Saturday 26 June 2010

c4m networking event & 'Stations' dedication

The Stations of the Crown of Thorns, a series of 'Stations of the Cross' created by Henry Shelton for St Paul's Goodmayes as a commission gained through commission4mission, are to be blessed and dedicated by the Bishop of Barking on Saturday 17th July at 4.00pm.

The tryptich, which forms the centrepiece of the Stations of the Crown of Thorns, includes Stations 11, 12 and 13 and has inventively incorporated an existing metal crucifix into its design to form the 12th Station; 'Jesus dies on the cross'. There are 15 'Stations' as the scheme includes a resurrection 'Station' depicting Christ present in the Eucharistic elements.

The scheme as a whole is unusual in that, as part of its semi-abstract imagery, Christ is depicted throughout only by the Crown of Thorns. Shelton's trademark flowing lines, which create images through minimal means and with maximum facility, are in evidence throughout the scheme. However, as an artist who often paints with the tones and harmonies of the Dutch Masters, this commission represents a considerable lightening of his palette in order that the colour scheme of these 'Stations' harmonizes with the existing stained glass.

Shelton's 'Stations' complement other existing work at St Pauls Goodmayes, including stained glass by Sir Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris, and Leonard Evetts plus a Madonna and Child by Jane Quail, to create a feast of visual art for worshipper and visitor alike. Parish priest, Fr. Benjamin Rutt-Field, has written a set of meditations in order to pray the new 'Stations'.

Preceding the dedication of the 'Stations' will be a commission4mission networking event also at St Paul's Goodmayes beginning at 2.00pm on Saturday 17th July.

This will be a 20x20 networking event where commission4mission members will be giving presentations of their work (or an aspect of it). The presentation format is contained in the name, as each presentation will involve showing 20 images at 20 second intervals. Each member therefore has a seven minute slot in which to make their presentation.

PechaKucha 20x20 Nights were first devised in Tokyo in February 2003 as events for young designers to meet, network, and show their work in public. They have turned into a massive celebration, with events happening in hundreds of cities around the world, inspiring creatives worldwide. Drawing their name from the Japanese term for the sound of conversation ("chit chat"), it rests on a presentation format that is based on a simple idea: 20 images x 20 seconds. It's a format that makes presentations concise, and keeps things moving at a rapid pace.

All are welcome to both the networking event and the dedication of the 'Stations'.

Thursday 24 June 2010

c4m artists news update (4)

Photographs of Valerie & Roger Dean's exhibition at Pages of Hackney
The contrasts between Chelsea and Hackney may be extreme but both have their own art communities and both are currently hosting exhibitions by commission4mission artists.

Elizabeth Duncan Meyer's sculptures form a backdrop to the conviviality which characterises the garden that becomes the meeting, greeting and eating place at the Chelsea Arts Club over the summer months. Worked in clay, stone and wood, her sculptures are minimally marked; less is more as she works with the grain of the wood and vein of the rock to create iconic figures with a gritty and emotive resilience. Her Mother and Child has the soaring upward curve of her celebrating mother balanced by the foetal curve of the child on the womb from which it has emerged, while her Face of Moses is, by contrast, scratched and scarred stone.

Roger Dean's beautifully focussed photographs of the patterning found in nature's details are entitled 'Emerging Images' but this title applies equally to the paintings of his wife, Valerie. In her work, semi-abstract figures emerge from blurred expressionist landscapes to be silhouetted by passages of light. Her Venetian scenes are saturated with light creating hazy views while, in her biblical works, light illuminates darkness and realises her characters. Pages of Hackney, which hosts their exhibition, is both an eclectic bookshop and a community and cultural hub, holding regular events and monthly exhibitions in its basement gallery.
The next exhibition featuring a commission4mission member, of which we are aware, will be a one man show by Michael Creasey at the Visual Arts Centre, Frances Bardsley School, Romford from August 23rd to 28th. More details to follow.

