Thursday 25 June 2009

West Ham Festival exhibition

Works by Henry Shelton, Jonathan Evens & Peter Webb

Works by Rosalind Hore, David Hawkins & Anne Creasey

Works by Michael J. Creasey & Anne Creasey

Works by Michael J. Creasey

Works by Harvey Bradley (in the foreground)

Works by Harvey Bradley, Peter Webb & David Hawkins

Works by Harvey Bradley, Jonathan Evens & Henry Shelton

Works by Rosalind Hore, Anne Creasey & Michael J. Creasey

Works by Harvey Bradley, Joy Rousell Stone, Jonathan Evens & Rosalind Hore

Works by Joy Rousell Stone, Jonathan Evens & Henry Shelton
The West Ham Festival has been revived this year by All Saints West Ham to celebrate community life in the area. The church is open between 11.00am and 5.00pm until Sunday for people to view exhibitions (including the past and present life of the church and works of art by local artists), enjoy concerts, a Children's Party, a dinner, and a Grand Féte. On Sunday there will also be a Festival Service of Thanksgiving.

Our exhibiting artists are: Harvey Bradley, Anne Creasey, Michael Creasey, Jonathan Evens, David Hawkins, Rosalind Hore, Henry Shelton, Peter Shorer, Joy Rousell Stone and Peter Webb. The 26 works on show include a conceptual piece, embroidered panels, paintings (abstract and figurative), and a wall hanging.

Alphabets of the World

Alphabets of the World is a textile and design project based in Manor Park and run by Celia Ward (who is a Commission For Mission artist). The aim of the project is to make a series of hangings based around the different alphabets in the area. The Roman alphabet has been the first, with Arabic, Hindi and Romanian hangings in progress. Most of the sewing is done by a group of women from diverse backgrounds who meet every Wednesday morning at St Barnabas Manor Park.

This Alphabets of the World hanging is currently on display as part of the West Ham Festival at All Saints West Ham.

Sunday 21 June 2009

Viki Isherwood-Metzler

SMILE (230cm x 100cm):
Psalm 42:5 (out of The Message)
Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God- soon I'll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He's my God.

JOY (160cm x 80cm):
Philippians 4:4
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds i Christ Jesus?

Viki Isherwood-Metzler learnt the art of mosaic in Ravenna, Italy and worked until 2001 as a mosaic maker in Zurich, Switzerland from where she comes. Since 2002 she has lived and worked in London.

Viki's Mosaics does all kind of commissioned mosaic work in marble, glass, ceramics, terracotta and pebble stones. She writes that:

"Mosaics are used on all kinds of surfaces. They are a beautiful way to decorate and protect facades, floors, walls, ceilings and swimming pools. They are equally appropriate indoors and outdoors. Some types of furniture covered in mosaic look great too."

To see a good range of Viki's work click on the link here to view images on her website.

Tuesday 16 June 2009

Two Saturday openings

This coming Saturday sees the opening of two initiatives with which Commission For Mission is involved.

The first is the opening of the West Ham Festival at All Saints Church, Church Street, West Ham, London E15 3HU. The Festival runs from 20th - 27th June and includes an exhibition by Commission For Mission artists.

Our exhibiting artists are: Harvey Bradley, Anne Creasey, Michael Creasey, Jonathan Evens, David Hawkins, Rosalind Hore, Henry Shelton, Peter Shorer, Joy Rousell Stone and Peter Webb. The 26 works on show will include a conceptual piece, embroidered panels, paintings (abstract and figurative), and wall hangings.

In addition, to our exhibition there will also be: exhibitions by Andy McGuire and John Uche; a church history exhibition (All Saints is one of Newham's finest buildings which dates back a thousand years); a textiles exhibition; and a flower festival. The West Ham Festival also features a wide range of other events and services. Details of these can be found by clicking here.

The second opening is of Café Refresh at St Andrews Leytonstone at 11.00am on Saturday 20th June. Harry Cohen MP for Leyton and Wanstead will be opening the café at 11 am. Free coffee and tea will be served for all their community and guests at Café Refresh from 11 am until 12 noon.

