Water into Wine - Altar Frontal, Epiphany Chapel, Winchester Cathedral - 2020
My design is a symbolic representation of the six jars of water that Jesus turns into the finest of wines. I looked at the profiles of first century water jars to find a shape that would work best on the frontal. You can see the full outline of one of these vessels, to give a centring focus to the design.
The remaining five vessels move across from left to right, with the third one having been tipped forward to pour out the wine - within the circle the miracle is taking place, as the blue-green water transforms into wine as it rushes out towards us.
Amongst the challenges of this project was to find a way to balance the asymmetry of the north end of the chapel, to speak sympathetically to the existing artworks (the windows and the icon) and to create something that could be realised in textile.
You’ll see that the Epiphany window is set to the right of the chapel. By placing the main focus of my design slightly to the left, it helps to balance the asymmetry. By referring to the colours already in the window, including the windows on the west wall, this frontal also has the palette of colours needed to see us through the liturgical year, with red, green and gold all present.
I completed the painted design in the Spring of 2018. I printed this onto silk and made three full copies. The Cathedral Broderers then cut these copies into sections that could be worked on, strengthened, and layered onto the final design. What they achieved is nothing less than miraculous itself. Organzas and beads create movement, sparkle, energy and dynamism. I am so indebted to the way they managed so successfully and patiently to interpret my vision into such a beautiful reality.
I wanted to offer something that could be read easily from the entrance to the chapel as well as reveal more detail when seen up close. and of course the theology was the paramount concern. As the wine pours out, spilling over the edges of every surface, it assures us of God’s generosity and abundance.
information on this work please email Sophie