Size Approx: Width 33″ – Height 50″
Background to banners
In 2013 I was selected to take part in Art In Romney Marsh (AIRM) which is a contemporary art project providing an opportunity for artists to create site-specific work in response to the inspiring medieval churches of Romney Marsh.
The stained glass windows in All Saints Church, Lydd, designed by Leonard Walker were the inspiration for my artwork. In the central panel are the words ‘To the Glory of God’. In fact, these words appear in many different settings in this church.
The abbreviation ‘OMG’ (Oh my God) and to a lesser extent ‘JC’ (Jesus Christ) is used to express surprise, embarrassment, excitement, or disgust on social media, and when texting. Their use has become so ubiquitous that it is practically meaningless. However, to some their very usage in such ways is perceived as blasphemous.
This work explores how displaying these terms in the context of a church changes people’s perception of the phrases.
The knitted wall hangings are made of local Romney wool, from Aragon Farm in Sissinghurst. The colours of the yarn are associated with Romney Marsh. Holly Berry, Mallard Green, Anemone, Cosmos, Sunflower, Hellebore, Damselfly, Natural fleece, and black with a hint of russet like the black on a sheepdog.
All Saints Church, Lydd, and Romney Marsh have a long association with wool:
‘For, without doubt, Lydd church was a “wool church”, like many of those in the Cotswolds. Having been built out of the fortunes of those who made money during the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries when English wool had a limitless market.
Romney Marsh, Walter J.C. Murray – Robert Hale, London 1953.
The ‘JC’ banner contains several symbols as shown in the images below. In the top right corner is the Christ looking down from the Cross.
In the middle is a heart shape with the letters ‘JC’ in the centre a reference to the father heart of God. At the bottom of the banner in a central position is a Cross which is a key symbol of the Christian faith.
The missing banner
This artwork was designed as a triptych. Due to time constraints, I was only able to create two of the three banners. The 3rd banner was FCS (For Christ’s Sake). I was very touched when I received a message from Reuben Jenkins via Instagram.
“My name’s Reuben Jenkins and I’m currently in my second year of my Art A-level. I’ve just completed my personal investigation on the theme of “churches as galleries”, and one of the works from which I took inspiration was your “Soli Deo Gloria” in All Souls Church, Lydd. I really liked the use of colour as a representation of different aspects of the Marsh. What really struck me, however, was the opportunities for discussion opened up by the use of the ‘OMG’ and ‘JC’ acronyms within a church setting – I found this really thought-provoking when exploring the intersection of faith and the secular world. In response to your work, I recreated the ‘FCS’ banner using an Indian ink wash-off technique and wanted to share this with you. Your work was very influential to my project and led me to further explore hanging art in churches, as well as religious language in contemporary art!”
I really love Reuben’s print and feel it is a fitting tribute to the banner that didn’t get knitted.
Knitting technique used:
I created the artwork with Designaknit software as one image that was divided into three.
The method of knitting used to create the banners was intarsia on an LK150 Silver Reed knitting machine.
Other artworks selected for AIRM