Art & Spirituality Interfaith Forum, meeting monthly in Ipswich

March 20, 2017  •  1 Comment

Why not come along and join our monthly Ipswich-based Interfaith "Art & Spirituality" discussion forum: a friendly, informal, inclusive group that exists to share ideas about the expression of spirituality through visual art and poetry.

Our next Art & Spirituality group discussion will take place on Tuesday 11th April 2017, 10.30 am - 12.00 noon, when Charlotte Stewart will present a richly illustrated talk: Colour in the context of Art and Spirituality.

"Colour is beyond words. In the same way that many of our spiritual awarenesses are literally indescribable, so the relationships between colours can be deeply meaningful. For me a colour relationship can have a great significance, in the same way that music can reach into our souls, without words. I will look briefly at the science of colour in relation to vision, because at the time when I began to look seriously at the way colour works in our vision and brains and souls, that is what I studied. Then I hope we can just enjoy looking at images and discussing the idea of colour and spirituality."

10.30 am - 12.00 noon, at the beautifully refurbished Quay Place (St Mary at the Quay Church), Key Street, Ipswich IP4 1BZ.

A warm welcome awaits you!

The Ipswich based Art and Spirituality forum was founded in Autumn 2013 by Cynthia Capey, affiliated to SIFRE (Suffolk Inter-Faith REsource).

We meet on the second Tuesday of the month, 10.00 am - 12.00 noon, at Quay Place (St Mary at the Quay Church), Key Street, Ipswich IP4 1BZ. Tel. 01473 569696

We welcome anyone who would join us in this open-minded, non-judgemental spirit. Please contact the group facilitator Loïs Cordelia (contact details below) to be kept informed of monthly meetings, proposed topics for discussion, and special group lectures and events.

We meet shortly before 10.30 am in the cafe area (White's Cafe), inside Quay Place, before moving to one of the available rooms.

Parking is available (pay and display: £1.40 for 2 hours) in the car park outside the church, accessible via Foundation Street, from Star Lane.




 Group Coordinator: Charlotte Stewart
 Group Facilitator: Loïs Cordelia - [email protected] 07949042115


Recent topics of discussion and guest lectures:

Tuesday 14th March 2017: Robert Kensit presented part 2 of his illustrated talk: Journey of a Pagan Artist - Fylfots and other shapes.

"Starting with the ancient design most people know as the swastika, for the past few months I have experimented with designs to reclaim it as a good and fruitful symbol. This has led me to creating increasingly fluid and abstracted images, drawing inspiration from Jackson Pollock, psychedelia and fractal geometry." ~ Robert Kensit

Tuesday, 10th January 2017: Stars, Planets and Constellations in the context of Art and Spirituality.

Why has humankind always been so fascinated by the stars and planets? How have different cultures and their artists interpreted them, and how have these images prevailed and transformed in the modern "scientific" consciousness? How relevant are they to us today?


Tuesday, 13th December 2016: Caroline Mackenzie (artist and sculptor) presented a talk: The Trinity – an interfaith approach.

Caroline will bring a terracotta sculpture in which she interprets the doctrine of the Trinity from a Christian perspective that draws on insights from psychology and Hinduism. Caroline will then speak about the sculpture in relation to Sarah Coakley’s book “God Sexuality and the Self: an essay on the Trinity”. This will be followed by general discussion on triads, triangles, triptyches and so on and their significance in the context of art and spirituality.


Tuesday 8th November 2016, 10.30 am - 12.00 noon: Art, Spirituality and the Environment
How does environmental art affect us emotionally, intellectually and spiritually? How far back can we trace environmental art? How do contemporary visual artists convey the fragility of ecological balance, the impending threat of environmental disaster, and the urgency of action? How do spiritual and religious traditions respond to this call to action?
"The Earth without Art is just 'Eh'."
(- Anon)

Tuesday 11th October, 2016: Our guest speaker Robert Kensit presented a talk: Journey of a Pagan Artist (part 1)

Tuesday, 14th June 2016: "The Spirit of Paper-Cutting" - a richly illustrated talk by Lois Cordelia

To set paper-cutting in context, we'll begin with a brief "world tour" of cut-paper traditions from around the globe. Lois will introduce a few examples of her own work, before reflecting on the significance of paper as a medium (as opposed to simply a "canvas") for art. In opening up to discussion, we'll consider what appeals to us about paper-cutting, and how it can express and symbolise spiritual aspirations.

