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I looked up stars on floors of Churches.  Lots of them.  Star symbolism.  All sorts.  Excitement.

I brought my pair of compasses and the large protractor and drew on blackboards this morning.

The satisfaction of geometry.  Never felt this at school.  What happens if I join alternate points, halve the radius, double the radius.  Shapes, patterns.  I can build complex patterns.  Tools of creation.  The shapes are containers, they can hold our unknowingness.  Measurement is certain (or is it?), a place to pin down doubt, to draw down the void.

The history of geometry, Pythagoras, tessellations, tiled patterns and mosaics in temples, churches, civic buildings, the houses of the rich.  Colours of the earth from rock and plants.  Earth and heaven, stars and the universe, all that we know and all that we don’t know.  We can bound the space, capture time, lay down our mark.  A whole new world for me to explore. This has come at the end of the Residency – a new beginning.  Astronomy, roots of Freemasonry – the tools, compasses and protractor of the stone mason.

A star within a star.  Symbols used by religions, by institutions, Guilds;  badges of belonging, visual markers – power, authority, shame.

What happens when the measurement is slightly out?  woozy feeling, losing balance, something’s up, out, off, off-putting, out of kilter, not right, not fair, incorrect, wrong.

This is the end of my last day in the Church.

The Open Afternoon takes place a week on Saturday, 11 April 2.30-4.30pm. I have 25 people signed up for the 2 Readings on Silence.



Today two members of the congregation were cleaning the Church, brushing, dusting and hoovering. It was a noisy morning.  I put up my table and laid out the books, pens, camera, sketchbook and continued to read about silence and plan the selection and order of extracts.  I missed the quiet settledness of my usual Monday in the church.

For the lead up to Easter the choir figures and other ornaments have been veiled.  This gives the place a different atmosphere, a Church in waiting.

Frances came in and kindly offered to help on the Open Afternoon on Saturday 11 April.  It was useful to explain the arrangements so far, it clarified certain points and I could see better what still needed to be done.  Continue the selection; practise and time the reading; assemble the objects; plan transport of large board; checklist; publicity.

A FERTILE PAUSE    Saturday 11 April     Open Afternoon 2.30 – 4.30pm view work made during the Residency – all are welcome.

Readings on Silence and Art and Nature  1.45pm for about half an hour. I will read extracts from writers on silence including Sara Maitland and George Prochnik. People will be asked to sign up or email me if they would like to come to this as there are limited places.  The door will be open from 1.30pm but will be closed during the Reading.  The Readings will be repeated at 4.30 – 5pm.  

Next Monday will be the last of the Residency.




This week I made mud pies.  I was 10 again, at the end of the garden near the bonfire site, mixing and stirring in buckets and old cake tins.  This time it was for grown up reasons of course.  The colours are strong, belong to each place.  A variety.  Each its own.

I spend the morning planning for the Readings on Silence and Art and Nature.  I read through the extracts I have marked.  Try to find a flow, links.  There are links with my mud drawing.  Stone, rocks, the soil beneath our feet is silent.

I pore over the texts trying to find a rhythm, understanding.  I find a confusion of different kinds of silence; of many ways of thinking about and looking at silence. Still I begin to find a way.  Short pieces to start as we settle down.  Longer pieces when we are concentrating, focussed.

Questions to ponder: silence to empty oneself, let go of ego; silence to stop outside pressures, to strengthen one’s voice.

Lauris comes and I talk through my plans for presenting the ideas and the work I have made so far during this two months.


It’s darker in the Church today.

‘To be an artist, you need to exist in a world of silence.’ said Louise Bourgeois.

That feels right.  I can think here.  I can read.    After about an hour, I  have slowed down.   I could just sit.  Zazen?  I look at the floor again, the earth coloured tiles.

A pattern is emerging to my Church day.  Perhaps too much, thoughts becoming fixed.  Need to change my position.  Sit at the other end.  Do something different.

But I sketch a few of the choir figures as is my habit and I eat my apple.

My large protractor and huge pair of compasses have arrived.  My tools.  I will draw the circle later today.  GEOMETRY.  Other shapes come into my mind, a star, a star within a circle, a star made from triangles.  Black canvas. Stars on the night sky.  My feet on the earth.  The waves splashing noisily on the pebble beach across from the Marina.

Reading.  Draft the ideas for the Open Afternoon on 11 April.  A long list of things to do.  More stones. Order black material.

Iris Murdoch:  ‘All artists dream of a silence which they must enter, as some creatures return to the sea to spawn.’

The Church is a sanctuary for thought. Things in my head circulate slowly, occasionally pushing forward an idea, something fresh.