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WINTER 2015 NEWSLETTER

Greetings for the pending Spring! The last three months have seen us work in various media: wood, stone, brass and bronze, egg tempera, and now also mosaic.  More and more I discover that the making of liturgical art is not just a means to an end, but is in itself prayer and worship expressed in matter. Through human hands the very stones cry out, "Hosanna to God in the Highest!".

In addition to the projects below work is underway creating two mosaics for St George Orthodox Church in Houston, Texas. They are of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, each to be 4.9 x 3.6 metres (16 x 12 feet), but more on that in our Spring newsletter...

There is also good news on the book front. A new edition of Techniques of Icon and Wall Painting is due out in about May. It is updated, typos have been corrected, but most importantly, a five page index has been added. For those of you who already have a copy, you can download a pdf of the index here to print and stick into the back.

Wishing you a holy Lent and a glorious Easter,

ICON WORKSHOPS

Information and registration forms for the 2016 round of icon painting workshops with Aidan are now available. Two 5 day workshops, one in May and one in September, will be held at beautiful Walcot Hall, Lydbury North, Shropshire, SY9 8AZ, UK. You can download a registration form and more information on my website.

The dates for Dylan’s highly recommended 2015 icon board making and gessoing courses are also available now. This year Dylan will be running two sets of two day courses in his workshop in the beautiful Iron Bridge Gorge. The first course covers the process of making a tulip wood icon board and, in the second, gessoing the board ready for painting. Choose to take part in both courses or only one. More information available on Dylan's website. 

ALTAR  AND LECTERN FOR CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY CATHOLIC CHAPLAINCY

Monsignor Mark Langham approached us to make an altar, lectern and stoup for the recently refurbished chapel of Fisher House. We designed the new works to harmonise with the existing excellent copy of Cimabue's large Romanesque cross and the bronze tabernacle. The stone altar and lectern front have a stepped frame to echo the edge of the cross, and the altar's reliquary has a bronze door and brass frame to match the existing tabernacle. I designed the altar and made the reliquary, and Martin masterfully carved all the stone work. Cabinetmaker Dylan Hartley skilfully made the oak reading desk. The brass and oak stoop is to follow.

The altar design is in part inspired by sixth century holy tables seen in Ravenna. I am currently writing an article on the historical development of such altars, which will be available later in March in the Orthodox Arts Journal  and in the Articles page of my website. In the book of Revelation we read that John saw "under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne" (Rev. 6:9). Having a reliquary visibly part of the altar reminds us, as St Paul writes, that we are all called to share in the sufferings of Christ, to "fill them up".

TABERNACLE FOR SILVERSTREAM PRIORY, COUNTY MEATH, IRELAND

A new Catholic monastery has recently been established in Ireland, founded by Prior Mark Daniel Kirkby and Dom Benedict from USA. Their vision is to lead a life of prayer, help restore beauty to liturgical worship, and offer a retreat for the renewal and inspiration of priests. To this end they plan to commission, as funds become available, a wide variety of works – largely wall paintings but also liturgical furnishings. The first work to be completed by Aidan Hart Icons is this tabernacle, which was completed which was completed in January.. 

I am learning that less can be more, and so tried to paint this Annunciation scene using just four pigments: white, ivory black, yellow ochre, and red ochre. The ancient Greeks called these the tetrachromata. I did have to use a little azurite to strengthen the blues, but otherwise was amazed how much richness one can achieve with such a limited palette.

ATTIC ICONOSTASIS

Father Michael Krychiwskyj is a Roman Catholic priest of Ukrainian descent who has a great love for the beauty of icons and belief in their power to transform people's lives. He has commissioned many works over the past twenty years, such as the 30 foot high fresco of the Transfiguration in Our Lady of Lourdes in Leeds. Over the past  few years I have had the pleasure of gradually making an icon screen for a small chapel in the attic of his presbytery. The penultimate icon, the Transfiguration, was completed in December. The last icon will be of Christ washing the disciples' feet and will be fitted over the door.

In this Transfiguration icon I made a special attempt to create luminosity, to have light reflect off the white gesso background and come out from behind the paint. Life in Christ does not dematerialise, but makes matter transparent to the Holy Spirit, makes it a bearer of grace. 

BRONZE LAMP


This bespoke bronze oil lamp is inspired by early Byzantine designs. Contemporary oil lamps can be somewhat florid, but here we have tried to return to the elegance of simpler but well crafted earlier models. Designed by Aidan, made by Frazer Picot, and the glass hand blown by Nikki Williams of Ironbridge.   

Similar lamps, of whatever size, can be made to order.

OTHER NEWS

The Field magazine was founded in 1853 for lovers of hunting, fishing and shooting, and has now added another string to its bow... iconography!  My assistant Martin was featured in the Christmas edition as part of a series of articles on British craftsmen. You can read the excellent article here.

Aidan Hart Icons


ICONS, CARVING, WALL PAINTING, MOSAIC & CHURCH FURNISHINGS

Websites: www.aidanharticons.com  and www.aidanhart.co

Mobile telephone: (+44)  07910 246774

Home: (+44) 01743 240112

Address: 94 Underdale Road, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY2 5EE, UK

 

Aidan Hart Icons Limited. Registered in England and Wales. Company Number: 6995115. 

VAT registration number 993496848

 

 

  
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