9th November – 4th December 2022
7 DAYS was initially to be at Holy Rood House: Centre for Health and Pastoral Care in Thirsk, North Yorkshire for a period of 5 days to hang and reflect on the work reflect for short paper to be published in ‘Transitions’, the online journal of the Theology, Imagination and the Arts Institute of the University of St. Andrews. As well as installation the panels in different parts of the Holy Rood garden selected photographs documenting the work over the past 18months were hung in the chapel. There was interest and intrigue from both retreatants and staff at Holy Rood, so much so that the staff have requested that the panels stay in the gardens throughout Advent to be integrated in to set retreat days and to be around for other visitors throughout the period.
Hanging the work a year on from the Glasgow ‘s COP 26 exhibition and while there is much news from full of COP27 is poignant. The work was, of course, created for COP 26 and based on the Genesis story of 7 DAYS of Creation, it’s focus is on the sacred reality of the Earth. As this earth, created as gift to its creatures, given to humans to tend. The COP meetings only seem to highlight our failures in this task, but also offer hope that there is still time to if not reverse, than to change the destructive course of this Anthropocene age.
Wednesday 9th November.
Today I did a reckie of the beautiful gardens at Holy Rood House to find suitable sites to hang each of the 7 DAYS panels. They were sited in the following places. The photographs seen here were taken from 9th November – 14th November
Day 1 is at the entrance to the gardens between two beautiful Autumnal trees, a Witch Hazel and a Smoke Tree.
Day 2 is part submerged in the garden pond, wonderful mirror-like reflections this afternoon.
Day 3 is in the allotment area, opposite bare winter fruit bushes, and next two bushes of mint and rosemary.
Day 4 is hung from an archway, thus higher up than the others with more sky behind it. This afternoon there were beautiful shadows along the white cotton (sun) side.
Day 5 is in the goat field – will it survive, suggestions are that the goats won’t eat it, but we shall see! There are lots of squirrels, as well as birds, around too. I may have manage to get a photo of a squirrel with the panel in the background? Waiting for one to run along the top of the panel – that would be excellent. (sadly this didn’t happen)
Day 6 is amongst the chairs and tables outside the dinning room. Unlikely to be used in these November days, but the symbolism/suggestion of people is there and the pumpkins give somewhat of an anthropomorphic element.
Day 7 is in the small walled quiet garden, it seemed fitting to place it in a place of quite reflection, but I wonder about its separateness from the others.
November 11th 2022
I am impatient, there is little change, but I am not sitting quietly with them for long enough, just heading out twice a day to look for and note any changes. This is not a being present, not being open to the small momentary changes of the air or light. The works need a slowing down, a deeper looking and awareness. Spiritual reality or experience is not a consumerist shopping venture, going out to look for what one wants, rather going out into nature, into the world to seek what is there. To look for the divine sparks. This is a prayerful venture. One attempt to do this was to sit and draw.
However, you can see from the mix of photograhes above that the light changed and there were some especially beautiful autumnal sunsets creating, on some panels, stunning light and shadows. Sadly not much more drawing was done due to me both recovering from Covid ( I had only tested negative a few days before I drove down) and needing to focus on writing my paper about the panels.
The chaplain and staff at Holyrood house were keen to keep the panels longer and so I agreed to let them stay in the garden throughout the rest of November and into December.
Vistors responded in different ways to the works: One visitor Ruth Lampard filmed and shared them on You Tube:
Another visitor, Rachel McCann, repsonded to the work with a beautiful poem.
Darkness and Light
(inspired by Carol Marple’s 7 Days Artwork).
Sometimes it is hard to see the light
when the world is torn and frayed
and war rips holes in humanity;
when ancient ancestral lands are
the rising waterline of western greed.
But even in darkness ,
new life is loved into being-
seeds push through shells,
mycelium weaves her magic
in lost corners of the forest
and owls and bats dance a nighttime blessing.
As morning comes
(and she always does)
a grain of gold rises and falls
in waves on the wind,
a kernal of hope
calls us to trust.