Consultancy & Design
CONSULTANCY & DESIGN SERVICES
As well as making liturgical art works, Aidan Hart Icons also offers design and consultation services to churches - Greek and Russian Orthodox but also Roman Catholic and Anglican.
Whether a parish is making a new church or remodelling an existing one, it is essential that the design of the interior be informed by a deep understanding of the church’s liturgical life, theology, and tradition, and by working experience of the full range of mediums traditionally used in church art, such as fresco, secco, panel iconography, wood and stone carving, mosaic, furniture design, metalwork, and embroidery.
With over twenty-five year’s experience in creating liturgical arts in all these mediums, Aidan Hart and his team are in a unique position to offer consultation and design services to create a unified and prayerful church interior.
Aidan Hart icons has not only created over 800 icon panels, but also frescoed a number of chapels, designed, made and erected numerous icon screens and altars in both wood and stone, designed large embroideries for Mount Athos, made silver lamps, and created a number of overall schemes for church interiors.
Liturgical worship is a sacred drama that unites all the arts in the love of God. The aim of these arts is to create a symphony in which all the players work together harmoniously. Church design needs understanding of all these liturgical arts. The church’s physical setting - the architecture, icons, wall paintings, mosaics, icon screen, furniture, and lighting – should all reinforce and support the liturgical life that occurs within that church: the chanting, the intoned liturgical texts, the censing, the ritual movements of the clergy and people.
As well having a range of skills within the company – chiefly panel icons painting, fresco, secco and wood and stone carving – we work closely with a range of other highly skilled craftsmen such as silversmiths and cabinetmakers who can execute our designs to the highest standards.
We also work with an architect who has a special interest and experience in church design.
The ideas that guide our consultation and design services are based on the following time-proven principles:
- If the designs are for an existing building, materials are chosen that harmonize with those existing and with the building’s architecture.
- Good quality materials and craftsmanship are always a worthwhile investment. If the budget is limited, there are ways of simplifying without compromising aesthetics and retaining quality of materials and craftsmanship.
- Wherever appropriate, for churches in the West we draw for inspiration on the riches of early western iconography and design, for example Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, Carolingian, early Roman, and Romanesque.
- As much as possible, the cultural riches of the community are reflected in the designs. For example, the carved or painted panels under icons on an icon screen might reflect the numerous cultures represented in a multi-ethnic parish.
- Liturgical art is not an end in itself, but a means of communion with God and the saints in heaven. So the beauty of the designs need to be such a nature as to lead people through the works to the holy persons depicted.
Below is a selection of some of the churches and chapels for which Aidan Hart Icons has acted as consultant and designer, and usually also maker of works:
- The Parish of St Ephraim, Cambridge, 2017 (design folding ironwork icon screen)
- St Chad’s Oratory, Manchester 2017 (advise on decoration of the church, design fresco scheme for the north chapel)
- Private chapel, London, 2015-2016 (advise on iconography, interior design and lighting, design and make three mosaics)
- The Russian Cathedral of the Dormition, London, 2016 (advise on lighting and furnishings for a major renovation, design and have made: a choros for the altar; eight icon cases; brass panels; radiator cover)
- The Russian Orthodox Church of St Nicholas, Amsterdam, 2010(create an overall design, design and make stone icon screen, advise on marbling columns and lighting, design icon thrones)
- St Urban’s Catholic Church, Leeds, 2010, ongoing (design and create secco wall paintings, large crucifix, panel icons for side chapels)
- Chapel of Shrewsbury Schools, Shrewsbury, U.K., 2007 (make icons, paint six frescoes in niches)
- Roman Catholic priest’s private chapel, Leeds, 2005 (icon screen and its icons, tabernacle for reserved sacrament, brass bejewelled seven lamped cross)
- The chapel of The Protecting Veil, Evia, Greece, 2003 (frescoes, stone icon stands, wrought iron icon stands)
- Private chapel for HRH The Prince of Wales, 2004 (fresco apse, numerous panel icons, secco vine border designs)
- The Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Fathers, Shrewsbury, U.K., 1996, 1997 (design and make oak icon screen and all its icons, carve stone altar table, design balustrades, restore medieval door)
- The chapel of The Monastery of Saints Anthony and Cuthbert, Shropshire, U.K., 1996 (conversion from a barn into chapel, frescoes painted, wooden mosaic floor designed and made, oak icon screen and icons, wooden ceiling)
- The Holy Monastery of Iviron, Mount Athos, Greece, 1993-1994 (design and carve casing for the Portaitissa icon, design and make silver lamps, censer boats, reliquaries, design large embroidery surround for the Portaitissa icon)
- The Orthodox Church of the Ascension, Rugby, U.K., 1992 (design and make wooden icon screen, design and make nave/narthex screen, design and make two revolving choir stands)
- St John of Kronstadt Church, Bath, U.K 1984-6, 1992 (icon screen, wooden crosses, furniture, candle stands, reliquaries).