Café Refresh is being launched to serve as a meeting place and ‘haven’ for the local community. Local chef, Elliot Joseph, will run the café. Elliot is passionate about healthy food and bringing the community together. He’s on a mission to bring healthy, tasty food to the community. Café Refresh will be offering teas, coffees, hot chocolate and light snacks and lunches. Opening times are 10 am –5pm on Tuesday and Saturday, and 12 –5pm on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

St Andrew’s is also opening as a creative centre and will have a creative programme – Reflect – running alongside the café. This programme launches on July 5th, with an exhibition of Christian artworks in the Church by Commission for Mission. A networking evening on Art and Spirituality will be held on 9 July from 7-9.30pm involving presentations from our artists - Jonathan Evens, Rosalind Hore and Mark Lewis. The church will also be playing host to a number of creative events during the Leytonstone Art Trail and Leytonstone Festival.

Saturday 13 June 2009

Development of a community art installation

We asked workshop participants to create a picture that said something about themselves before nailing that picture to the cross. Some ideas that we suggested included:
  • an abstract using favourite colours;
  • a collage of favourite things;
  • a picture of themselves, families, friends or favourite places;
  • an abstract with colours showing how they felt right then; and
  • writing about themselves – a description, a poem, a short story.

People used several of these ideas, as well as doing their own thing. The first picture nailed to the cross was actually one straight from the heart describing how the person felt right then and there. Our thought was that on the cross all of what we are, difficult and joyous, is held and embraced by God.

Art Installation workshop

Anne Creasey and Harvey Bradley in discussion before workshop participants arrive

Elwin Cockett, the Archdeacon of West Ham, talking with Barbara and Harvey Bradley

Anne Creasey nails a finished artwork to the cross

Harvey Bradley & Anne Creasey assist participants

The Art Installation workshop in full flow

We had a very busy at the Commission For Mission Art Installation workshop today at the 'Fun in the Park' event at Barkingside.
Workshop participants were asked to help create an Art Installation by making a picture that says something about them and then nailing it to a wooden cross. The completed installation (cross and pictures) will now be displayed in Holy Trinity Barkingside.
Harvey and Barbara Bradley, Anne Creasey and Jonathan Evens worked with the workshop participants.

Friday 12 June 2009

Veritasse Artisan's newsletter article

This piece about Commission For Mission has recently been published in the Veritasse Artisan's newsletter:

Local churches contemplating the possibilty of commissioning contemporary art are often put off by what they think will be prohibitive costs, disputes in the congregation about appropriate styles, and arguments that there are more important prorities for the available money.

Since the mid point of the twentieth century, cathedrals in the UK began once again to regularly commission contemporary art but, for the reasons, listed above local churches have rarely followed their lead. Commission For Mission is a new arts organisation which is seeking to change that picture and to do by making the commissioning of contemporary an opportunity for mission and a means of fundraising for charities.

The visual arts can contribute to mission by: speaking eloquently of the Christian faith; providing a reason for people to visit a church; providing a link between churches and local arts organisations/initiatives; and providing a focus around which local people can come together for a shared activity. A good example of this occuring is St Albans Romford, where Commission For Mission was launched in March 2009 and where, as a direct result of its many commissions, the church is regularly visited by those from the local community and further afield who come to see Christianity differently through their visit.

When the visual arts are seen as integral to mission then the interest of congregations in commissioning is likely to grow but the issues of cost and other priorities still remain. As a result, Commission For Mission is building up a pool of artists (painters, sculptors, silversmiths, potters, jewellery makers etc.) able to work flexibly to available budgets and willing to allow a proportion of the cost of each commission to go to charity and is recommending that commissioned artworks are donated to churches by interested parties as memorials to loved ones. Our experience suggests that this combination of charitable fundraising and memorial donations overcomes many of the issues usually faced when considering the commissioning of contemporary art for local churches.

None of this means that quality is being compromised either. In the words of Henry Shelton, the founding artist member of Commission For Mission, what we offer is "quality work and craftsmanship, rather than mass-produced work, to continue the legacy of the Church as a great commissioner of art."

Our Patron, David Hawkins, the Bishop of Barking, sums it up when he says:

"there is a big need to re-engage with the Arts. The church has had a lengthy and happy marriage with the Arts in the past but this has eroded in recent times. I agree with Rowan Williams that the Church needs more artists and 'that artists are special people but every person is a special kind of artist.' I think that there is great scope in the Church encouraging creative expression in everyone as this is a way of helping us to be fully human."

We are providing many opportunities to see the quality and originality of work available from commission4mission and its artists over the coming months including at the West Ham and Leytonstone Festivals.