Tuesday 22 June 2010

Tribute to Peter Shorer

Peter Shorer in conversation with Henry Shelton during commission4mission's Pentecost Festival exhibition in 2009

Peter & Audrey Shorer at our Pentecost Festival exhibition in Methodist Central Hall, Westminster

Peter Shorer was born in Hackney in 1923. His family moved to the new Newbury Park estate when he was quite small. While he was at Downshall Junior School he had rheumatic fever twice which interrupted his education but didn’t stop him learning, as his parents gave him the complete Children’s Encyclopaedia. He read this from cover to cover and it planted the seed of knowledge of history in his mind.

He left school at 14 and went to train at the Central School of Arts & Crafts, following three generations of jewellers & goldsmiths in his family. Whilst there he was ‘head hunted’ by the British Museum to work with antiquities. Not long after, when war seemed imminent, he helped to pack up precious antiquities such as the Sutton Hoo treasure and priceless porcelain to be stored in various secret places in the country for safety.

At the beginning of the war he joined the Home Guard and enjoyed romping about in Hainault Forest. At 17 he volunteered for the Navy but because of a slight heart defect he was turned down. However, at 18 he got his call up papers and somehow convinced the doctor he was fit as long as he could go into the navy. After the usual training on the ‘HMS Ganges’ he spent his time on Motor Torpedo boats mostly in the Mediterranean. This started his love of the sea and boats of any kind. His war was at times exhilarating, frightening, funny or sad but the comradeship of his shipmates held them together, as is still the case in the Coastal Forces Veterans Association.

At the end of the war he came home to resume his job at the British Museum. One of his first jobs was to unpack the antiquities which he had packed 6 years before and to put them back on exhibition. He acquired a motor bike to travel to work and this started his second love of motor cycling joining the Ilford Light Car & Motorcycle Club.

He met Audrey at the Bury Club dance and she fell in love, first with his motor bike and then with Peter. They married in 1951 and went on honeymoon to Cornwall on the motorbike. The honeymoon was paid for from the work Peter had been commissioned to do for the Festival of Britain Exhibition. They later travelled all over Europe on the bike, when one was limited to taking £25 out of the country.

When they had saved enough money they moved to Wickford. Audrey was very pleased when Peter built a conservatory onto the back of their bungalow only to discover that its main purpose was so that he could build a sailing dinghy in it. When they weren’t sailing the dinghy at Burnham on Crouch, they were crewing a Ketch across the North Sea.

When their children Michael & Katherine were born, Peter & Audrey moved back to Newbury Park. So that the whole family could join in his adventures, he converted a Volkswagen camper van with sleeping & cooking facilities and school holidays were then spent touring France & Spain staying at camp sites or just on the top of a mountain.

As sailing was not practical with small children, Peter bought the hull of a narrow boat and brought it to Stratford, mooring it near the old glue factory where he converted it to a four berth canal boat. And so started his third love, of cruising the beautiful English countryside canals in his boat ‘Compass Light’. Michael & Katherine learned to steer the boat and work the locks like professionals. That pleasure has continued with Katherine, and her husband Mark, having their own narrow boat.

Peter’s work at the British Museum as a conservation officer enabled him to handle many treasures in the Romano/British and Mediaeval departments He was always full of admiration for the intricate work of the early Celtic & Roman craftsmen and would argue the point when anyone called them primitive. He often went on excavations conserving artefacts on site and later preparing them for exhibition. During his time at the museum he helped and advised many students who were studying archaeology and was pleased to see them climb the ladder of success in the museum world.

As part of his work he was often asked to make exact reproductions of antiquities for other museums. This gave birth to his private business (Historic Jewellery Reproduction) when he retired, of supplying museum shops with perfect reproductions of jewellery from all periods of history so completing the circle of the generations of jewellers. One which his son, Michael Shorer, continues today.

Michael recollects that:

"Dad was a great craftsman ... There seemed to be nothing that he couldn't make. Design problems were mere pebbles to be kicked aside en route to where he wanted to be. He started teaching me how to make jewellery when I was about 11 and always told me that if a problem seemed insurmountable, turn the whole thing upside down to get a different perspective. Hey presto, it works! He used this 'mantra' at the British Museum to great effect. As well as the incredible metalwork and ceramics he restored, was the solution to lifting an entire collapsed Roman wall plaster. He bonded the back of it to the same honeycomb structure that is used in the wings of Harrier jump jets. A few marine shackles, cables and levers later and it was upright. In fact, we have heard that when the keepers of departments came up against a seemingly impossible restoration, inevitably the phone would ring in Dad's workshop - "Shorer, could you spare a minute?"

