St Michael’s church is an iconic landmark on Teignmouth sea front (there has been a church on the site for over 1000 years) and the salt air has led the stone work around the stained glass to deteriorate quickly. So the church community raised money and were helped by the Heritage Lottery Fund to get the stonework and stained glass repaired.
Part of their grant was for community engagement and I am working with some of the town’s primary school students. They are learning about how to make stained glass windows and why churches have/had stained glass. They are then being invited to design a stained glass window conveying something important to them, or a message for the world. These designs will be exhibited in the church and then our will be chosen to be made into banners for the church to display and celebrate the restoration. The banners will be made by local craft group West Teignmouth Craft Club with help from the congregation.
Huge thanks to Mrs Gordon’s class at Our Lady of St Patrick RC School who were the first school to take part and they have made some wonderful designs. The children were very thoughtful and their designs cover many topics, with everything from WW2 to celebrate dead relatives to looking after our mental health. I don’t know how we are going to choose 4 designs!
I have been working on three public commission War Memorials over several years and this week saw all 3 of them launch; ahead of the Remembrance events on Sunday 11th November. I have found these commissions fascinating and it has been a poignant experience and I am honoured to be part of the centenary
In 2014, I was commissioned by Devon Remembers to work with Teignmouth Community School year 7’s to create a war memorial inspired by the experiences of the people on the Teignmouth Home Front (read about it here). I completed the piece a year ago, but it was moved from its usual home in the school reception, to Exeter Cathedral for the 100 year Centenary.
all of the members of the football team lost in combat over both world wars.
This was a fabulous piece to make as I got to combine the ‘old crafts’ of painting and leading with the modern fusing and photographic firing techniques. Roge Slater from the club made the frame and the work is back lit and on display at the Club.
My final War Memorial was much closer to home. My colleague Sam Lock and I were approached by the Teignmouth Remembrance Committee to create a fitting art installation for the centenary of W1. We decided on a make do and mend theme and invited people from Teignmouth and all over the country to join us in making fabric or woollen poppies. The result was 30 metres of net covered in handmade poppies. When we had secured all the hundreds of poppies to the net I went up in the cherry picker and secured them to the top of the lighthouse. Despite very heavy weather the memorial remains in place for Remembrance week and hopefully beyond. Thank you to all the hundreds of people who made poppies for us, from primary school children to octogenarians. This has been a wonderful project and we are so grateful to the town for being so enthusiastic about the project.
Mixing history and art is when I am generally happiest and I have had such a great experience with the 180 students at TCS, the research team at Wealdstone and with my fellow towns people in our little seaside town. I just wish that humans could move beyond remembering the horrors of war to learning from these lessons of history.
St Michael’s have kindly allowed myself and talented artist Rachael Bennett to exhibit our Devon Open Studios 2018 show (8-22nd September) in the church and we are using the opportunity to make work in response to the history, architecture and landscape of this well loved landmark during the event.
For Open studios I am planning to create a large artwork on the social history of the church, so many Teignmouthian’s have passed through the building, in Christening gown, wedding dress or onto their final resting place and I want to explore all the human history of the church during open studios.
My intention is to fire lots of photographic images of people’s christenings, marriages and funerals onto glass and make a stained glass celebrating the history of the church and it’s congregation.
BUT to make this work I need of photos! I am asking everyone who has passed through the doors of the church to send me a copy of their favourite photos of these life events.
Did your grandparents get married there?
Did you get married there?
Would you like to remember a special person whose funeral was held there? Have you got photos in your family album that I could scan and add to the artwork?
I promise to use the images respectfully, to make a gorgeous glass panel celebrating our town’s social history. I intend to have a silent auction on the panel at the end of the event to raise funds for the church repair appeal.
If you already have a digital copy of a photograph you would like to share with me then please email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Just over a year ago I started on a wonderful journey into the past with Teignmouth Community School. The Year 7 pupils researched Teignmouth in WWI and then I led drawing workshops with the 180 children to produce drawings on this theme. The results were great and you can see all the original pictures and read about the process here.
I am excited to be one of nine artists exhibiting at the beautiful Yarner wood reserve as part of this years Devon Open studios (venue 84). Refreshments and toilet facilities are available at the Woodland Centre on saturday 7th and Sunday 8th, Friday 13th, Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th, Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd September between 11.00 am and 6.00 pm daily. The trail is accessible during the event on other days but some installations will not be switched on and the Woodland Centre will be closed.The wood dates back many centuries and is recognized as an internationally important example of Western Oak woodland. It is a great place for lichens and mosses which thrive in the damp conditions and for birds and butterflies. The woods have had a long history of human involvement from the charcoal coppicing centuries ago to copper mining and Victorian planting, and more recently, for public access and for education and research.
The Heathercombe EDGE Sculpture Trail is an annual arts event sited in the beautiful Fairy Wood at Heathercombe, Manaton, Dartmoor. Running Saturday 7th – Sunday 29th September. Open daily 11am – 5.30pm except Mondays. Adults: £5 Child: £2.50 Concessions £3.