Richard Murray writes:
The inspiration behind creating a representation of an angel out of tea bags has a number of dimensions. All Saints, Whiterashes is an EcoCongregation and we decided to use recycled tea bags in an imaginative way to raise awareness about recycling things we so easily discard, but also to encourage some reflection on the production process and the people involved in the supply chain. At the same time, we were asked to take part in a Scottish Civic Trust Doors Open Day project, as we are a listed building because of the work of a famous church architect and designer, the Aberdeen-born Sir Ninian Comper. He designed our stained glass windows and the altarpiece. This led us to commission a Banffshire artist and sculptor Alison Simpson, who has a fine arts degree from Edinburgh University and one of only a handful of artists who work with paper, to produce a contemporary piece of church art pointing us to God’s grace and beauty, following Comper’s example. And lastly, we had the idea that, as part of our culture, the offer of a cup of tea to a friend or stranger, is a sign of welcome. So the vestry chose Embrace Middle East as the charity we shall support this year, because of their work with Syrian refugees in particular and we hope to raise funds for them when our church is open on 17th September.
When doing her master’s degree Alison took a special interest in church art and vestments, so the angel is ‘dressed’ like a deacon. Alison has used the tea bags not only as pulp but has laminated tea bags into the paper ‘exoskeleton’, which is attached to an ‘armature’ (a metal frame) to create a ‘luminarium’ using LED lighting. We have had to learn a whole new language! When we made an appeal for tea bags, churches from Shetland to Ballater responded. We lost count after 10,000!