the Altar top making a cross shape when viewed from the front.

A stainless steel candle holder has been set into the Altar top surrounded by the words 'I AM THE LIGHT'.

I see it as a sculpture that serves as a table and as a table that has been transfigured into a piece of sculpture; an echo of the change of wine into the Blood of Christ.

I wanted it to be a celebration of the material from which it is constructed; English Oak and through its simplicity serve to Glorify God.

As a baby I was baptised in the Norman Tub font - half a century on it is with a sense of great privilege that I can give something back to this church.

Added 7 years ago

14th june 2012

Yesterday I saw  two young men walking along a street. As I passed them in my car I saw that one was leading the other, a clearly mentally disabled young man, by the hand. It suddenly occured to me that Angels appear in many guises and here was one. It was hours later that I suddenly felt unsure about which one was the Angel.

Added 7 years ago

24th May 2012

What a magical day. Lunchtime I met up with some pupils from Christ the King Catholic School, Birmingham in Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. They've raised a huge amount of money which they've decided to commission a work of glass art to be sited in the new Hospital chapel. We discussed our ideas together and came to the conclusion that it should be based on Christ's Healing Miracles. It is a very special commission....afterall how often are you commissioned by primary school children? It is a huge honour to be part of their vision and enthusiasm and I am determined to produce something that they will be proud to have been part of.

Late afternoon and evening I spent visiting the furniture designer/maker Philip Koomen. I first saw Philip's work 20 years or more ago in an exhibition in Mallams, Oxford. I was bowled over by the staggering beauty of his pieces. I actually met him for the first time briefly at a talk I was doing at Dorchester Abbey (where incidentally he'd just installed new choir-stalls). Having the chance to look at his work in the studio first hand was very exciting. I am a huge fan of his work. Extraordinary how some people you feel that you have known all your life...

Added 7 years ago

23rd May 2012

A fun morning working with 5 and 6 year olds at Christ Church Cathedral School on an 'artweeks' project. A wonderful little school - their classroom, light and airy, was bursting full of their art hanging from the ceiling and walls.

Added 7 years ago

14th May 2012

Yesterday I went with friends to evensong at the church of St James the Great, South Leigh in Oxfordshire.   Nothing prepared me for what I was to behold upon entering the diminutive medieval church - the most extraordinary medieval wall paintings. On the chancel arch a complete Doom with souls rising from the dead heading Heavenward on the North side whilst those on the South side were being herded into the jaws of Hell. Further round on the South wall the most exquisite 'Weighing of Souls' I have ever seen.

A bright sunny and warm evening, the church was further lit up as the visiting choir, The Sine Nomine Singers launched into Thomas Tallis' 'If ye love me'.  It was one of those extraordinary moments when you see Heaven on Earth.

The 'Services Window' that I designed for Abingdon School chapel (see image on the Glass gallery) features a solitary soldier looking up to the sky to behold a vapour trail cross made by a modern fighter jet and a World War II spitfire. It is as if he, like the Centurion in the gospels, looks up at Christ's cross and says, 'Surely this man was the Son of God'.

A friend, Jonathan Stockland, having seen the image of this window sent me this poem that seems to capture that very moment.

VAPOUR TRAILS

Vapour trails table patterns in the sky,

dividing that high territory

by their linear geometry of destination;

such brief, unnatural conjunctions surprise us.

Dragged in the wake of man's

propelled silver pencils,

they cross their soft calligraphy

in straight patterns, scoring the atmosphere

as they travel with such intent

towards the diminishing arc of the horizon,

to a vanishing point of no return,

a landing place out of site.

Unlike the aerial graffiti of swifts,

or the clouds' ever soft-changing inconstancy,

they cross the tilted vision precisely,

for a few moments, branding

the sky with the saints' symbol,

in a brief statement of prophecy.

Their duration is dependent

on our perspective, and on our inclination;

they make their marks on a bare blue ground,

stay until we turn our face away,

or nameless winds feather them

into the frail contortions of space,

until they fade

into eternity.

