Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge
Visiting the house recently that Jim and Helen Ede lived in during the 60s and 70s reminded me of just how inspirational this place is to my life and work. It has been one of those liminal spaces to which I have been drawn back to again and again since I first encountered it in the 1980s whilst a student. A few years ago I spent time photographing and writing in the house. “Lantern” is a short poem which captures my response to the light within the space and how it affected the objects within the space.
This white world where light
bounced and flickered all day, slowly became hushed and still, a sea of low
Light faded until blacks expanded, horizons started to float, and modest
sculptures became strangely monumental.
Cloaked in a cosmic dim, the shells and
the furniture and the pebbles started up a mysterious new dance, free of all
Reflections on the Role of Art in Spiritual Accompaniment, with the art of Alfred Wallis
‘Sail away from the safe harbour, catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore, Dream, Discover.’
In May Becky Morse-Brown and I facilitated an online session for the ‘Birmingham Forum of Spiritual Directors and Companions’ exploring creative approaches in spiritual direction through the work of Alfred Wallis. Alfred Wallis’s paintings of seascapes, harbours, lighthouses and voyaging offer a rich starting point for reflective conversation.
‘To come to the knowledge you have not
You must go by a way in which you know not.’
St John of the Cross
For information about future art and spirituality sessions and ‘Creative Quiet Days’ please contact Gillian.
ABBA AMMA - Improvisations on the Lord’s Prayer book cover
I am delighted that Nicola Slee has chosen to use my painting ‘Restore’ for the cover of her new book ‘ABBA AMMA - Improvisations on the Lord’s Prayer’.
Nicola has worked in theological education for the past 30 years, combining this with a freelance portfolio of writing, retreat work, spiritual direction and consultancy.
The Lord’s Prayer unites Christians of all traditions. It is the first and perhaps only prayer that people learn by heart. However, its patriarchal and kingdom imagery do not resonate universally today. How do we pray the prayer Jesus taught us in ways which are authentic and life-giving?
Nicola’s book, emerging from years of praying the Lord’s Prayer, offers a series of prayers and poems written in response to it. Each prayer uses the address Abba or Amma: Aramaic terms of intimate address to God as father or mother which reflect Jesus’ usage, drawing on the abbas and ammas of the Desert Tradition as well as our own parental relationships.
It aims to integrate our whole human journey into the vocation of being a follower of Jesus. An extended introduction explores why praying the Lord’s Prayer is significant, how it is problematic, and how contemporary theological reinterpretations offer fresh perspective on it.
Above all ‘ABBA AMMA’ inspires me to pray at a time when our world feels very weary and in need of honest prayer.
Books can be purchased from the publisher Canterbury Press.
Printmaking and research
In recent weeks I have been developing colour studies for the ‘Do the Little Things’ map. I am now in the final stages of printing the triangular plates to make the print which will comprise 20 equilateral triangles. The locations of the map will be marked in gold and my hope is that it will tell a story of human connection during the pandemic, whilst offering a broader vision of global interdependence for the future.
Last week I visited Tate Liverpool Tate and spent time looking at Bruce Onobrakpeya’s beautifully tender ‘Fourteen Stations of the Cross’ Linocut prints. The apostles wear Adire prints from the Yoruba region while Roman soldiers are dressed in colonial-era police uniforms. As I embark on the printmaking stage of the ‘Do the Little Things’ map it was inspirational to spend time looking closely at Onobrakpeya’s sensitive and striking prints.
Angel Hand - print for Ukraine
As a small gesture I am joining with other artists via artistssupportpledge.com to help the people of Ukraine during this time of crisis. Throughout March I have been selling limited edition images of ‘Angel Hand’, printed A4 size as giclee prints onto Hannemuehle Photo Rag 188 gsm archive quality paper. Each print is numbered out of 50 and signed and cost £50.00 with free shipping. All profits from sales go to the Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund. To date Artists Support Pledge has raised over £100,000 for Ukraine Support Pledge. ‘Angel Hand’ prints are still available to purchase from our Lever Arts Shop. This image was made some years ago as part of a series of angels’ hands called ‘Watchers and Holy Ones’. Printed as a collograph, the distressed lines and marks within the original print speak of a struggle and pain, as well as witness, as the all seeing eyes stare into the darkness. As I watched helplessly the horrific crisis unfold in Ukraine, this image came to mind during my reflections.
Peace of Wild Things
Becky Morse-Brown (Art Therapist) and I are enjoying preparing a Creative Quiet Day inspired by Wendell Berry’s poem ‘The Peace of Wild Things’ to be held at The Woodbrooke Centre, Birmingham on Friday May 6th.
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
‘The Peace of Wild Things’ is a beautiful poem of courage, healing and hope. The day will include a short introduction to the life and work of Wendell Berry (American poet, environmental activist and farmer). There will be opportunities to work in silence, along with time to rest in the wonderfully restorative grounds at The Woodbrooke Centre, which has a walled garden, labyrinth and lake.
The day is now fully booked but if you would like to be updated on future Creative Quiet Days please contact Lever Arts.