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Saturday, 30 March 2013

commission4mission's 10th commission

commission4mission reached a significant milestone today with the installation of its 10th completed commission at Christ Church Thames View.
Our 10th commission is an altar frontal by Anne Creasey which has been installed in time for the Easter Day services at Christ Church. This all year round altar frontal features all the colours of the Church calendar and incorporates a central cross in gold surmounted by the sun. The sun's rays also form pentecostal flames while the ball of the sun equates to the host raised above the chalice. Stunning from a distance, the frontal's design also repays closer inspection through the intricate details of Anne's embroidery and appliqué work, particularly on the ball of the sun and its rays. 

Anne Creasey is a long-term member of commission4mission, painter, textile artist and embroiderer working in a variety of styles from traditional to abstract and experimental. Her work includes traditional embroidery, appliqué with painted fabric and includes a large range of materials, from yarns and threads to plastic bags. She says that if it can be sewn down, it can be used! In her experience, embroidery and textiles are natural media for expressing religious ideas and imagery. She has one main criteria and that is to create something of beauty.
commission4mission was formed in 2009 to encourage churches to commission contemporary art. Our 10 completed commissions have involved nine of our artists and have included etched windows, fused glass windows, holy water stoup in oak and brass, mosaics, paintings, textiles and wooden reliefs. All completed, in the words of Henry Shelton a founding artist member of commission4mission, as "quality work and craftsmanship, rather than mass-produced work, to continue the legacy of the Church as a great commissioner of art."
In addition, we have organised more than 14 exhibitions (including shows at Chelmsford Cathedral, St Martin-in-the-Fields, the Strand Gallery, and Westminster Central Hall), two study days, a series of networking and performance events, an art trail for the Barking Episcopal Area, a digital exhibition on Olympic/Pentecost themes and three publications combining images and meditations.
Our plans for 2013 include exhibitions at the Harvey Centre Harlow (as part of the Barking Episcopal Area and Heart 4 Harlow Arts Festivals) and at St Paul's Goodmayes (which has Stations of the Cross commissioned from c4m), as well as the possibility of an interfaith event and exhibition in the autumn on art and conflict.
In under five years commission4mission has built a significant pool of creative artists able to deliver a wide variety of quality work to fit a range of budgets making the commissioning of contemporary art viable for churches of all sizes and contexts. Anne Creasey's altar frontal is a marvellous example, as we reach this milestone of our 10th completed commission, of what can be achieved when artists and churches share a vision for creativity and mission.

Our earlier commissions were:

  • two painted wooden reliefs - heads of Christ and Mary Magdalene - by Peter Webb for Dagenham Park Church of England School
  • a polished brass and oiled oak holy water stoup by Mark Lewis for St Margaret of Antioch Ilford;
  • a second set of etched windows; etched by Richard Paton to designs by Henry Shelton at All Saint's Hutton. The windows feature symbols of the four Evangelists complementing an earlier set of windows in the opposite screen which features symbols of seven Saints; 
  • two mosaics as part of the development of a community garden at St Johns Seven Kings. Envisaged as bold, bright works to catch the eye of passers by and draw them into the green space of the garden, Viki Isherwood Metzler re-created her Graffiti Love design for display on the East wall of the church, while Sergiy Shkanov added a mosaic to the Trinity sculpture in the remembrance area of the garden. 
  • memorial windows designed by Henry Shelton and etched by Richard Paton at All Saints Hutton. The windows are set within a screen and contain iconography representing a different saint, with the seven saints featured being Cecilia, Martin of Tours, Peter, Mary, Paul, James the Great, and Margaret of Antioch. Henry Shelton's designs have an economy of line and gesture which conjure eloquent and elegant meanings from the most minimal of marks.
  • Caroline Richardson was commissioned to create two fused glass windows for St Peters Harold Wood. This commission was for 14 fused glass panels set in steel frames forming two windows; the left window on the theme 'I am the light of the world' and the right on the theme 'I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.' Caroline created a flowing complementary design focusing on light and water for the two windows in the north transept of the church which incorporates in one the text of John 8. 12 and in the other of John 10. 10; 
  • 'The Baptism of Jesus' by Rosalind Hore was donated to St Edmunds Tyseley, through commission4mission, in memory of Revd. Phil Evens, Vicar of Tyseley from 1989 - 1999. This painting sees water, fish, cross, crown, dove, fire and light – all the signs and symbols of his future ministry – swept up together to coalesce around the baptised Jesus. Vigorous movement and vibrant colour combine to depict the glory of the Son who is here commissioned by the Father and empowered by the Spirit; 
  • Henry Shelton was commissioned to create a contemporary set of Stations of the Cross which has become known as the Stations of the Crown of Thorns at St Paul’s Goodmayes.  As part of its semi-abstract imagery, Christ is depicted throughout only by the Crown of Thorns. There are 15 paintings in all, as the scheme includes a resurrection Station depicting Christ present in the Eucharistic elements. A tryptich incorporating Stations XI, XII and XIII forms the central focus of the scheme. This tryptich has inventively incorporated an existing metal crucifix into its design to form Station XII; 'Jesus dies on the cross'. The colour scheme of these 'Stations' harmonizes with the existing stained glass at St Paul’s Goodmayes and the paintings feature the minimal flowing lines that characterise Shelton’s semi-abstract style; and 
  • The St Luke Chapel Queens Hospital Romford has two paintings by Henry Shelton, our first completed commission; a Crucifixion which forms the Chapel's altarpiece and a eucharistic painting entitled Do this in rememberance of me. Through a different commission, the Chapel also features windows by Caroline Richardson

The Relatives - Let Your Light Shine.

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