Duration Based Conceptual Performance Artist
Doves sitting on the white window at Bonnyrigg parish Church Scotland
Over the years I have been making art out of mdf, so had worked out how to cut, carve, shape, piece together the mdf, transforming it into various pieces. I have also often made things from my local church in London, like camels, St Michael with his sword and not forgetting the dragon. I have been able to make things for the local shelter window, creating various displays.
One Friday evening I had a call from my sister who asked if I would be able to make a Dove for a friend who was part of a team at Bonnyrigg Parish Church, as it was difficult to find a winged Dove. Fortunately earlier in the day I noticed a neighbour was throwing out some mdf, so I knocked on the door and asked if I can have it, which he said yes.
I have always found this is how it works, when I need something to make something it normally comes my way, I have been so fortunate, in this instance it meant I was able to cut a shape of the dove and send a photo that evening, which I got a thumbs up.
Once I worked out the initial shape I decided to make two as doves always comes in pairs. My next step was to then make them stand freely, which was fairly straight forward. I cut a base, then cut a small piece of doweling rod, and drilled a hole at the bottom of the dove and also the based, where I used some wood glue and joined them together. It was a frantic two days in the studio as I was aware they needed them asap.
It was a lot of fun making things again, as I had put making objects on hold during lockdown, as I can be a bit noisy with the drills/jigsaw and hammer, my studio is in the back garden. I am aware that most people are now at home and some neighbours are using their sheds for conference calls. But on this evening, it was fine so I was able to get all the noise out of the way and then spend time working out the size and also how to present them. The problem came when I thought I could spray them, but that never worked, so had to sand them down and start again, but this time using quick drying gloss, being cold it wasn't drying as quick as it would normally. My aim was to get them in the post by Monday.
It seemed I was on track with the doves. The last time I created a dove it was years ago, though I made it as a tapestry for a friend who was a retired nun. There is something beautiful about the dove, it has a spirit, and a magical quality about it no matter what medium you use as an artist to create an image of a dove, it always seem to look like a dove, even if it is just a simple line drawn.
I was obviously enjoying not just the making but also the challenge, as I was aware of a team of ladies in Scotland who have been creating different themed windows at their local church, unaware of the gift that was going to arrive within days of asking for help. That is the power of asking, we sometimes just need to say "I need help". This was an everyday event for me, but for the ladies at Bonnyrigg Parish Church, this would inspire them to continue with their plan for the white window. It becomes a team effort, I was part of the team, even if they didn't know me, this was my contribution to helping the window to become reality.
I was really pleased with the outcome and I know they would be too. This was such a wonderful effortless project to take on, because I was really enjoying the whole process and knowing the happiness that the doves were going to bring.
Now they were ready to fly their way to Scotland from London. I wasted no time so sent them straight off and they arrived the next day. One of the ladies arranged to pick the parcel up over flowing with excitement.
During the pandemic it really has limited our freedom what we can and cannot do, things have changed, so to be able do something different really helps not only just doing something, contributing to an important project. I can imagine it would have made everyone's day when they received the doves, when just days previous they had lost hope on where to find winged flying doves.
The Minister Rev Louise Purden was delighted to see the creation of the window, not only that; I think the story behind it became part of the experience of the window. You can hear her sermon via this link, go to 21 minutes in where Louise talks about how it happened, and you really feel the joy that comes from her heart.
Spike Mclarrity is a duration based conceptual performance artist.