Biteabout Arts

Monday, 13 July 2015 08:35

Recreating the Community Artists Commission, Durham Cathedral.

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I am very excited to be one of four artists commissioned for Durham Cathedral's Open Treasure Project, Recreating The Community. I am to produce a piece inspired by the 'Cuthbert Silks' and the coffin of St Cuthbert. This is to be a felt cloak.  I shall be updating you on it's progress.

So how has my commission been developing?

Well today I have been on my knees in my waterproof trousers and latterly also knee pads laying out a very fine layer of wool from our Shetland Sheep, covering an area of just over 8 square metres. It has to be gently teased out, creating the finest of layers so as not to impinge too much on the final design.
In one version of his life story, Cuthbert was shepherd at Dodd Law, so his flock would have grazed the fields just to the south of us. This makes a fitting link to our wool, used in the lining of the cloak, reflecting his shepherding life and his constant yearning for simplicity and purity over opulence and the excesses of his time.
Over the last few months, around other projects I have been working on the imagery for the external surface.
First there is the wildlife on Lindisfarne and Inner Farne, the birds and mammals that live in this watery place.
Curlews, cormorants,sandpipers,redshanks, seals, to name a few.
Then there has been the imagery from the Gospels, the illuminated manuscript dedicated to Cuthbert that travelled with him in his coffin. Some are laid out in wool, others are painted onto silk.
His body was wrapped within layers of woven silks, some depicting the prophets, popes, attendant deacons, John the Baptist and John the Evangelist.
So my imagery include some of these, painted and drawn onto fragments of silk, which will be felted within the layers of fibres in the cloak.
The hood is the clear night sky with its stars in the heavens.

I hope to complete it in the next couple of weeks, so I will keep you updated.


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