The head teacher of St.Patrick's catholic school asked if we could restore the crumbling statue which had once stood outside the building.
It wasn't until all the old paint had been removed that we could determine what it was made of. What remained of the statue was very heavy, and for the most part, it appeared to be a finely cast cementitious substrate.
(Too many Guinness, and the words "finely cast cementitious substrate" can be quite a tongue twister - not that I have tried it of course!)
The statue had been repaired so many times, that he was no longer able to withstand the rigours of the outdoors.
I remembered the days of school masses at my Parish, when we would sing on the feast of St. Patrick,
"Hail glorious saint Patrick dear saint of our isle, On us thy poor children bestow a sweet smile...on Erin's green valleys look down in thy love!"
Even though Liverpool is many miles away from Erin, it didn't seem to matter. The Irish priests who had served the people of Liverpool for centuries, and those of Irish descent sang with such gusto, as to shake the rafters.
It made me feel like St. Patrick was very "Glorious" saint-wise indeed.
With those happy memories in mind, I hoped to pass on some of that enthusiasm to the children of St. Patrick's in Thornaby.
David re-assembled the statue, and repaired it, then he carved the new crosier head, (whilst I created a replica head for one of the snakes.)
Finally, I got to paint him, shamrocks and all - well if you are going to teach the children about the trinity, these details are significant - (even though we decided against putting one in the centre of the crosier.)
It was exciting to see the face which had been hidden for so many years; St. Patrick is looking is "glorious" once again.
Having seen the Marian shrine of my childhood church in Liverpool relegated to a meeting room, (during re-ordering in the 70's) I am grateful to Fr. S for having considered me for this work, and to have been part of re-instating devotion to her. It helped to heal that former sense of loss, to know that devotion to Mary would be shared again.
In art, the infant Jesus is often portrayed with an "older" face, to indicate that He is "The Word".
This is to indicate to you and I, that Jesus is the wisdom of God the Father - made flesh.
Sometimes this results in a kind of uncomfortable compromise, and I am often asked why it is that the baby "looks like a little old man."
When the latest crib set was brought for restoration, my client complained..." He looks more like one of the three kings!"
So I thought about how I feel about my own bambinos, and made this one as sweet and loveable as I could!
I hope now when he is processed to the crib, he will be handled more tenderly because he looks a bit more, well - cuddly!
Occasionally, someone will bring me a statue known as " the Sacred Heart" because of their love for Jesus, or perhaps it has been handed down to them by a relative.
They don't always know the reason for the heart , so the following quotes, taken from the Autobiography of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque; provide some explanation of why Catholicism sometimes depicts Jesus with a fiery and pierced heart:
Saint Margaret Mary here describes the vision upon which the imagery of the Sacred Heart is based:
My childhood church, is the church of St. Matthew in West Derby Liverpool.The building is listed as Grade II, and the interior architecture has the appearance of a downsized basilica.
Its bell tower is tall, and points to the heavens like the finger of a saint; it has long been a local landmark.
I remember how the iron cross laid in the main road nearby reminded men to doff their caps in reverence for the Lord as they passed by.
The place was always full on Sundays, at all four masses, and there was always a priest on hand if needed.The Choir loft held the organ that had the most imposing sound which rung the rafters along with the congregation. No faint-hearted crooners here!
Gradually, as time passed, the bells in the tall tower that had reminded us it was the Lords day, and a day of rest became silent. Muted by a growing number who preferred to not be so reminded.
The back of the chair is arched to represent the arch of the rainbow; "the sign of the covenant between God and every living creäture.
" (Gen 9 :v 12)Under her feet is the Toad stone, believed during medieval times to be formed in the head of a toad, and to have magical powers;- it is the East Anglian equivalent of the moon or serpent, all representative of evil; superstitious practice and idolatry.
Just as the serpent is crushed under heel in the book of Revelation, so Mary (crushes) the Toad stone and all it represents - under her feet.
The finished statue holds a sceptre fashioned like a three fold lily, as Mary is the pure Lily chosen by the Trinity from all eternity.
I have added two decorative golden bosses at the base displaying the Greek symbols for Mother of God and Jesus Christ ♥
It is said that "When England returns to Walsingham; Mary will return to England."
Slide show of procession
As its not always possible for me to attend the installation of my statues or similar events like this procession; I am always grateful for those who send me a photo or two.
The slideshow is courtesy of Mrs. H. and the comment is from " Brendan" :
"The day has been very special the sun has been with us, Carmel was full and even the old Sister's looked young, really seemed that Our Blessed Mother had arrived home, Our own English Queen will be singing your praises in Heaven, She will be delighted with your statue. Well done.
Lewis and Lewis
is a Catholic family run business: specialising in statue restoration, and church interior projects.
Jeanette is a professional sculptor/fine artist and designer; husband David is a traditional upholsterer/technician.
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