-    Jonathan Stockland   March 2010   -

                

 

Added 7 years ago

28th April 2012

Last night saw the dedication of the Abingdon Chapel Windows. The whole evening was a joyous event.

The well crafted service was led by the Right Reverend John Pritchard, Bishop of Oxford whose humility, humour and clear vision surely reflects the Grace of God. The composer Simon Whalley composed an anthem especially for the occasion. He brilliantly reflected my three term window themes (Michaelmas term, Lent term and Summer term) in his anthem, dividing it into three parts; Emmanuel, Epiphany and Easter. As you would expect from him, it was a work of extraordinary depth and distinctly his.

I remember when my little painted triptych of John the Baptist was installed in the chapel of St John's College Oxford a wonderful anthem by Orlando Gibbons was performed. I remarked upon its beauty to the chaplain who replied - 'yes the college commissioned him to write it when he was here x hundred years ago!'

Back in 2004 the first window of the cycle (The Trinity Window) was dedicated by the then Bishop of Oxford, Richard Harries. Eight years on the cycle of ten windows is complete.

Added 7 years ago

26th April 2012

Finally.....all the new windows for Abingdon School Chapel are now installed - just in time for the Dedication service tomorrow evening. The ten windows, alternating between full coloured fused windows and monochrome windows tie the School year and the Church year together.

Credit must go to Davia Walmsley and all at Daedalian Glass who made them for me. It has been a marvellous project to have worked on and a commission that I feel particularly privileged to have received.

Added 7 years ago

18th April 2012

Finally the last windows for Abingdon School chapel are being fitted. By the middle of next week the complete series should be installed. The whole project has taken so many years that it will feel strange not having it there with me every day. I have waited a very long time to see the cycle complete.

I called on  Jane Dowling today to see a painting of John the Baptist that she is currently working on. Her multi layed tempera paintings are quite extraordinary - ethereal.

Added 7 years ago

14th March 2012

My friend Roger Wagner and I met up with Sister Wendy Beckett this morning. Sr Wendy was filming in The Ashmoleum for The One Show. It has been a few years since we last met and although she describes herself as 'frail now' she was in excellent form. She has an extraordinarily perceptive eye for Art and is gifted in being able to both read a work of art as well as communicate something of it in a straight forward direct manner. It is no wonder that she has become so universally popular.

She is also enormous fun. The three of us roared with laughter time and again as we talked about life and work.

I think Roger summed it up when, talking afterwards, he said that she is one of those people who make you happier for having spent time with them.

Added 7 years ago

5th March 2012

It was nice to revist Blythburgh again on Saturday. My sculpture of the Trinity in the porch niche has now mellowed in colour from the stark white is was when installed to a warm buff colour that sits more happily with the surrounding stonework. Looking back it was an extraordinary commission to get. The niche had been empty since Cromwell's troops had removed the original sculpture (though it may well have been empty since the Reformation in the 16thc). Money had been bequeathed to commission a sculpture based on the Trinity to be fitted into the niche.

The current exhibition in the church 'Journeying towards Easter' features my work alongside work by Brian Whelan, Iain McKillop and Laurence Edwards. It was a delight to meet Laurence Edwards as we have exhibited together in various exhibitions over the years without ever meeting. His work, largely bronze, is very powerful indeed. His 'Beast of Burden', exhibited in this show, reminded me of Herne the Hunter as well as Christ Crucified. It has a primitive feel to it.

During the afternoon a walk on Aldburgh beach to see Maggie Hambling's splendid beach placed sculpture reminded me of my first meeting with the artist Jane Dowling (wife of Peter Greenham). Walking with Roger Wagner, Mark Cazalet and Richard Kenton Webb we happened upon Jane as she sat painting on the pebble beach. After introductions by Roger we continued on and duly flew kites in the stiff breeze.

