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The Betchworth Screen - The Wings of Faith

A diaphanous work. - Mel Howse
The Betchworth Screen - Mel Howse
The changing geometry of the location. - Mel Howse
View from the nave. - Mel Howse
A diaphanous work. - Mel Howse
Ascending view of the Betchworth Screen. - Mel Howse
Ascending view of the Betchworth Screen. - Mel Howse
The sword of St Michael. - Mel Howse
Location: St Michael's Church Betchworth Surrey
From the beginning of the project at St Michael’s we aimed to create meaningful and spiritual architectural art that is interactive with the fabric of the ancient building that is its custodian.

The design is formed from low relief and in levels of opacity in glass. This allows for the art to feel visually suspended in the generous space between the bespoke oak doors, and the graceful beamed roof where the glass visually disappears. It is a diaphanous partition.

This is a semi abstract work whose theme is symbolic of St Michael the Archangel. The wings of St Michael are revealed as one approaches the screen.

The only visually static point of the design is St Michael's sword of justice, with a hilt that is not so far from being the Cross. Descending and ascending around the sword are beating wings whose carved feathered forms span out - becoming transformed into a reverberating choir of trumpets. This repetitive musical field is descriptive of the echoing sound of St Michael’s last trumpet. The last trumpet stands tall and proud to the right of the sword.

The rhythmic flow of the etched design chimes with the location of the new choir vestry created by the screen - responding to this area of the church as a musical hub, with the contemporary organ case being another artful installation.

The commission took place over a period of two years, and encompassed an extensive period of design development and sample making.

The installed art of the Betchworth Screen is a contemporary feature with the sensitivity not to overpower the building fabric or the spiritual atmosphere of the Church.
Size: 4m x 4m
Date: April 2016
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