|| The Jerusalem Space
Hackney Free and Parochial Church of England School, London
Blessed by the Bishop of London - 17 April, 2007
Transforming an old 12' x 6' urinal into a room for quiet contemplation was the dream of Mark Brokenshire, Head of Religious Studies at Hackney Free and Parochial School, who raised the majority of the funds for the artworks himself.
When I was first introduced to the room, the decorating had been completed, and other beautiful artworks and furniture were in place. There was a Tree of Life in carved and stained wood, a painted triptych, and a contemporary wooden 'alter', side tables and benches.
The benches had a quote from one of Julian of Norwich's visions carved into their backs:
"In this vision he showed me a little thing the size of a hazelnut. I wondered how it could last for it was so small. I thought it might suddenly have disappeared.
And the answer in my mind was it lasts and will last for ever because God loves it."
The three square windows that I was to design, were the only elements of the room that remained utilitarian-looking in truth, somewhat ugly and unsightly.
My initial response was that I felt the existing artworks and furniture needed room to breathe, and certainly not to have additional competition for attention from the windows. The ambiance I wanted to create was to be one of calm fluidity.
Using a selection of beautiful, hand-blown clear glass that plays with the light, and created a ribbon-like movement through the three windows with semi- opaque, smoky glass, guiding the eye towards the Tree of Life.
Finally, I took the quote carved in the benches under the windows as inspiration to add one coloured element: I fused a small oval nugget of golden glass and bonded it onto the surface of one piece of 'ribbon'. The precious nugget represents the little thing, the hazelnut, and of the golden gift of God's love.
This was an inspiring commission on which to work, and the Religious Studies Tutor was helpful and appreciative.