A year or so later at an exhibition of Jane Dowling's in a London gallery I noticed one of those same beach paintings featured us all in the distance flying kites (a red kite if I recall). At the time I could not afford to buy the picture but all these years on it is probably the work of art that I would most like to own or at least see again.

 

 

Added 7 years ago

Feb 27th     2012

Just been to see Roger Wagner's new stained glass window (with him) in Iffley Church, Oxfordshire. It balances the John Piper window opposite beautifully. It really is a fabulous window; a sort of 'flowering Rood' in the most vibrant colours. Quite a coincidence that two more of my windows for Abingdon School chapel are being fitted this week as well!

It was hoped that the three full colour fused windows would also be fitted this week but they're not completed yet - so it looks like it will be Easter now - very disappointing but not entirely surprising!

 

Added 7 years ago

February 16th     2012

The 'Services' window fitted today in Abingdon School chapel. I think that it might be an unusual window inasmuch as though celebrating the three Forces (Air Force, Army and Royal Navy) the main figure depicted is in modern (albeit slightly stylised) Afghanistan uniform.

 

Added 7 years ago

January 27th    2012

Still a few final adjustments on the Abingdon Chapel window designs and the enjoyable business of checking glass samples as Davia (the extraordinary Glass artist) sends me through sections to comment on. The deadline for getting it all finished and installed approaches fast.

Recently I went to see progress on Roger's (Wagner) new window that he's producing for Iffley Church. A sort of 'Flowering Rood' it will sit directly opposite John Piper's super Nativity Window (probably my favourite Piper window). It's going to be a very beautiful window. It's exciting to think that both of us will have work in the church. Talking of Piper I've got to write a talk for the John Piper Conference happening in Dorchester Abbey later in the Spring, entitled ' the Artist & the Church in the 21st century'...gulp.

George Wightman (poet) sent me another poem that I think is quite wonderful. It's always very moving and sometimes almost disturbing when someone else expresses what is in your own heart; exciting and disarming at once.

LIGHT

The child views with delight

Each flake of falling snow.

His world in its first light

Saints and slinky foxes know.

Old now his weakened sight

Sees hills at sunset glow.

The earth in its last light

Grace holds while shadows grow. copyright G.B.H. Wightman

 

Added 7 years ago

Jan 23rd    2012

For some years now I've had a copy of the poem 'English Seasons' by the poet George Wightman on my studio wall. Its eight lines span, for me, not only the changing seasons of the country year but also the birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ himself. In its simplicity lies not just the extraordinary beauty of Nature but a great hymn of praise to God. What God has created turns and praises. This poem captures in a few words what I have spent the last thirty years trying to say through paint, stone and glass.

'ENGLISH SEASONS'

'Praise the spring when the land

Is loved back to life

Praise the summer when the land

Flowers with love

Praise the autumn when the land

Bears the fruit of love

Praise the winter when the land

Sleeps in love that lives forever.' copyright: G.B.H.Wightman

When I painted 'Harvest' (in the Paintings gallery) I had the third couplet in my mind. My painting depicts the harvesting of apples (being lowered in a basket) but it is also the deposition of Christ's body from the cross. Christ is the 'fruit of love'.

Similarly, in my 'Sarum Cycle' when I painted 'The Stillness', in which we see the dead body of Christ lying under the earth, I had in my mind the last two lines of George Wightman's poem, 'Praise the winter when the land - Sleeps in love that lives forever.'

It's as if he as a poet works like I do as an artist, paring down words until only what really matters remains. His few remaining words cut like Simeon's sword straight to the heart. One has the sense that, like Blake's 'Tyger', the words were not written in any normal sense but that they were always there.

For some years now I've had a copy of the poem 'English Seasons' by the poet George Wightman on my studio wall. Its eight lines span, for me, not only the changing seasons of the country year but also the birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ himself. In its simplicity lies not just the extraordinary beauty of Nature but a great hymn of praise to God. What God has created turns and praises. This poem captures in a few words what I have spent the last thirty years trying to say through paint, stone and glass.

