Transferring map onto canvas

Transferring map onto canvas

Started work on the Work and City Renewal section of the canvases. This was the clearest picture I had and it was present as soon as the commission was outlined. The church is to reach out: outside itself, outside the building, outside our comfort zone.

Before the canvas will be stretched over the frame I often stitch into the material and create a textural surface on which to work. This ‘going out’ was initially seen as a series of human shaped forms that were joined together and stretched out from a central point (the place of feeding and restoration, God, the church building, all these symbols work). But I wanted to ground it in the specific place where the church stands and works and wants to make their impact….. Birmingham. Using the road map grid as a means to show the outpouring of God’s grace through the people of this church just seemed more appropriate. The idea rather than the exact scale is important.

Canvases one and two

Canvases Two and Three

And so the process begins, transferring the map of Birmingham onto the second of the four canvases and then continuing these roads and lines into the canvases either side to express the outpouring of Holy Spirit and His transformational grace. The canvas is now in the process of being taken off the frame and stitched into again. Although the canvas will be primed and will lose a lot of the definition, it seemed important to do the stitching in colour. Andrew McNeil talked about us being like colours, hues in God’s palette, and although I think this symbolism will occur in the canvas elsewhere it seemed right to include this at the very beginning.

My Bible reading today drew me to 1 Chronicles 11: 10-11 which talks of David’s mighty men, these incredible men who dedicated their lives to serving and loving and protecting David, enabling him to become the King God intended him to be. It talks of them ‘linking arms’ with him and I found this to be a really powerful image, one of strength but also one of personal sacrifice.

Stitching the canvas

Stitching the canvas

I recently went ice skating with my daughter and for the first thirty minutes I was literally holding her up and supporting her as her confidence grew. And in that time I was limited in my speed and in my ability to stand whilst holding her. It came back to me suddenly as I was reading this that this is the church’s commission: reaching out beyond ourselves, slowing down our speed and falling into step with those around us to help them understand more of God’s grace and love. By walking alongside them, linking arms with them, Jesus can be revealed.

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