Queen's counsel XXXI

March 2004

Each spring term at Queen's College starts with a residential weekend during which we explore some aspect of Spirituality.  I have found it a highlight of the year, as many of you may know when you have had the opportunity to leave the world's concerns and cares behind for a short while to become still in the presence of the Spirit.  Making it an everyday part of life is not quite so straightforward - worldly matters seem to push themselves to the fore, don’t they?

This time we studied the creative impulse that brings us to express deep feelings in some form of artwork.  It was helpfully structured into five phases that could also be applied to addressing concerns generally:

  1. contemplation - where we were invited to take one object, an image and a word from the large collection that had been laid out; they were to act as our inspiration all weekend.  I chose a spiral seashell, the word "air" and a picture of the tor at Glastonbury at sunset – did they choose me?
  2. engagement - where we explored various media in which we might express ourselves: clay, paint, oil, pastels, charcoal, even textiles.  We were invited to play with our materials and let them speak to us of our objects – a simple exercise yet surprisingly powerful.
  3. form-giving - where we joined workshops teaching us ways of engaging more fully with techniques that could convert our insights into artistic form through the medium of our choice; this, for me, was poetry.
  4. emergence – where we edited, or polished, our artwork into its final expression; the essence of the process was to be guided by that inner urge commanding our hands to complete the form which would continue to speak the insights that had come through our exploration.
  5. release – where we found a space in our chapel to display our work and step away so that it could speak by itself to others.  My contribution to this final exhibition of artwork was a poem:

My shell is my protection,
prescribing form and hidden space,
a home secure from challenge.
Starting from small beginnings,
spiralling towards infinity,
gaining courage to explore.
Discovering oceans of nourishment,
risking all just to belong,
my shell remains
a memory of home.

This site was developed to contain work by Mike Fox relating to the WMMTC course
This page was last updated on 2004-01-28

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