'ENGLISH SEASONS'

'Praise the spring when the land

Is loved back to life

Praise the summer when the land

Flowers with love

Praise the autumn when the land

Bears the fruit of love

Praise the winter when the land

Sleeps in love that lives forever.' copyright: G.B.H.Wightman

When I painted 'Harvest' (in the Paintings gallery) I had the third couplet in my mind. My painting depicts the harvesting of apples (being lowered in a basket) but it is also the deposition of Christ's body from the cross. Christ is the 'fruit of love'.

Similarly, in my 'Sarum Cycle' when I painted 'The Stillness', in which we see the dead body of Christ lying under the earth, I had in my mind the last two lines of George Wightman's poem, 'Praise the winter when the land - Sleeps in love that lives forever.'

It's as if he as a poet works like I do as an artist, paring down words until only what really matters remains. His few remaining words cut like Simeon's sword straight to the heart. One has the sense that, like Blake's 'Tyger', the words were not written in any normal sense but that they were always there.

 

Added 7 years ago

January 18th   2012

Having just finished checking the full size drawings for the 'Services' Window for Abingdon School I've taken the opportunity of a break between commissions to start a few other things. I've started carving ' Veronica wipes Christ's brow' (Caen stone) as well as working on several paintings that I've been wanting to start for a while. One of the paintings is a strange image of what I call 'Old Father Christmas'. With a little research reading I realised that the reason I always think of Father Christmas as 'Old' Father Christmas has its roots in the 17th century English Puritan's objections to the figure of Father Christmas. To give the idea that he had been around (as he indeed had) for some time those of a not so religious fervour referred to him as 'Old' in their effort to stop the Puritans banning him.

 

Added 7 years ago

Jan 13th    2012

A friend sent me a very touching picture of her granddaughter reaching up and placing her hand into the hand of one of my sculpted Angels in Iffley Church. It hadn't occured to me that the stone hand is in fact about the size of a small child's hand and just about within reach. Apparently another very small child when lifted up to look at the angels did exactly the same thing; she reached out and held the hand of the Angel.

It's wonderful how children respond to Art; instinctively. That simple gesture meant more to me as the artist than any rave review or artistic praise.

I remember some years back, taking my sons (when they were very small indeed) to the Biennale in Venice. their response to some of the Art was nothing short of hilarious - I'm only amazed that we didn't get thrown out. In one room a Japanese artist had filled the floor with rice and placed a pair of shoes in it also filled with rice - too much for a small child to resist. RMy youngest son immediately took off his own shoes and filled them with rice. Another gallery had a video installation playing by a Dutch artist that was nothing short of gruesome. After 30 seconds or so watching it the two boys roared uncontrollably with laughter and continued until everyone else in the room joined in laughing - initially at them then gradually with them at the video.

Children respond in ways that often take us by surprise. Thank God for that.

A piece by the poet Thomas Traherne comes to mind:

'You never enjoy the world aright, till you see how a sand exhibiteth this wisdom and power of God.

Suppose a river, or a drop of water, an apple or a sand, an ear of corn or an herb: God

knoweth infinite excellencies in it more than we: He seeth how it relateth to angels and

men; how it proceedeth from the most perfect Lover to the most Perfectly Beloved.

An ant is a great miracle in a little room and no less a monument of eternal love than

almighty power.

You never enjoy the world aright till the sea itself floweth in your veins, till you are

clothed with the heavens and crowned with the stars.

You are as prone to love as the sun to shine.' - Thomas Traherne

 

Added 7 years ago

January 10th     2012

Whilst waiting for the go-ahead to start working on the Qatar sculpture project (and the Mirfield sculpture project and the Kidlington Altar) and whilst the Abingdon Windiows are in production - I've been painting and sculpting. I'm carving 'Veronica wiping the brow of Christ '. This will be part of the Passion series that I started some time back. So far I've carved 'Simon and Jesus' (Simon of Cyrene helping Christ carry his cross) as well as 'The Deposition'. The series will be ten or so pieces. The themes have not all been decided on yet.

 

 

Added 7 years ago

Jan 6th    2012

Epiphany - the time when we remember the arrival of the Magi. Datewise, I have always associated the feast of The Epiphany with the Massacre of the Innocents. Nowadays in the Church of England Holy Innocents day seems to be marked on the 27th December. I've just read somewhere that the two feast days were indeed originally on the 6th January so perhaps I grew up with that understanding (not that it matters one jot what day we remember them; merely that we do).

I like Christina Rossetti's poem about the Massacre of the Innocents -

Unspotted lambs to follow the one Lamb,

Unspotted doves to wait on the one Dove;

To whom Love saith, 'Be with Me where I am,'

And lo! their answer unto Love is love.

For tho' I know not any note they know,

Nor know one word of all their song above,

I know Love speaks to them, and even so

I know the answer unto Love is love.

 

Added 7 years ago

January 2nd   2012

I have just returned from celebrating Christmas and the arrival of the New Year in Switzerland. One of the highlights, for me, was the extraordinary cowbell ringing on the eve of Cristmas eve and on the eve of New Year's eve. A dozen or so hardy young men processed around the village (Schonenberg) each with two huge cowbells hanging from a yoke around their shoulders. As they walked the bells clanged. The cacophonous ensemble processed around the village throughout the night stopping only for beer. As the Swiss celebrate Christmas eve with their main Christmas meal this procession occured on the 23rd and similarly with the eve of New Year; the pre-Christmas ringing serving to drive out evil spirits whilst the pre-New Year ringing welcomed the good spirits in.

The other highlight was standing by Schonenberg church as a full peel of bells rang in the New Year. Looking down over lake Zurich fireworks, as far as the eye could see, lit up the black starry night land illuminating the growing cordite fog over the lake. Directly in front of where we stood flickered little red candles on graves in the cemetery. It was as if all those who had gone before joined with us as we stood with hearts uplifted and hopes for the New Year. Those little red lights seemed slightly at odds with the Protestant church next to us and protestant difficulty in accepting that we all - dead and living - are one in Christ. We lit Chinese lanterns and as if by divine intervention they duly rose into the black night and drifted in perfect succession over the lakeside villages towards the lake - a magical night.

 

Added 7 years ago

December 21st     2011

Two more windows fitted for Abingdon School Chapel. The remaining five should be fitted by the end of February. Daedalian Glass are doing a good job of making the windows (as well as fitting them).

I'm presently working on a painting of the Holy Family. It's a painting I started a year or so ago but didn't like so had left unfinished. It's wonderful when you can attack a painting with fresh eyes and with a lack of respect for what you'd already done. It almost always leads to something exciting happening. Whilst working on it I've been listening to Howard Goodall's 'Enchanted Carols' and specifically his 'Lullaby of Winter' which seems to echo the painting exactly. It is a magical piece hinting at the deep unspeakable mystery that is Christmas. Howard Goodall, in the music's accompanying booklet, tells us that the composition of all the music on this Christmas selection was all done in the 'baking heat of a French summer'. When I read that it reminded me of a time that I sat painting in the searing heat of a Burgundy garden. I had started a painting of the Holy family in a bright summer setting. Suddenly I knew that should rather be the Holy family on the Flight to Egypt in moonlight. I retired indoors to finish the painting.

This time so deep in the darkness of Winter always seems a time of change. Two friends, unknown to each other and a generation apart have died in these last two weeks. One a young man of 30 (Dan Male) the other an elderly lady (Kay Ireland) - united in their extraordinary positivity, never ever complaining, setting the example of truly loving their neighbour and always putting others before themselves.

