End of ‘year’ review- most enjoyable work has been my commission for Footfall (2019) in Southwark Cathedral for the 40 days of Lent. Footfall is composed of largescale printmaking and hand stitching. The final piece is over 15 metres long and hung as a veil to cover the gilded figures of the Risen Christ and Mary on the high altar screen or Reredos for Lent.
The prints were taken from some of the oldest ledger or memorial stones in the Retrochoir using a similar printmaking technique to brass rubbing- a direct print taken form the surface of the stone. The prints were made directly on scrim, a simple fabric normally used for cleaning but here elevated against the gold- a breaking of the rules. Footfall was installed for Ash Wednesday and dismantled for Easter day when the gilded figure of the risen Christ was visible again.
Footfall makes visible the invisible. Cathedrals bear traces of pilgrimage and worship trodden into the floors like slow sculpture (Lewis, 2007: 228). Southwark was known as a place where pilgrimages began as Chaucer documented in the Canterbury Tales and continue to be living sculptures as worshippers and tourists continue to pour through its doors.
Footfall became an actor in the liturgy, not wallpaper but engaged in the life of the cathedral. A quiet presence. During a wedding it became festive, as fine as a Shetland wedding shawl. During the eucharist the almost translucent cloth rose like incense. When the cathedral responded to the New Zealand mosque shootings it became the backdrop for candles lit in prayer.
With thanks to Westhill Endowment Trust for grantfunding who have a project page about Footfall: