Anna Loveday Minshall Fine Arts
  Series Introduction

Winged Thoughts and Prayers Series

Installation Leaflet...

These are images of an installation at St Paul's Church in Southfields, South West London (courtesy of Craig Johnson's photography). The installation consisted of six flying feather forms. These were intended as maquettes to be made into larger metal or fibreglass sculptures for public spaces.

The feather motif flew out of a previous painting called 'All about Rosa' where the image of my daughter gained metaphorical wings as she fledged into young womanhood flying the nest. In the painting she is waking up to a new adult life backed by abstract references to her ancestral landscape of far West Cornwall. The handprint of her mother (and by implication grandmother) can be seen printed behind her as if on a membrane from another world. The feathers were intended as symbols of transition and hope. The painting presents a kind of life-stage Icarus.

I wanted to honour the purpose, feel and spirituality of the church space I had been offered to work in. To make a working installation, which could enhance the church's function.

Mythologising travel between conscious and unconscious worlds seemed not dissimilar to the travelling a wish, a prayer or an angel might do.

The wings of angels and the white feathers of the dove (annunciation and baptism) were already available icons within this Christian setting. As it turned out the vicar of the church also belonged to a group of worship for whom the goose feather was a significant symbol.

Initially, I had designed an enormous undulating feather form, which flew horizontally down the whole nave of the church, however this was not technically or financially viable within the time limit given. Therefore, working with the feather idea, I made processional banner-style pieces, which could be processed down the nave. They were made of curved pinewood stems with steam bent willow canes making up the frond structures.

The cloisons made by the canes bore resemblance to the lead calming in stained glass windows and the three basic designs looked variously like palm fronds, angels, feathers or ladders.

The structures also made reference to other Christian symbols of year round festivals. They were light and manoeuvrable and hung above head height vertically in a circle (like standing angels) in the centre crossing of the church. Placing them here spanned the space just above the congregation's thoughts, and so the objects worked well as a metaphor for looking and thinking upwards towards a state beyond the earthbound.

They hung by a single hook so that they swayed slightly. Additionally, I draped a long bolt of white cloth over the altar in the Apse and down through the chancel. There it rippled over the stairs to the crossing of the church and the preferred altar 'in the round' and 'in the congregation', so to speak. I cut feather like outlines into this and the way that the cloth parted on either side of the blade mimicked, to my mind, parting waters and continents.

The church put on a beautiful service with commissioned music composed by their composer in residence to go with the installation. During the hours around the performance, music by Hildegaard von Bingen was played. The composer's wife and children also made a nest of white origami birds, which sat on the altar. Additionally, I suggested a project where the congregation could write their own wishes and prayers on paper feathers, which were displayed in the church. I also conducted a workshop for a local school facilitating children designing and making their own wings with the left over materials from the installation.

I have continued to work with the feather metaphor and took this on into my sculpture series, 'Incongruous Objects and Unnameable things', A L Minshall 2014.

244 Work In progress In The Studio 245 In Progress In The Studio 246 Cloisons 247 Wand 248 Trinities 249 Gauzey Light
Work In progress In The Studio In Progress In The Studio Cloisons Wand Trinities Gauzey Light
250 Breath 251 Palms 252 Aspiring Angels 253 Backbones 254 Wing Feathers I 255 Darkness And Light
Breath Palms Aspiring Angels Backbones Wing Feathers I Darkness And Light
256 Prayer Flies 257 Leaves And Flowers 258 Flame 259 White Cloth 260 Single Angel 261 Choir Fish Feathers
Prayer Flies Leaves And Flowers Flame White Cloth Single Angel Choir Fish Feathers
262 Procession 263 Heartsong 264 Living Thoughts And Prayers 265 Separation Discarded Shroud 266 Delta 267 Delta Crossing
Procession Heartsong Living Thoughts And Prayers Separation Discarded Shroud Delta Delta Crossing
268 Angel River          
Angel River          


  © Anna Loveday Minshall | Site by Joanne Ryan