 

Added 8 years ago

December 6th  Feastday of St. Nicholas  2011

To celebrate this day, which I always feel is the start of preparation for Christmastide, I've put an image of St Nicholas onto the Glass Gallery. It's a white crayon on black paper study for the Islip Glass Screen. It was the image I created for the double doors in the glass screen. Sunday school children go through these doors so I thought that it should be read not only as St Nicholas raising the three little children from the dead but also as Christ saying 'Let the little children come unto me'.

 

Added 8 years ago

Nov 10th    2011

I'm working on a painting at the moment. I haven't painted for a while and it seems wonderfully decadent compared to standing outside hitting stone with mallet and chisel. It's a Nativity scene with Mary and Joseph holding theChrist child joyously aloft. Mary holds him under his arms so that his arms are outstretched hinting of the crucifixion to come. The stone animal feed trough beneath (with straw in) appears like an empty tomb linking the scene to the resurrection as well. It's at that awkward stage when I don't know if it's going to work as a painting or not.

 

Added 8 years ago

November 7th    2011

Having just spent the most extraordinary week in Morocco it is a shock to return to the cold damp of England. The High Atlas mountains were definately the highpoint (literally).

The call to prayer (at 5.17am each morning) was an impressive reminder of the devotion of so many muslims. I'm not sure how well received ringing the village church bells at 5.17am each morning would be ...or indeed how popular only allowing Christians in to visit cathedrals and churches would be (in Morocco you are only allowed in to visit a mosque if you are a muslim).

 

Added 8 years ago

Oct 27th   2011

Spent the last couple of days designing sculptures for my series on The Passion of Christ. I design almost unconsciously - often when I turn the page of my sketch book I forget what I've designed. I've got into the habit of going back through my sketchbooks on a regular basis to see what I've designed that I might have forgotten about. The only reason that I don't think that it's the early stages of Dementia is becaue I've always been the same. This morning was a case in point - having spent the last day or so working on a design for Christ falling I chanced to check my last sketchbook (only finished a few months back) and found several pages of similar designs - only more refined and successful. I'm never quite sure whether to be annoyed or delighted!

As I look through my sketchbooks for earlier thoughts on particular themes I often find designs that I had forgot about completely. Sometimes they are quite finished designs for paintings or sculptures. I suppose that in reality I design six or seven things to every one that I produce.

My sketchbooks are the most organised part of my life. I have used the same style book for the last 15 or 20 years. Each page is numbered and every sculpture, glass project and painting and every commission that I've worked on is in the sketchbooks.

 

Added 8 years ago

Oct 19th    2011

Finished the final design for The Services Window for Abingdon School chapel. Celebrating the Royal Air Force, The Royal Navy and the Army it commemorates the lives given by Old Boys of the school as well as acknowledging those who currently serve in our forces ( and indeed those who will do so in the future).

Yesterday I partook of the annual ritual of sweeping the house chimney in order to light the first fire of the year. Ironic that such a powerful symbol of cleaning should be so dirty to do. It seems to mark a point of change in the year; when we start to look towards Hallowtide and eventually Christmas.

It reminds me of the last verse of a children's poem by Leonard Clark, 'Hallowe'en' -

'This is the night when angels go

In and out the houses, winging o'er the snow;

Clearing out the demons from the countryside

They make it new and ready for Christmastide.'

The only year that I failed to sweep the chimney before the first fire led to the Fire Brigade arriving at the same time as my dinner guests.

 

Added 8 years ago

Oct 13th    2011

The Depositionof Christ sculpture is just about finished. I've put an image on the Sculpture Gallery. A brief explanation of it can be found under the entry for 21st September.

It's in Caen stone. Caen stone is nice to carve; not as hard as Portland and not quite as easy as Tervoux. I was planning to make the Font and Stations of the Cross (for Qatar) in Tervoux but the Caen seems better quality presently and as it's very similar indeed in colour it looks as if it will be Caen stone.

Also just finishing off sketch for the last window design for Abingdon School. This particular window is to celebrate the Royal Air Force; The Royal Navy and the Army and all the Old Boys who served or presently serve in the forces.