A piece of paper can be a powerful presence."
(- Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey.)

Photo credit: Emily

Tuesday, 10th May 2016: Dance in the context of Art and Spirituality.

How do we define "dance", and in what ways do we connect it with spirituality? How have artists across the centuries and in different parts of the world interpreted dance through visual art? What does dance mean to us on a personal level?

"I would believe only in a God that knows how to dance."
(- Friedrich Nietszche.)
David's DanceDavid's DanceTitle: David's Dance
Medium: Silhouette paper-cut. Cut by hand using a scalpel.
Dimensions: Approx. 35 x 50 cm
Date: July 2014

David's Dance

Silhouette paper-cut, cut by hand using a scalpel. 2014

Inspired by the biblical verse: “And David danced before the LORD with all his might”
(2 Samuel, chapter 6 verse 14).

King David throws his heart, soul and body into the ecstatic throes of the dance. An energetic freehand sketch conveys the intense, almost violent energy of the dancer. The very nerves, sinews and fibres of his body threaten to unravel and disintegrate, yet he throws himself fearlessly into the unknown. Through his dance, David celebrates the human body, yet remains painfully aware of its fragility.

“You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.”
~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Price: SOLD. In the collection of the CO3 Art Gallery, Colchester.

Tuesday, 12th April 2016, 1.30 - 3.00 pm: Change, Metamorphosis, Transformation, Transfiguration

Do we personally embrace or resist the fluidity of change? How does art on the theme of metamorphosis affect us on an emotional level, and why? How have artists over the centuries evoked dynamic processes of transformation and transfiguration through static visual art mediums?
"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly."
(- Anon.)

Metamorphosis of the Heart (Arabic: My Heart has become capable of every form)Metamorphosis of the Heart (Arabic: My Heart has become capable of every form)Metamorphosis of the Heart (Arabic: My Heart has become capable of every form)

Medium: Silhouette paper-cut. Cut by hand using a scalpel.

Dimensions: Approximately A3. 420 x 297 mm

Date: October 2009

From imagination.

This piece incorporates the mirrored Arabic script of a line of devotional poetry by the Sufi mystic Ibn Arabi (1165-1240 AD):

"My Heart has become capable of (literally: a mould for) every form" (Arabic: laqad sara qalby qabilan kulla soratin")

Like the humble caterpillar that must be transformed into a beautiful butterfly, so the human soul must undergo countless metamorphoses in order to contain the infinitely fluid form of the Divine.

Please contact Lois to purchase prints, or to commission similar work.

Price: £SOLD. In a private collection in Edinburgh, UK.

Tuesday, 9th February 2016: Guest speaker Norman Sanders speaks on the theme of "Mathematics and Art - How Renaissance Artists found the Sacred in the Maths and Geometry of the Ancient Greeks". 
How do artists use mathematics, mathematical tools and symbols in their work, and how do we respond, emotionally and intellectually? How does mathematical art inspire the viewer to perceive beauty and order, to question the levels of reality, to contemplate the place of the human being in relation to the rest of the universe, and to evoke the sacred and the infinite?
"Are you really sure that a floor can't also be a ceiling?"
 (- M. C. Escher)

Tuesday 12th January, 2016: "Sun, Moon and Stars: Cosmic and Celestial Imagery in Art"
How have artists responded to this theme across the centuries? What colours, symbols and imagery have they chosen to convey their visions, and what feelings do these inspire in us? How do such interpretations of the cosmos relate to our personal or universal world view, and to the world of modern science?
"One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star."
(- Friedrich Nietzsche)


Tuesday 10th November 2015: The Macabre in Art
What do we understand by "the macabre"? What fascinates and/or repels us about the macabre? How do artists respond to this theme through visual art, imagery, symbols and poetry, and what emotions do these evoke in us?
"There is no exquisite beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion."
(~ Francis Bacon, Essays (1625), Of Beauty.)

Grain by GrainGrain by GrainOne of a series of cut-paper and mixed media illustrations for Habu's album, "Infinite", released April 29th 2016.

