When I was given the commission by the Parish Church Council of St Mary’s Bishophill Junior, I imagined the series as drawings in clay. I felt that to use this medium would reflect the textural lime wash and stone feel of the ancient church. I aimed for simple open imagery that would encourage meditation and complement the prayers.
For the story telling I was looking to use a cinematic technique that would tie in with the modern abstracted nature of the drawing and the way we are shown narrative these days. The drawing is hopefully tense and emotive. I focused on the people who stood by Jesus, the women and Simon from Africa, all of whom were seen as lesser mortals by society. The pieces are round in shape; a favourite Early Italian Renaissance form that affects what is shown and omitted.
I worked on the drawings for about a year, from imagination and then using a model to tighten the drawing up. Then I mixed the clays and rolled out the disks and incised into them.
The unusualness even radical nature of the work excited the clergy involved who feel that it makes the universal themes up to date and relevant. For me it was a deeply spiritual experience.