Janice Emmott and Jane Furst

Jane Furst and Janice Emmott

Photos/film: Ben Sad  

Blacksmith: Andrew Lindsay            

Installation: Steve and Theo Driver


‘Niches’ exhibition of sacred art took place at the beautiful medieval church of St Mary’s at  Burham, Kent, in October with the art works nestled in the niches in the church and hung from its wooden ceiling beams.  We are delighted to be able to bring this exhibition to  you  online at the invitation of the Hazelnut Press. 

Janice and Jane at St Mary’s church

The exhibition is made up of paintings and sculptured crowns by Jane Furst,  sculpted vessels by Janice Emmott, wrought ironwork by blacksmith Andrew Lindsay, and Ben Sad’s beautiful photography.  A short film by Ben Sad about the installation of the exhibition in St Mary’s church, and an interview with Jane Furst, will follow.

Jane Furst, Crown for Virgin, Oct 2020               

Janice Emmott, Vessel, Oct 2020

Jane Furst, Thorn, October 2020

Niches Crown of Thorns  

The crucifixion scene below, which was painted by an anonymous artist at the very beginning of the Renaissance, inspired my small paintings.    It is full of light, feeling and colour  and could be seen as expressionist  (for those interested in art history, this work prefigures Masaccio’s fresco, in a Florentine church, of the expulsion from the garden of Eden.  The figures also suggest a Byzantine influence, and it has been said  that Christ’s intense expression and the 3D stylised cross echo the French Gothic style).   

In my small paintings shown here, I have brought to this same crucifixion scene an expressive contemporary feel, integrating  traditional and  abstracted elements and a similar palette of luminous colours.   My series of paintings focuses on bodily details of the crucifixion.  Together with the crowns of thorns and the formidable nails made by blacksmith Andrew Linsday, I have  aimed to convey the suffering of the crucifixion, and at the same time, its transcendence.

St Mary’s church Burham has inspired me to make the various crowns of thorns to hang from the beams.   I began this three dimensional work at Easter 2020.    The colours, such as the gold leaf, have symbolic meaning, but these images and symbols are open to your own interpretation.


Jane Furst  October 2020


Niches Vesica Piscis

The vesica piscis, a pointed oval, is an ancient symbol with many meanings.    In sacred traditions it often symbolises a bridge between divine and earthly realms.  In the Christian tradition, Christ is often depicted in a halo-like vesica - incarnated, yet transcending earthly humanity.

The classic church arch is based on the vesica piscis.   It is the starting point for “sacred geometry” –   harmonious spatial relationships reflecting growth patterns in life according to cosmic laws.   

In nature, this abundant form often has a protective, growth enhancing purpose.  Buds and seed pods are examples, and are the inspiration for the sculpted vesical forms in this exhibition.  They are made of papier-mache, a simple technique many of us have experienced at primary school.     They have been tapered off at the top to create vessels enclosing a light.   Their meanings  are open to your own interpretation.

                                                                                         Janice Emmott, October 2020

Cosmos, Hildegard of Bingen 12th Century

Process of Creation, Janice Emmott 2019

St Mary’s Church

Photos: Ben Sad

©The Hazelnut Press, 2020, Heather Haythornthwaite, info@hazelnut-press.com, +44(0)7702 269972