Peter was interested in local issues and would often reel off a letter or e-mail in protest at an injustice or a lowering of standards. He was known locally as the guy who always put the flag out on St George’s day and Armistice day. He continued to keep in touch with his ex students in their diverse occupations and loved to reminisce about ‘the old days’.

I first met Peter properly when he made a brass plaque for our votive candle stand here at St John’s. Having found out about his skill as a craftsman, I told him about commission4mission. Peter joined and exhibited his jewellery at commission4mission events in St Alban’s Romford, St Laurence’s Upminster, and Methodist Central Hall Westminster. Then, when I was invited to chair the Seven Kings & Newbury Park Resident’s Association, I spent a number of meetings discussing local issues with Peter, who was Vice Chair of the Association.

My sense in all these contexts was that Peter was a gentleman. I mean that in both senses of the word; as a man who was gentle with others and as someone with the standards and courtesies of a gentleman. Peter’s detailed interest in issues, objects and people meant that he wanted to understand each fully and sought to treat all alike with real concern and attention.

Saturday 19 June 2010

West Ham Festival 2010 exhibition

Works by Sergiy Shkanov

Harvey Bradley, Henry Shelton & Helen Gould at the pre-AGM drinks reception

Harvey Bradley, Mark Lewis, Helen Gould and Henry Shelton view the c4m exhibition

A section of c4m's West Ham Festival exhibition

More of c4m's exhibition

Work by Dominic Dragonetti

A West Ham Festival installation

Work by Antria Pelekanou

Work by Valeria Nyamtsova-Georgieva

Work by Dominic Dragonetti

commission4mission held its AGM today at All Saints West Ham on the first day of the West Ham Festival 2010 which featuring concerts, exhibitions, and many other events over two weeks from Saturday June 19th - Sunday July 4th.

The ongoing display by commission4mission is one of the exhibitions featuring in the Festival and currently includes works by Colin Burns, Ally Clarke, Elizabeth Duncan Meyer, Jonathan Evens, Mark Lewis, Caroline Richardson, Henry Shelton, Sergiy Shkanov, Joy Rousell Stone and Peter Webb.

Other exhibitions at the Festival show work by Dominic Dragonetti, Valeriya Nyamtsova-Georgieva, Antria Pelekanou, and John Uche in additions to displays of Abbey Gardens Association, church history, the Stratford Martyrs, and textiles.

The full Festival programme is as follows:
  • JUNE 21st CHURCH OPEN 10am - 3pm
  • JUNE 22nd CHURCH OPEN 10am - 3pm
  • JUNE 23rd CHURCH OPEN 10 - 3pm; 7.30pm ORGAN RECITAL BY JON CULLEN (retiring collection)
  • JUNE 24th EVENING PRAYER 5.15-5.35pm
  • JUNE 25th CHURCH OPEN 10am - 3pm; 7.30pm QUIZ NITE (bring snacks and drinks)
  • JUNE 26th CHURCH OPEN 10am - 2pm; 7.30pm CONCERT ("Fire on the Green" a new work by Jon Cullen; tickets Adults £10, concessions £6) featuring ALL SAINTS' CHORUS
  • JUNE 28th CHURCH OPEN 10am - 3pm
  • JUNE 29th CHURCH OPEN 10am - 3pm
  • JUNE 30th CHURCH OPEN 10am - 3pm; 7.30pm MUSIC FOR A SUMMER'S EVENING (retiring collection)
  • JULY 1st 7pm CONCERT by NEWHAM ACADEMY OF MUSIC (Tickets Adults £5; concessions £3)
  • JULY 2nd CHURCH OPEN 10am - 3pm; 7.30pm WEST HAM'S GOT TALENT
  • JULY 3rd 2pm GRAND FETE
  • JULY 4th 11am FESTIVAL SERVICE. Preacher: The Revd James Ramsay; 1.15pm PICNIC IN THE PARK.

Saturday 12 June 2010

Planning for the future of commission4mission

commission4mission (c4m) has been undertaking a strategic review led by Helen Gheorgiou Gould to guide the development of the organisation over the next three to five years and beyond. We asked members to contribute to this process in March and April, we reviewed our internal situation and we have also done some external research on similar organisations.

The purpose of this document is to report back to members on this process at the Annual General Meeting in June 2010 and to propose a strategic plan for adoption at the meeting.


The vision and mission of c4m is:

To encourage the commissioning and placing of contemporary Christian Art in churches, as a means of fundraising for charities.

Its objectives are:

• To provide opportunities for churches to obtain and commission contemporary Christian Art for church buildings.
• To provide information, ideas and examples of contemporary Christian Art and its use/display within church settings; and
• To raise funds for charities through commissions and sales of contemporary Christian Art.

Our review has shown that:

Members have indicated that they strongly support our aims and objectives but there is a desire for greater interaction with one another, a broader range of exhibiting opportunities, and a wider regional focus.

c4m has been very successful in its first year and has generated over £9,000, more than £2,700 of which has been donated to charity. It has developed a membership base of around 30 and has run a considerable number of exhibitions and events. It has a strong presence on the internet. However this level of activity and growth is difficult to sustain without staff – all current administration and support is provided voluntarily by the secretary.

We have identified 11 other organisations working in a similar area in England. Some of these are performing a similar role in partnership with other dioceses, some are commercial, and some are purely providing information. There is a good deal of common ground and therefore some exciting opportunities for national partnerships.

We found that c4m’s unique contribution as an organisation is our:

• Focus on commissioning and brokering commissioning relationships.
• Focus on local/parish churches – which impacts on artists and the church at the grassroots.
• Link to and support from Chelmsford Diocese and diocesan leaders.
• Committed and growing membership.
• Charitable link, which encourages commissions.

We have some problems:

• We have limited human resources and they are currently provided mostly on a voluntary basis.
• We also have limited financial resources.
• Our current legal status will hamper growth and our ability to raise funds.
• We are also providing limited opportunities to members who are outside the East London area.
• There are other organisations doing similar things, some of whom have been going for longer.

But we also have some great opportunities:

• A good relationship with the Diocese of Chelmsford, and especially our Patron the Bishop of Barking, which is a strength and gives us stability.
• We are evolving an interesting role in the commissioning arena and we can develop as an organisation that supports and encourages commissioning and Christian art at the grassroots.
• There are possibilities of collaboration between other similar organisations and dioceses.

We are therefore proposing the following strategy to address three key areas: Governance and Management, Membership, and Development.

Governance and Management

The review of the organisation has shown that:

• C4M has generated over £9,000 in its first year of operation.
• It has broadly charitable aims, and raises money for charitable distribution.
• Legally it is required to register as a charity if it generates over £5,000 a year.
• We are allowed a ‘reasonable’ amount of time to make this transition.
• An alternative commercial operation is unlikely to be financially viable.
• Commercial opportunities can also be pursued in partnership with other organisations.
• The governing body (committee) is small and needs additional skills and members.
• The organisation is reliant on part-time volunteer support and needs paid support for administration and development activities.

We therefore propose to:

1. Register as a charity (by December 2010).

2. Strengthen governance: recruit 3-4 additional committee members who will act as trustees of the new charity, including a treasurer.

3. Approve a new governing document (if necessary).

4. Seek funding for a part-time administration and development post.


The members’ review has shown us that:

• Members strongly support our aims and objectives
• They join C4M to promote Christian art, artists and art in church and to meet others.
• They need exhibition opportunities, networking and interaction, and support as artists.
• Expanded regional focus – more events central London and Chelmsford region.
• They want more interaction with each other, better promotion among churches and within church structures, more professional approach to exhibiting, more guidance on commissioning, better marketing/publicity.

In response we propose to:

1. Establish 3 regional cells (East London, SE/SW London, Chelmsford) to organise local social and arts events, develop relationships with local churches/structures and commissioning opportunities.

