Sunday 31 January 2010

Member's activities update

Colin Burns will be exhibiting some of his paintings on Saturday 13th February (5.30-8.30pm) at Power Centre Church, 238-240 London Road, Mitcham, Surrey as part of an event to raise funds for the charity Wood World Missions and its work amongst orphans in Africa.

Sarah Ollerenshaw is among those exhibiting in 'When Creation Sings', an exhibition showcasing artists' works from community arts organisations (including: Wimbledon College of Art, Kingston & Wimbledon YMCA and local art studios in Wimbledon and Kingston) to be held at Hillside Church Wimbledon.

Jonathan Evens has had an exhibition review of Lorenzo Quinn's Equilibrium exhibition published in the current edition of the Church Times.

Jonathan's 'Stations of the Cross' meditations are also being used, for the second year running, by the Northwood and Northwood Hill Art Stns. This community art project involves a trail of artworks exploring some of the events in the final hours of Jesus' life. The artworks include paintings, photographic exhibits, drapes, metal sculpture and collages and will be displayed (from Friday 26th March - Friday 2nd April) at Holy Trinity Northwood, London School of Theology, Northwood Library, Northwood Methodist Church, Brisa Cafe, Northwood Bookshop, Northwood Station, St John's Northwood, Emmanuel Church Northwood, Hillside School, Northwood Hill Library, and St Edmund the King, Fairfield Church. Each artwork will be accompanied by one of Jonathan's meditations and an explanation from the artist. From Saturday 3rd - 12th April, all the artworks will be displayed together at Fairfield Church. The Northwood and Northwood Hills Art Stns are part of a passion for life. Admission free. Check website for opening times. Contact Rachie Ross on 01923 824306.

Tryptich panels erected

The panels for the tryptich, which will form the centrepiece of the 'Stations of the Crown of Thorns' commission by Henry Shelton for St Paul's Goodmayes, were erected this morning. As can be seen in the photos, which show the central panel without its wings, the tryptich will integrate an existing crucifix into the scheme to form the 12th Station.
The Vicar of St Paul's Goodmayes (and commission4mission member), Revd. Benjamin Rutt-Field, has been on retreat this week in order to write a set of meditations to complement the new 'Stations' which Henry Shelton is creating.

Thursday 28 January 2010

Drawing First

Mark Lewis has a new website for his consultancy work, called Drawing First. He aims to open up the world of freehand drawing to people of all ages for professional and personal development, stimulation or enjoyment.

Drawing First aims to:
  • Develop and extend drawing skills and
  • Foster creative thinking in a variety of exciting learning contexts.

Mark firmly believes that, in the pursuit of every artistic endeavour, one should always put drawing first and says:

"Drawing is a great way to 'see' and a powerful means of personal expression and communication. Drawing can also be a journey of discovery, inspiring, reflective, therapeutic and fun."

Drawing First workshops and events are designed to explore drawing in order to:

  • Promote active looking
  • Encourage visual enquiry
  • Enhance learning
  • Stimulate creativity

These are offered to schools, colleges, universities, commercial organisations, museums, art clubs, churches and other community organisations, pitched at different levels of experience and satisfying a wide range of needs. Workshops may be of variable duration and embrace a diversity of drawing practices, techniques and graphic media.

Tuesday 26 January 2010

Ally Clarke

out there

Ally Clarke studied Sculpture and is inclined to create installation works complimented by photography, drawing, collage and print. Enjoying creative collaborations, she has recently worked with a Sculptor / Performance Artist producing film, sculptural and performance works.

Ally views her creative work as a means of investigating the world and engaging with others in the consideration and wonder of it, intending that the work communicate something of the value and uniqueness of us as individuals and stimulate consideration by the viewer of the particular, precious contribution each makes to their world. She presents evocative, personal creations that produce opportunities for reflection and refreshment.

The materials used in her installations are selected largely because of their symbolic nature and their inherent textural composition. Oftentimes the materials are collected from particular people - the forging of new friendships in this process is frequently an important aspect of the work.

Ally has installed a number of 3D works in 'sacred' spaces as an aid to worship and contemplation and loves to create artwork to compliment a particular sermon series or study theme. She has several installations which could be recreated on request in churches and other spaces. See Chosen Stones and Agony for Hope for more information.

