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AUTUMN 2014 NEWSLETTER

Welcome to this second newsletter. The past summer has been busy, with some long term projects completed and others still underway. Looking back, diversity has been the hallmark. Liturgical art is a sacred dance in praise of God, and all artistic media are involved. This last three months my growing team of craftspeople and I have had the pleasure of making things in a wide variety of media: hand wrought iron, cloisonné, gem stone setting, stone carving, clay modelling for a maquette, fine wood working, glass blowing, and of course egg tempera icon painting. I continue to teach the Diploma in Icon painting, write articles and give talks - details of these can be found at the end of the newsletter. Wishing you a very blessed Advent,

WROUGHT IRON SCREEN FOR ST MICHAEL'S AND ALL ANGELS ANGLICAN CHURCH

This massive wrought iron screen was commissioned by St Michael's and All Angels Anglican Church in Chiswick, London. The parish had recently installed a magnificent organ which was visible to the congregation through a large west facing arch. Aidan was commissioned to design and make a screen which would distract from the organ's pipes but allow the sound to pass through unhindered. The screen also had to enrich the liturgical life of the parish and harmonize with existing decoration.

The final design was created to echo the beautiful ironwork already in the church as well as incorporate a large icon of the Archangel Gabriel in its centre. This icon is balanced with an identically  sized icon of the Mother of God on the south side - creating an Annunciation. In this way the congregation is caught up into the conversation between Gabriel and Mary taking place across the liturgical space of the nave.

Finally installed in September after nine months of labour, the wrought iron screen measures 3.3 x 2.7 metres ( 11 x 9  ft). It was hand-forged by master blacksmith Frazer Picot of Shropshire using the difficult traditional technique of fire welding. It is probably the largest hand wrought screen of this complexity to have been made for a church in Britain for decades. Parts of the screen will be gilded early next year.

The icons measure 210 x 92 cm (82 x 36 inches). For stylistic inspiration, Aidan drew on early English works such as the Bury St Edmund Bible. The building behind Mary, with details that draw on the architecture of St Michael's, symbolises the fact that through the incarnation she is a temple and dwelling place of God.
 

See more images of the St Michael's and All Angels screen

RELIQUARY OF SAINT VINCENT OF ZARAGOZA 

St Mary Magdalene Russian Orthodox Church in Madrid commissioned a casing for a relic of St Vincent of Zaragoza, a deacon martyred in Valencia in 304AD. Aidan designed the reliquary, hand carved the silver for the cloisonné and set the stones. The box was crafted by Dylan Hartley, and the cloisonné was painstakingly made by Christabel Anderson.

Cloisonné was chosen in the past for prestigious church items, but is rarely made now on account of the laborious and skilful processes involved. Gold or silver wire is first enamelled to a base, and then the islands so formed are filled with coloured enamels and fired. After many firings are completed, the surface is carefully polished to a flat surface. I am delighted that in Christabel, who as an Orthodox Christian involved full-time in the liturgical arts, we finally have a skilled craftsperson who can make cloisonné. Hopefully more commissions will be forthcoming!

NEW ICONS

Saint Katherine was a very learned virgin of noble parentage, living in Alexandria. According to tradition many converted through her, and in debate over the Christian faith she confounded the most learned philosophers of her time. For this she was martyred in the early 4th century under the pagan emperor Maxentius. The icon shows her in the toga of a noble woman, standing between a pagan temple and a tree, three branched to symbolise the life-giving Holy Trinity. The style is inspired by early manuscripts and mosaics of 7th century Ravenna.

This icon measures 275 x 360mm (10.8 x 12.2 inches), and is available for sale at £1100 plus VAT and postage.  

Clockwise from top left: Martyr Tydfil, Christ Enthroned, The Entry into Jerusalem, St Joseph of Arimathea.

 

The icon of St Joseph of Arimathea measures 310 x 240 mm (12 x 9.5 inches) and is available for sale at £900 plus VAT and postage.

See more recent icons here

THEOTOKOS HODEGETRIA MAQUETTE

Aidan's assistant Martin has recently finished work on a maquette of the Virgin Hodegetria. This new 'iconographic statue' is 3ft high and closely based on a 10th century ivory in the V&A collection - the sole surviving example of freestanding sculpture in Byzantine art. 

Martin is currently using the maquette to complete a stone carving commissioned by an Orthodox Deacon in America... watch this space.

OTHER PROJECTS

This very small pectoral cross, about 7 cm (3 inches) high, was painted on limestone for a sculpture of New Martyr Elizabeth, one of a series of five sculptures by Rory Young destined for St Alban's cathedral.

A memorial stone with Trajan lettering designed by Aidan and hand carved by Martin in Salopian sandstone.

OTHER NEWS


 

Aidan was asked by the wonderful online Orthodox Arts Journal to write a piece about the eminent Russian icon painter of our times, Archimandrite Zenon. Very little is written about him in English, so Aidan jumped at the opportunity to research his life and works. The article, which also contains many useful links to websites that with images of his work and videos showing him at work, can be read here.

Aidan will be giving a talk in Cardiff University this month on Thursday 27 November entitled “The Gospel Through Beauty: The beauty of icons and liturgical art as a key to secular Europe”. It will be part of a conference organised by The Theotokos Institute for Catholic Studies on the theme 'Eastern Christian Thought and Practice for 21st Century Europe'. 

The conference will be held from Wednesday to Friday, 26-28 November at the Church of St Theodore of Tarsus, 14 Pomeroy Street, The Docks, Cardiff, CF10 5GS. The various speakers will address questions - both theological and pastoral - that arise in the encounter between ancient Christianity and a post-Christian society.

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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