finally another newsletter – catch up with the latest.
Term 2. Spirituality and Abstraction.
Jan- March 2017.
Only two weeks to go of this term, so I thought I would do brief update of what the class has been up to. This has been a more reflective term often working in silence, being attentive to our breath, the marks we make, our own physicality in doing so and materials we use. We then moved on to becoming more attentive and attuned to sound and the senses, responding in colour and mark making. After a day of sitting in Old St. Paul’s Church, Edinburgh the class created a mixed media art work not of the archtiecture of the space but as response to being in the space – the silence, the sounds and atmosphere of place.
Thoughout the term we have drawn on the work of the following artists for inspiriation: Agnes Martin, Edmund De Waal, Malevich and Yves Klien, Richard Long, Kandinsky, Howard Hogkin, Sonia and Robert Delaunay amongst many other others including poets, writers and musicians.
Work from Art and Spirituality Course and all others courses can be seen
Friday 16th and Saturday 17th December 2016.
Spectrum. November 2016.
This newsletter includes an article about Carol Marples and the Art and Spirituality Class.
2016 saw the 13th year that Chaplain Carrie Applegath and I have collobrated on the annual Sick Kids Memorial Service for Edinburgh Sick Kids Hospital. It is a privilege to be part of this. The service is for those of faith or no faith and is for all ages. Numbers have grown steadily since we began moving from 40/60 people to around 150. This has meant having to adapt our use of space and how we do things, not least when we found out we could no longer light individual candles. However the service has remained predominantly the same.
Each year the service has a different theme. This year it was ‘Butterflies’ – for fleeting moments we see their colour and beauty and then they are gone. The simple structure of the service consists of several poems, specially written, that acknowledge the pain of grief and loss, enable quite refection and hope to offer light for the journey. Two central parts of the service are the twenty minutes of making – decorating / writing on the butterflies – and the reading of the names of those to be remembered
It was lovely this year to meet a family just a day prior to the service – they have been regularly for the past few years – who said they were looking forward to it. It seemed an odd thing to say, but I was glad to hear it. On the one hand no one wants to really be there because they have lost a young loved one, but it is a sad reality that exists for many. Thus, it is important to have a place to remember, to hear a name spoken aloud and to celebrate beautiful young lives however short. To do this corporately with friends, family or simply to be with others who understand is what this service hopes to offer.
Landmark Women. Autumn Term. Art and Spirituality Course. LSA. 2016
This four week project as part of the Art and Spirituality course began with an introduction to Feminist theology and liturgy – noting the particular importance of ‘naming’ in Feminist liturgy – and art that celebrates women. Judy Chicago’s art installation ‘The Dinner Party’ was a strong focus.
The LSA 16/17 theme of Landmarks had already led us to look at ‘stones’ seeing them as cairns and markers along the way. In this new project the class were asked to consider who was or had been a Landmark woman for them in their own lives. This might be a historical, biblical or mythological woman or a friend or relative. They were then asked to create this woman as a stone/s considering the shape, pattern, texture, colour(s) that would best represent their character or story.
The following images show the process from simply trying out the medium, experimenting with different materials – real stones were used as templates, found, collected or in one case searched for from a particular place – through the three weeks of creating to the presentation of the women, their stories and the stones that represented them. We ended by inviting the neighbour classes to an exhibtion of the work.
This work can be seen at LSA Christmas exhibition. 10am – 4pm. Friday 16th and Saturday 17th December 2016.
5th November 2016
A Day that included worship, creative conversations, particaptive making and dreaming dreams with the congregation of St. Andrew’s, St. Andrews. Co-facilated with Rev. Steve Butler of St. James the Less, Edinburgh. The day intended to model creative uses of space for worship, throughtful theological thinking, participative making and the dreaming of dreams.
Carol facilated the opening worship based on Luke 5 reflecting on stepping-out further personally and as a Body, trusting and following Jesus with a faith that calls us to change.
Steve’s talk on ‘camping,’ participation and the Body.
Creative conversations lead by Carol
Final sewing, continued conversation and dreaming
Final worship – the work of the people – under our sewn canopy gradually unfurled to create our space.
Sunday Morning worship in St. Andrew’s lead by rector Rev. Prof. Trevor Hart.
with thanks to Rev. Prof. Trevor Hart, Rev. Diana Hall and the congregation of St. Andrew’s.
In weeks three and four of the course we have been exploring ‘Composition and Relationships’ through reductionist drawing/painting.
In Week Three we added leaves to our stones, dicussing it a metaphorical symbol for autumn, the passing of the seasons and a symbol of transience. Tonal drawings of the leaf we followed by a longer drawing in the afternoon of both objects. The students were to set up chose their own simple compositions combining a stone and leaf.
In Week Four we continued to work in the same technique, but this time working on one A1 drawing from a still life. The still life combined found stones, carved heads by Roland Bean, a stone font, autumn leaves, other objects – a jug of water, candles and a dish of anointing oil. The class began with a discussion on the possible symbolism that each individual object or related objects suggested. The slide lecture considered artists from 17th Century Vanitas genre and Degas’s monopronts.
Work in Progress.
The Art and Spirituality 16-17 class has begun. We are now two weeks in with an interesting and enthusiastic group of students. The Theme at LSA this year is ‘Landmarks’, taken from the book by Robert MacFarlane. We began with a meditation of images considering and reflecting on the many landmarks that are made or represented by stones, their possible metaphors and symbolism.
Casting .. The first
Ring of Brodgar
Great wall of China
To prayer at
To keep out
(and many more)
Celebrating the Ordinary
We began simply by drawing stones – ones that had been brought by the group form favorite places, found on walks and pocketed for their beauty – looking intimately, trying to get to know the ordinary yet extra-ordinary small part of creation in front of us.
At the Cathedral: Intimate and Monumental/Immanent and Transcendant
In week two we visited St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral to enjoy the beautiful exhibition by Monica Guggisberg & Philip Baldwin and explore the cathedral stone and space through drawing in our sketchbooks.
Last night I went to the opening of a fabulous new exhibtion at St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh.
The work is beautifully made and sensitively placed. One is both startled by its fragility and boldness, its beauty and unexpectedness. This contemporary work surprisingly brings to life the dark gothic cathedral, whose historical and spiritual architectural canvas adds layers of meaning as countless metaphors are suggested by Guggisberg and Baldwin’s glass and metal boats and vessels.
If you are in or around Edinburgh during the festival – go and see for yourself.