Monday 25 January 2010

Stations of the Crown of Thorns commission

Stations 10, 14 & 15

Stations 6, 7 & 8

Stations 1, 2 & 3

Henry Shelton has completed work on 12 of the 15 Stations of the Crown of Thorns which have been commissioned for St Paul's Goodmayes. A frame is currently being constructed for the tryptich of Stations 11, 12 and 13 which Henry will paint in situ and which will complete the commission and create the central focus of the scheme.
In this semi-abstract scheme, Christ is represented solely by the Crown of Thorns. The colour scheme of the Stations harmonises with the existing stained glass windows within the church and provides an emotional register for the Stations themselves. The additional Station represents the risen Christ in the form of bread and wine and will be located in the Lady Chapel.

Friday 22 January 2010

ART with a heart

ART with a heart is a special private view evening at Hillside Church Wimbledon celebrating 'When Creation Sings', an exhibition showcasing artists' works from community arts organisations including: Wimbledon College of Art, Kingston & Wimbledon YMCA and local art studios in Wimbledon and Kingston. The private view includes cava, canapés, guest speaker and dj. The exhibition includes painting, photography, sculpture, installation and film. Sarah Ollerenshaw is among those exhibiting.

All artwork you will be for sale and a percentage of proceeds will go to Kingston and Wimbledon YMCA. A suggested donation of £5 or £10 will be taken at the door to cover the costs of the event. For further information about ART with a heart contact 020 8944 5544, email at or visit the event on facebook.

A future date for diaries is the preview evening for Sarah's exhibition at St Peter's Notting Hill on 10th June.

Thursday 14 January 2010

Newsletter No 4

Bishop David speaking at our Study Day in November 2009

Newsletter No. 4 – January 2010

commission4mission is moving into an exciting future as we move into 2010. Our catalogue of artists is being distributed. We have new works underway for St Peter's Harold Wood, St Edmunds Tyseley and St Pauls Goodmayes. We are planning a Passiontide exhibition, a second Study Day and have offers of permanent exhibition spaces at two churches. During 2010 we will be joined by Helen Gould, who was formerly Director of Creative Exchange, to work on events and strategic development.

‘Perspectives on commissioning Christian Art’
A commission4mission Study Day held at Chelmsford Cathedral on 7th November 2009 with an accompanying showcase exhibition, 2nd – 7th November

The Bishop of Barking, the Rt. Revd. David Hawkins, issued a call to re-engage with our visual heritage as a spur to mission at a Study Day on Church Art organized by commission4mission and held at Chelmsford Cathedral.

The Bishop argued that a large part of worship was non-verbal – visual or sound – and that the non-verbal aspects of worship often affected people more than the verbal. The Church in the past had taught the faithful through images in stained glass, fresco and mosaic and, because we once again live in a highly visual culture, we need to understand that the commissioning of art for churches is a missional activity.

He pointed to the story of the bronze snake crafted by the Israelites while in the wilderness (Numbers 21. 4-9) as the first piece of transformational and healing public art in the Judeo-Christian tradition and suggested that a work such as Anthony Gormley’s Angel of the North has had a similarly transformative integrity in a depressed region of the country.

The Bishop told two stories of commissioning, from his own parish experience at St George’s Leeds, to illustrate his argument. The first concerned designs which he as an artist priest developed to complete lancet windows which were part clear and part stained glass. The theme for these windows – the Tree of Life – arose naturally from a year of teaching on the theme of roots and shoots as part of the 150 year celebrations at the church. The Bishop’s design had integrity in the context because it focused and summarized a significant year in the life of the church.

His second example concerned a commission by Steve Simpson for a former boiler room in the crypt at St Georges which was to become a prayer space for the homeless project located there. The idea was for twelve paintings on a ‘Last Supper’ theme to be based on project users and displayed in the round above benching. These ideas, however, only came to life in the space once discussions concerning the work reached the conclusion that the images needed to be torn as though they were fragments of historical artefacts emerging from the crypt’s wall. As a result, the Bishop highlighted the importance of the collaborative process as a source of real creativity in commissions.

He also called for greater use of temporary artworks and projects. These would emerge from a particular generation and time but were not intended to become permanent additions to a church. Finally, he highlighted the significance of encouraging all kinds of people from our communities to bring their visual expressions into church. We are all creative, he argued, because we are all made in the image of God. Our creativity becomes part of worship, whether conscious or not.

The Dean of Chelmsford Cathedral, the Very Revd. Peter Judd, shared stories of commissioning a range of works from artists such as John Piper, Mark Cazalet and Peter Eugene Ball. His experiences were mixed as some commissions had proved very difficult with significant opposition encountered while others had come together very easily.

His first experience, of installing a Nativity window by John Piper at Iffley Church Oxford, was one of the most controversial and has recently been documented in a new biography of Piper and his wife Myfanwy (F. Spalding, John Piper, Myfanwy Piper: Lives in Art, OUP Oxford, 2009). The opposition that Judd encountered and the difficulty of agreeing an appropriate location for and extension to what was an existing work by Piper were eventually resolved and once installed the window became a greatly loved addition to a church already famous for its beauty and architectural interest. Judd ended by encouraging those present to trust the artist.

Among the highlights of commission4mission’s exhibition which accompanied the Study Day was Peter Webb's Architect's arguing over the Tower of Babel, a wonderfully detailed and witty take on a rarely depicted or imagined aspect of the story that has previously been included in a Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. Colin Burns' oils evoked a sense of calm and reflection that could well benefit a prayer space. Caroline Richardson's glass work Broken-Hearted was a strong statement working well with popular rather than explicitly Christian imagery. The Leader by Joy Rousell Stone and Henry Shelton's two Stations of the Cross pieces, by the energy of their brushwork and their semi-abstract nature, evoked a powerful sense of the violence of the Passion.

Harvey Bradley’s pottery incorporated ash (symbol of repentance) which after being fired became a textural gold colour. Sarah Ollerenshaw's large and epic meditations on suffering and sacrifice contrasted strongly with the deliciously delicate miniature that was Celia Ward’s Madonna.

The exhibition was the most comprehensive exhibition by commission4mission artists to date and with the range of artists and media included, gave a real taste of the exciting possibilities for churches wishing to commission contemporary Church Art.

More information about commission4mission can be found at or by contacting Jonathan Evens at: or 020 8599 2170.

The Barking Episcopal Area Performing Arts Adviser

The Bishop of Barking writes:

"Historically The Diocese has a history of excellence in the support of the arts. Bishop George Bell of Chichester was a pioneer in relating the arts to Christian worship. In the thirties there was a Chelmsford Diocesan Director of religious drama.

The relationship of the arts to Christian worship, witness and ministry is not in doubt, and involves individuals and churches across all traditions. Whilst there are many examples of excellence and good practice in the Barking Area these are often unco-ordinated and would benefit from support and encouragement. There would be benefit from sharing good practice and learning from other people’s experience, both good and less successful.

Last year I initiated a network of fine artists and sculptors under the title ‘Commission 4 Mission’ (web address It has been my aspiration for several years to initiate a complimentary network of those in the Barking Area engaging with the performing arts. Over the past six years I have come across musicians, directors, mime artists and story tellers of different ages and ethnicities - including a number of clergy. I am aware there will be many more performers within our churches that as yet I do not know.

I have recently identified a self supporting clergy person, The Revd Kathryn Robinson who has experience and professional background in Research and Development and the creative arts. Kathryn is offering to the Barking Area, two days a week to help network, co-ordinate, and promote good practice around the Episcopal Area. She will continue to be supported by St John’s Church Leytonstone where she has served her curacy. She has the backing of her Training Incumbent, Raymond Draper, who is supportive of this project. It is well known that the creative arts, especially at community level, tend to flourish in times of recession. As you know Raymond Draper is our Diocesan Lead Adviser on recession and redundancies. Kathryn’s appointment would therefore complement his particular role within the Diocese. Kathryn will continue to serve at St John’s Leytonstone as an Associate Minister."

Saturday 9 January 2010

Abundant life

Caroline Richardson has been commissioned by St Peter's Harold Wood to work towards the enhancement of the windows in their north transept.

This commission celebrates a major £2.5 million redevelopment to bring the St Peter’s Centre (and the Ingrebourne Centre across the road, leased from the Council) fully into the 21st Century and fit for purpose. The main emphases are welcome, hospitality, accessibility and service to the community. First impressions and relationships are important – hence contemporary and attractive facilities to welcome and serve people; a central hub for reception and information, café-style facilities for hospitality and meeting people, designated provision for the very young and the elderly, commercial kitchens up to the best professional standards, areas and equipment for leasing and training needs, complete accessibility to all areas, purpose-built offices for all staff and today’s ministry.

The coloured sections of Caroline's design are textured to imply the movement of water and the spray as it tumbles down. The image of plentiful water is evocative of abundant life and represents the flow of living water mentioned in John’s gospel, poured out from heaven to earth. The two windows show complimentary images containing John 10.10 (I have come that they may have life and have it to the full) and in the other, John 8.12 (I am the light of the world).