We are also aiming to provide information, ideas and examples of contemporary Christian art and its use or display within church settings. To that end, we are organising a networking event at St Andrews Leytonstone on Thursday 9th July from 7.00pm. Three commission4mission artists (Jonathan Evens, Rosalind Hore and Mark Lewis) will give brief presentations on 'Spirituality - the heartbeat of Art?' leading into space for open discussion and debate. A Study Day entitled 'Perspectives on commissioning Christian Art' has also been organised for Saturday 7th November at Chelmsford Cathedral (10.00am - 2.30pm) with contributions from the Bishop of Barking, the Dean of Chelmsford Cathedral, the Chair of Chelmsford DAC and commission4mission artists. For more information about commission4mission, our activities and our artists, please email me at

Wednesday 10 June 2009

Art in Religious Spaces consultation

Live painted performance piece by David Shillinglaw, painted during the Visionaries exhibition
Works by Adam Neate & Albert Herbert

Works by the Chapman Brothers & Cecil Collins

Henry Shelton with another consultation participant

Henry Shelton & Colin Burns alongside works by Cecil Collins & Unity Spencer

Three Commission For Mission artists - Colin Burns, Jonathan Evens and Henry Shelton - attended a lunchtime get-together organised by the Wallspace Gallery for all those involved in displaying contemporary art in unusual spaces, such as churches or other religious buildings.
Revd Katharine Rumens from St Giles Cripplegate in the Barbican and Paul Bayley of Art+Christianity Enquiry spoke about their experiences of working with artists in city churches. Katherine's experiences ranged from community art workshops in East Ham to temporary art installations at St Giles while Paul described the Insight visual arts stream created for the City of London Festival in 2005. There was an opportunity for all those attending to introduce their projects, meet one another and discuss the issues raised by work in this area. We were also able to see the current Wallspace exhibition, Visionaries, which closes today.
Visionaries was an exhibition of works and performance by artists on the edge – visionary artists whose work is set outside or on the fringes of cultural institutions, often offering a trenchant critique of culture. Visionaries brought together artists working in this honourable and challenging tradition; essentially those who explore with passion the territories of the spiritual, the religious and the human condition. The exhibition included works by Stanley Spencer and Cecil Collins of the twentieth century, mid-twentieth-century paintings by Norman Adams, Albert Herbert and Anthony Goble, later painters such as Peter Howson, Clive Hicks-Jenkins and Brian Whelan, and twenty-first-century artists such as the Chapman brothers, Billy Childish and Adam Neate. Visionaries can be seen at the Greenbelt Arts Festival, at Cheltenham Racecourse, August Bank Holiday weekend, 25 to 31 August.
Wallspace is an exhibition venue in the church of All Hallows on the Wall in the City of London. Its aim is to provide a spiritual home for the visual arts in the capital. The vision for Wallspace has been developed principally by its Director, freelance curator Meryl Doney.

Monday 8 June 2009

Fun in the Park

Fun in the Park is a day of fun activities organised by Holy Trinity Barkingside on Saturday 13th June (11.00am - 4.00pm) at Barkingside Recreation Ground (next to the Police Station), Mossford Green, Ilford, Essex. There will be puppet shows, arts and crafts, football, bouncy castle, rides, stuff to buy, stage with Christian and non Christian music acts, food and drink, graffiti tent and more.

Commission For Mission will be running an art installation workshop at the event. Each workshop participant will be asked to create on paper an image representing themselves, using the art & craft materials available. Each image will then be nailed to a cross creating a simple installation which will be displayed at Holy Trinity following the event. Harvey Bradley, Anne Creasey and Jonathan Evens will be leading the workshop.

Thursday 4 June 2009

West Ham Festival exhibition

Following the success of our Pentecost Festival exhibition, we are looking forward to our next exhibition which will show work by a wider range of our artists.

Among those showing work in the West Ham Festival (All Saints Church, Church Street, West Ham, London E15 3HU) from 20th - 27th June will be Harvey Bradley, Anne Creasey, Michael Creasey, Jonathan Evens, David Hawkins, Rosalind Hore, Henry Shelton, Peter Shorer and Joy Rousell Stone. The works on show will include conceptual pieces, embroidered panels, paintings (abstract and figurative), photographs, and wall hangings.

In addition, to Commission For Mission's exhibition there will also be: exhibitions by Andy McGuire and John Uche; a church history exhibition (All Saints is one of Newham's finest buildings which dates back a thousand years); a textiles exhibition; and a flower festival. The West Ham Festival also features a range of events and services. Details of these can be found by clicking here.