2. Develop a range of member events over a 12-month timetable:

a. Small exhibitions organised by members which c4m promotes.
b. Showcase exhibitions to profile work of members (more professionally curated).
c. Exhibitions of artwork integrated into new venues (e.g. churches without art/commissioning history) as part of promotion of commissioning.
d. Social/skills development events – share skills, demos, church/gallery visits.


Our strategic review has shown that our unique strengths are:

• Focus on commissioning and brokering commissioning relationships.
• Focus on local/parish churches – impacts on artists and church at grassroots.
• Link to and support from Chelmsford Diocese and diocesan leaders.
• Charitable link, which encourages commissions.
• Idea to develop collaboration between other similar organisations and dioceses.

Therefore we propose:

1. Develop advocacy team of experts to promote and support commissioning: ‘good practice’, offer advice to commissioning bodies, and develop the skills and confidence of members to participate in commissioning.

2. Strengthen awareness and partnerships within the diocese – mailing to area deans, archdeacons, key committees and relevant diocesan officers; update in The Month;

3. Review charitable links: do we wish to widen the base of charities/causes we donate to, especially regionally?

4. Start dialogue and explore opportunities for collaboration with other similar organisations in England.

5. Develop marketing and promotions strategy (to include development of own mailing list, development of media contacts and coverage, cross-mailing with similar organisations.)

Strategic Development Timetable

Within 12 months

1. Agree and implement change in legal status (December 2010).
2. Strengthen governance structures (2-4 additional trustees?)
3. Establish3-4 regional cells and agree guidelines for how they will operate.
4. Appoint team of voluntary advocates for commissioning (with appropriate expertise).
5. Develop 12-month timetable of regular events and exhibitions (together with guidance on how members can self-organise).
6. Build relationships with similar organisations in England
7. Formalise resourcing arrangements with Diocese
8. Seek funding for development and admin support for 3 years
9. Sustain membership of about 40 members/supporters
10. Sustain and develop commissioning (in what way?)
11. Develop marketing and promotions (e.g. formal mailing list, key articles)
12. Strengthen awareness and partnerships within the diocese.

Within 2 years

1. Develop stronger administration and financial support systems.
2. Review and possibly expand membership and regional cells.
3. Develop strong partnership and collaboration with other similar organisations.
4. Increase membership to 60 paid members/supporters.
5. Develop Commissioning Guide with case studies (with churchart?)

5 years

1. 100 actively involved, enthusiastic and well connected members and supporters
2. Develop a supportive and engaged network of churches and Christian around a group of regional cells in SE England.
3. Develop national network of organisations supporting art in churches.
4. Develop online commissioning ‘portal’ – advice, examples, artists
5. To have strong and well established relationship with diocese, and other areas of Church of England, and ecumenical partnerships.

Annual Report & AGM Agenda

commission4mission's Annual General Meeting will be held on Saturday 19th June at All Saints, West Ham. There will be an exhibition reception from 10.00am and the AGM will begin at 10.30am


1. Welcome & apologies

2. Chairperson’s remarks.

3. Secretary’s report.

4. Treasurer’s report and Presentation of the Accounts.

5. Election of Officers & Committee Members.

6. Strategic Direction – led by Helen Gheorghiu Gould

7. Future Events.

8. Any Other Business.

Annual Report 2009/10

commission4mission was launched in March 2009 by our Patron, the Bishop of Barking, to encourage the commissioning and placing of contemporary Christian Art in churches, as a means of fundraising for charities and as a mission opportunity for churches.

During 2009/10 commission4mission has:

• built up a membership of 32 (as at 31/03/10), including a pool of artists available for Church commissions;
• published a publicity leaflet and a catalogue of artists;
• gained commissions for artworks at Queens Hospital Romford, All Saints Hutton, St Peter’s Harold Wood, St Edmund’s Tyseley and St Pauls Goodmayes;
• organised exhibitions at Chelmsford Cathedral, St Laurence Upminster, the Pentecost, West Ham and Leytonstone Festivals and as part of the E17 and Leytonstone Art Trails;
• begun use of ongoing exhibition space available to c4m members at All Saints West Ham;
• held networking evenings on the themes of ‘Spirituality – the heartbeat of Art?’ and 'Stations of the Cross';
• organised a Study Day on the theme of ‘Perspectives on commissioning Christian Art’ at Chelmsford Cathedral and held a launch event hosted by St Alban’s Romford; and
• developed a webpage ( profiling our artists and giving up-to-date news of our activities;
• gained funding for the design and publication of our catalogue of artists and the employment of a project development worker (February – June 2010); and
• begun a strategic development review including a members consultation exercise.

