Goddess Conference altar panels

Painting 'Sun Lover'Sometimes in life opportunities come your way which are so exciting that the chance of doing them, however challenging, is too enticing to resist! Well this was one of those!

Way back at the end of last year I received an email from Marion and Katinka who have taken over the creating of the Glastonbury Goddess conference. Here is a little section from it…. 

‘Katinka and I would like to ask you for something big , which is, if you would consider designing and backdrop for the main altar.
It will be 5 panels, depicting Moon Maiden,  Sun Lover,  Earth Mother, Star Queen, Otherworld Crone… which we can switch around depending on the year.
It is a big thing and if you feel a yes, it would be good to meet up to talk about it more.’ 
What they didn’t mention in the email was the actual size of the panels…each one is 5 metres high!!!! Although of course I knew they were very big!!!!
My reaction went something like this….

Ooooooo wow!!!!!  …..then oh my goodness they’re HUGE!!!!……then oh I would LOVE to do it!!!!!……then eeeeck will I find enough time……and then….what an honour that you have asked me!!!!  Yes I would love to do them…thank you!

So, as I say,  this all happened way back in December 2017….and Winter Solstice came and went and I was very involved in other commissioned paintings in the early part of the year…..Imbolc came and went and Brigid planted a few ideas for the creation of the panels into my head and I made a few little sketches. Spring Equinox came and went…..and every so often a little pang of panic would go through me when I thought of how much work and time would be needed to create the panels…..Beltane came and went and off we went to America for three weeks…. So now it was the end of May and I sat down with the calendar and counted the number of weeks till the conference (at the end of July) Aaaaaargh!!!! help! Oh my goodness why had I left it so late to start work?!!!! So with no more delay, preliminary sketches done I set to work!!!roughs

And wow did I work! First I had to prepare the fabric panels….finishing the edges and creating loops for dowels top and bottom. The lengths were longer than my sitting room so the laying out and measuring was quite a challenge!

The next stage was projecting the drawings onto the panels. I had to do this in sections again and its surprizing how the smallest movement of the projector will make a big movement on the panel. For instance my husband (who isn’t a heavy man!) was standing next to the projector as I was drawing out the image and then he went away and I continued to draw only to find that there was a 5cm difference and none of the lines matched up! It was a bit like playing that consequences game where one person draws a head and folds over the paper and passes it on to the next person who draws a body etc and then you unfold the paper at the end and you have a really strange mismatching, oddly proportioned funny figure! I was praying that wouldn’t happen to my paintings!!!

Drawings on the fabric panels done (hopefully in proportion!)…it was on to the painting part! Hooray!

The first panel I laid out on the floor of my studio and began painting it there…but ouch! in just half a day of painting my knees were shouting at me…there was no way I was going to be able to create all five panel like that! (all the miles of training for the London marathon several years ago took their toll on my knees!!!) A solution had to be found! In the end I tied a huge sheet of insulation board (left over from the building of my studio) onto my drawing board. It worked perfectly! Here you can see how it looked!

I bought lots of pots to mix the paints (my normal mixing palette was not big enough at all!) I couldn’t believe how much paint I got through! The fabric just soaked it up!

Hours, days and weeks passed…I burnt the midnight oil….I was completely immersed in the process….being absorbed by the different energies of each Goddess as they emerged! It was a very powerful experience………rolling from elation to exhaustion and back again!

Until finally at last, all five Goddesses were complete! Hooray!

But as yet I had not actually seen them properly hung.

And then the big day arrived! The creating of the Moon Maiden temple in the town hall for the Glastonbury Goddess Temple. I have to say I was very anxious! But all went well.

The whole town hall was transformed from an everyday space to a beautiful temple in a matter of hours…quite magical! There are lots of wonderful helpers (called Melissas) who help with the creating of the beautiful spaces for the conference. It really was like watching a bee colony at work all busily buzzing around….well done all!

The banners that I had created were hung at the back of the stage behind the main altar. The team of guys responsible for this task had to climb ridiculously tall ladders, they really worked their magic finding solutions for any and every difficulty. The hanging of these huge banners is no easy task!

AltarAfter a day’s hard work the transformation was complete and the Moon Maiden temple was birthed!Moon Maiden with altar38003644_10214356945030211_6998134628800266240_o

I am really happy with the way the panels look! They have a strong powerful presence.

This whole project has been a real challenge for me, (taking me right out of my comfort zone!) but so very rewarding as well! I feel very blessed to have had this opportunity.

I really hope that the panels will enrich peoples’ time at the conference, this year and for years to come and that you have enjoyed reading about the process of their creation!

The conference runs till 5th August….with talks, workshops, ceremonies and exhibitions. Here is a link to the website for more info. https://goddessconference.com/