COMMISSION FOR BRAINTREE CREMATORIUM

Many years ago I worked in the office at Portchester Crematorium. A few years later, one of my colleagues  went on to build Crematorias and in 2008 he commissioned me to make  a piece of art for the new build Three Counties Crematorium in Braintree, Essex.

The work would  be positioned on the front of the catafalque, the plinth on which the coffins sits during the service. The purpose of the painting is to give  people attending services a momentary distraction from their place of trauma, albeit  for just a few seconds.

This was to be the first commission that I received where I was  not copying a piece of work and I loved the challenge.  In my research of the area,  I  discovered an association with the Knights Templar and  Sir Thomas Courthald who had  built a  silk factory in the area.

To build up the image I had to have a narrative.   I played with ideas using coloured lines to represent the coloured silks and  I drew small and large circles to represent the round table.  More and more images were drawn up using threads and round rings.

Finally I drew up a picture of a maze, with an entry at the bottom and and exit at the top. I added  lines beneath the maze, on the sides and at the top.

The story is, we come into life alone and leave alone. Some of us leave earlier and some later.   The lines represent the people who are with us at the beginning of our lives, the long lines are the people who have always been with us. The short lines above represent those who came into our lives later and were with us at the end.