Tuesday 13th October 2015: Angels in Art

What do we understand or mean by "Angels"? How have artists' depictions of angels evolved across the centuries, and why? What is special about angels (wings, haloes, light, colour, etc), and why do they fascinate artists? How are contemporary artists reinterpreting angels for postmodern, post-religious viewers?
Ikarus (Icarus)Ikarus (Icarus)Icarus

Illustration for Michael Pilath's poem Ikarus, as part of the SternenBlick German anthology, Zwischen den Wolken (Mattner, 2016)

Mixed media. November 2015.

Michael Pilath's poem Ikarus spoke to me particularly. I found it compelling in the way that it evokes the ambiguity of an unresolved love story. The imagined bliss of union with the beloved is set in sharp contrast with the agony of falling back into reality, by alluding to the mythical story of Icarus, who famously flew too near the Sun and fell to his death. Icarus is generally seen as a tragic victim of his own reckless ambition, but on another level he may be seen as one whose heroic passion culminates in a form of divine transformation or transfiguration: like every superstar who dies 'tragically' young in the pursuit of some glittering ecstatic vision that goes beyond the strength of his physical body to sustain, he falls into glory and becomes a legend. In Pilath's poem, our hero picks himself up and re-draws his own wings in thought, in order to soar hopefully upwards anew. In my illustration for the poem, I wanted to depict a dramatic figure caught in motion, torn between agony and ecstasy. My initial free-flowing sketch becomes a crisply defined paper-cut design, in which spikey, scribbled lines suggest intense feeling, yet potential disintegration. Elongated limbs and fingers yearn to stretch beyond the confines of the physical frame.


Tuesday, 9th June 2015: Heaven and Hell

The concepts of Heaven and Hell seem to exist in many religions, and have been depicted by artists across the centuries. How does this imagery relate to our own faith, if we have one? Is it still relevant to us today? What sort of emotive response does it produce in us? How do contemporary artists interpret such themes? Please feel free to bring along some images, pictures, artwork, and so on, to share with us all.

“The mind is its own place, and in itself
 Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven”
~ John Milton (from Paradise Lost)


Tuesday, 12th May 2015: Special Guest Lecture by Dr. Chinmayi Nath: "Self-help, self-realisation and self-stabilisation in Spirituality".

Tuesday, 14th April 2015: Sacred Places

What makes a place sacred? We will consider churches, temples, trees, mountains, henges, ... the human mind and heart - what are your ideas? Feel free to bring relevant imagery, artwork, and poetry to share and discuss.
"Your sacred space is where you can find yourself over and over again."
 (~ Joseph Campbell)

Sacred SpaceSacred SpaceSacred Space

Medium: Three dimensional silhouette paper-cut. Cut by hand using a scalpel.

Dimensions: Height approx. 25 cm, depth approx. 20 cm, width approx. 25 cm when opened.

Date: Summer 2007

From imagination.

Please contact Lois to purchase prints, or to commission similar work.

Price: £SOLD. In a private collection in Ipswich, England.


Tuesday, 10th March 2015: Special Talk and Presentation by collage artist Dale Mann: “Eve as Victim, Icon and Superstar”

Tuesday, 10th February 2015: Special Guest Lecture by Caroline Mackenzie, "The Boundaries of the Sacred" - The Image of Woman in Hindu, Christian and Secular (Western) Art.

Tuesday, 13th January 2015: "New Beginnings"

With the start of a new year, we will be discussing the interrelated themes of new beginnings and rebirth, with a particular focus on the symbols that different cultures have chosen to express these ideas, including, but not limited to: The Phoenix, Janus ("January"), the Butterfly, Celtic Knots, Lotus Flowers, and so on.

Phoenix RisingPhoenix RisingMedium: Silhouette paper-cut. Cut by hand using a scalpel.

Dimensions: Approximately A4. 297 x 210 mm

Date: Autumn 2006

From imagination.

The phoenix is the mythical bird that periodically burns itself to death
on its own funeral pyre before rising rejuvenated from the ashes. It may
symbolise the immortal human soul, constantly reborn.

Please contact Lois to purchase prints, or to commission similar work.

Price: SOLD. In a private collection in London, England.



Danald Wilkins(non-registered)
Agree with you that you make it sensible in all the ways.
No comments posted.

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