Our first year has therefore been one of significant achievement and development which has confirmed the potential for an organisation such as commission4mission to enhance and further the commissioning and placing of contemporary Christian Art in churches and the support and networking of artists. Our success in gaining commissions during our first year of operation enabled us at the end of that year to donate £2,700 to the Haven House Children’s Hospice, thereby beginning to fulfil the fundraising for charities element of our aims.

We are very grateful to: all members for their support and involvement; all committee members for their direction and guidance; our Patron, Bishop David, for his ideas and interest; Helen Gheorghiu Gould for her work as Project Development worker; Ranjit Solomon for becoming the independent examiner of our accounts; and to Bishop David and London-over-the-Border for their generous financial support.

Friday 4 June 2010

Peter Shorer RIP

Peter Shorer with his wife Audrey during commission4mission's Pentecost Festival exhibition in 2009.

Peter Shorer and Henry Shelton at the Pentecost Festival exhibition

It is with real regret and shock that we inform you of the recent death of commission4mission member, Peter Shorer. Our condolences and prayers go to Peter's family, in particular his wife Audrey.
Peter was one of the early members of commission4mission showing his work at our launch event, our first exhibition (Pentecost Festival 2009), and more recently at St Laurence Upminster.
Peter followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, who made the metalwork into which gems were set, and his father, who was a setter of gems in gold, silver and platinum metalwork including re-setting gems in the Coronation Crown, by studying jewellery design and manufacture at Central St Martin's. He then joined the staff of the British Museum where he worked on the Sutton Hoo and Mildenhall treasures. While with the British Museum he developed a technique for creating accurate reproductions of antiques using moulds. His work in this field has resulted in commissions from museums around the world and the establishment of his own business, Historic Jewellery Reproduction, making costume jewellery reproduced from genuine antiquities.

Peter, with his unprecedented experience of many years working with antiquities at the British Museum and countless other museums throughout the world, was one of the select few antiquarians allowed to handle and take moulds from rare and priceless artifacts. His amazing reproductions have been acclaimed for many years as stimulating and exciting aids to the world’s history lessons and lectures as well as being a necessary part of historic cinema and televisual productions.

All Saints Hutton commission

These are two of the concept drawings prepared by Henry Shelton for our newest commission, seven memorial etched glass windows for All Saints Hutton. Each window will celebrate a different saint using Shelton's trademark minimal but flowing lines to form symbols of each saint.

c4m artists news update (3)

Nadiya Pavliv features in the Middlesex University Art and Design Degree Show 2010 currently at The Old Truman Brewery (Friday 4th June - Monday 7th June). The exciting range of work on show covers fine art, fashion, graphic design, illustration, photography, interior architecture, furniture, product design and even sonic art!

Kent-based artist and photographer Valerie Dean and Roger Dean will make their London debut on 5th June 2010 when an exhibition of more than 40 of their paintings and photographs opens at independent bookshop and gallery Pages of Hackney in East London. Valerie’s approach to art is refreshingly honest, and her distinctive style has won plaudits from art buyers in Brussels and the UK. To capture the ‘emerging images’ on the canvas, she mixes acrylics with household items bought from her local B&Q – though the final results are far from everyday. A member of the Society of Catholic Artists, many of Valerie’s paintings have a spiritual dimension, with angels, messengers and the holy family emerging from the abstract. Other paintings take their inspiration from landscapes, in the UK and abroad. Roger Dean will also be exhibiting a series of photographic prints on canvas alongside Valerie’s paintings. Taking inspiration from the natural world, water and reflection are key themes, with an international edge.

Photos from the recent Art workshop led by Mark Lewis at St John's Seven Kings can be found by clicking here. An article about the workshop can be found in the current edition of the Ilford Recorder.