Friday, 28 May 2010

Latest News

The lith remains untouched, but there are clear tracks leading to it, so obviously people are going to take a closer look.

I went to see 'Agora' last night, a film about the descent into the Dark Ages caused by the rise of institutionalized Christianity and the death of reason. Very painful to watch! How Jesus must weep at the vile things that have been done in His name by those who completely failed to understand that what God requires is the laying down of life, not the taking of it.
In the final frames, there is an image of a man holding a dead woman. Whether deliberate or not, it is a classic 'Pieta', but in reverse. Heartbreakingly beautiful. I thoroughly recommend the film; it is beautifully shot, and has a powerful and timely message.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

The Urge to Protect (Contain?)

There are two episodes in the Gospels which parallel my friends' desire to protect the lith.

In Matthew 17: 1-8(The Transfiguration), Peter, when seeing Jesus in glory, with Moses and Elijah, wants to make a tent for each of them.

Again, in John 18:1-11, when soldiers arrive to arrest Jesus, Peter seeks to defend him with a sword.

Both are entirely natural reactions; the first, a very human need to ritualize and celebrate that which is beyond our understanding. The danger inherent in this is that it can so easily become a mechanism to contain and 'domesticate', and to limit the limitless within our own framework.
In the second case, Peter was rightly wishing to protect his friend from harm, but had failed to comprehend that powerlessness and harm were a necessary part of God becoming man. And how could he have comprehended such a counter-intuitive action on the part of the all-powerful? Is it really possible for us to grasp it even now?

I would welcome your thoughts on the subject.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010


I know it might look a bit staged, but this IS exactly how I found it; next to the pile of rubbish and wheelie bin belonging to the Scout site. There are archaeologists from UCL camping there at the moment, but surely they could not have removed the lith and put it like this? I will never know how it got there, just that it did, and that, given what I am trying to express through my work (see earlier posts), it is a very powerful metaphor. I might have staged it had I thought of it!!
A repeat of Sunday's dilemma, but I could not let it be thrown away, so I restored it to position. I shall add a label (to the inside, so as not to interfere with the concept) so that if it gets pushed over again, at least no-one who comes along will throw it away.


The lith has been stolen! I was prepared for this intellectually, but knew that emotionally I was not. Very hard to think of all the work I have put in being lost, but that it what I 'signed up' for by putting the work at risk. I guess I hoped that, if it was stolen, it would not be until later in the process. What to do next? There is no time to make another one, and everything else I have made is simply too much at risk from simple environmental damage to make the point. It also raises the question of thebigone; do I risk it in the same way?

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Nothing Whatsoever To Do With The Lith....

....but I found this snake in the grass near the residences. It is about 30 cm long, and very beautiful. I think it is a Smooth Snake, but an expert can correct me if they like.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Promised Photos II

And this is how I left it. I decided to intervene and restore it to a standing position, but with a different facet showing to the path.

Promised Photos 1

This is how I found it.

It Has Happened!

The lith has been kicked / knocked / pushed over! Will post photos tomorrow when I and the USB lead are in the same place.
It was quite a dilemma; do I leave it where it is, as it has been left, or do I restore it to a standing position? You will see what I decided tomorrow when I post the photos. Had a good discussion with friends SD, EM and DH about what I should do to best fit the concept. Differing opinions about both the immediate decision, and the long term future of the piece. These echoed some of my earlier thoughts about whether the current placement, although genuinely 'at risk' had enough exposure to the public, and whether I should consider moving it into the 'safer' environment with more chance of interaction. I think that the interaction that has occurred answers that question.
There is also the issue of the placement of thebigone once the show is over. SD in particular feels very protective of the work, and thinks that I should not risk it, when it represents so many weeks of work. To me it is important that it reflects my understanding of Incarnation, and that means that it MUST go outside, no matter what happens. I may feel differently once it is finished. I may not be able to let it go. And that can be part of the exploration too.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

No Visible Change

There was quite a frost this morning, and the fabric of the lith was frozen stiff, but it does not show, and the thaw did not cause a shift in the surface folding. I think that the nettles may have grown up a bit.

Sunday, 9 May 2010


As well as the lith which you can see in earlier photos, I am working on a large monolith, which will also be placed outside, initially in a garden space adjacent to the gallery for the end-of-year show, but then alongside the Whitelands Track for a few months. It is 3m in circumference and 2.5m high. The ring loom was specially built by Paul, who used to build oil rigs before he came to West Dean. The technical support here is the best I have ever known! Here are some pictures of the four panels I have woven so far. The wool yarns (which are blended with silk and linen ones) are some which are left from when the Henry Moore tapestries were woven here in the professional studio ( I have a link to Henry Moore; how cool is that?

Another Key Text

Phillippians 2:6-8


This photo may not show it properly, but the rain beaded and sparkled on the surface so beautifully.

Friday, 7 May 2010

It's Out There....

I went out just after lunch to site the lith for its 40 days by the footpath. There was such an obvious place when I got up there: a small grass circle in the centre of a nettle patch. And now it is there. Let's see what happens.....

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

and look what they did to my lith....

While the lith was outside in the 'safe' space of the grounds, just before Easter, some anonymous 'friends' decided to add an Easter Bunny.... I found it very interesting, because they did not know that the imagery on the lith, although abstract, is derived from crucifixion marks. So Jesus was juxtaposed with the Easter Bunny; an accidental reflection of the world we live in?

The Blog Title

is from Four Quartets: The Dry Salvages (part V) by T. S. Eliot.

"The hint half guessed, the gift half understood, is Incarnation"

Artist Statement

"My aim is to escape the tyranny of the rectangle and to take tapestry off the wall.
I make woven sculptures influenced by monolithic standing stones, burial rituals, stone surfaces and offerings.
The structures - both large and small - are placed or buried in the landscape as a response to ideas about the Incarnation; 'verbum caro factus est'; 'the Word became flesh'."

In this body of work, the underlying concept is that of risk. It is counter-intuitive to put a piece of precious work, which has taken many hours to create, outside at risk from the elements, and, more importantly, vulnerable to harm by human intervention (vandalism, theft...).

This is a reflection of the counter-intuitive action of God becoming man.

This blog is part of the artwork, in that I will use it to record, both photographically and in reflective journalling, the life of the piece as it goes outside, beside a busy public footpath, for 40 days.

I will welcome comments, questions and reactions to the project......

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