Saturday 27 April 2013

Mark Lewis - DAC commendation, book and exhibition

The Holy Water Stoup designed by Mark Lewis for St Margaret’s Great Ilford has been awarded a ‘Commended’ certificate in the annual Design Awards of the Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Diocese of Chelmsford.  The judges commented on 'the simple and elegant design' of the Holy Water Stoup which they said 'has been well crafted.'

Mark has explained that the design of the Holy Water Stoup, which is made from oiled oak and polished brass, 'is inspired by a rising and opening hand in a gesture that suggests invitation or something offered and given in love, reflecting the mission of the Church.' The engraved inscription on the stoup reads as, ‘We praise you O God.’ The Stoup was dedicated by parish priest Fr. Stephen Pugh on Sunday 25th March 2012 in memory of Mr Ron Smith.

Mark has recently had his book entitled Days and Rites: Popular customs of the Church published by the Heart of Albion Press:

"People go to church to worship and, as is often quipped, to be 'hatched, matched and dispatched'. Yet these quintessential rites have been adapted in all sorts of ways by parishioners and clergy up and down the country, while a great number of 'blessings' and other services that are quite specific to individual churches are performed annually. Collectively, they create a rich variety of traditions, many of which are only known about locally.

Some of these liturgical traditions have survived unbroken over many centuries, others have been revived after a break during the twentieth century – while yet more continue to be invented. Some of these more recent traditions – such as Harvest Festivals and Christingle – are now so ubiquitous that many churchgoers are unaware of a time when they were not part of the yearly cycle of customs.

By drawing together, for the first time, detailed information about these popular customs of the church, Mark Lewis hopes to stimulate further interest, research and recording of these remarkable events."

Mark's Drawing the Line exhibition at the School of Jewellery in Birmingham has just closed. The exhibition represented the current output of an ongoing drawing and mark-making project in the form of a series of weekly visual diaries. These sketchbook journals are a response to the urban and rural landscape observed on Mark’s train journey which is undertaken every week from London Marylebone to Birmingham Snow Hill (and vice versa) on the Chiltern Mainline. This attempt to build up a different form of visual intimacy with a continually changing landscape viewed in all directions began over two years ago. The project has challenged the relationship between visual perception and mark-making and encouraged new ways of seeing which are essential when working spontaneously under self-imposed pressure.

The exhibition presented all of the visual diaries in both original and digitised forms. Each sketchbook journal is an unedited response to a section of the urban and rural landscape observed on Mark's journey and attempts to capture a sense of place through immediate felt response, memory and cumulative knowledge. Every journey has prompted a different way of engaging with the surrounding landscape. Some sequences are overlaid with responses from subsequent journeys; others are worked up later from recalled fragments, while more recent series are semi-abstractions generated almost totally from memory. Earlier figurative studies have gradually given way to the use of visual metaphors capturing landscape gestures, hidden structures, energies and patterns.

Mark is an industrial designer specialising in product design, jewellery and silversmithing. He has taught drawing and design in adult, further and higher education for 30 years. Formerly a principal lecturer in the Sir John Cass Department of Art Media and Design at London Metropolitan university, he is currently lecturing part-time at BIAD, Birmingham and the Goldsmiths Centre in London. Drawing has always been central to his creative practice and he is currently pursuing personal projects which focus on gestural drawing and mark-making.

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