A new opportunity for guests is to visit our new Lament sculpture in the walled garden commissioned by Scargill from former community member and sculptor Lizzy Taylor. We asked her a few questions about being on community and the genesis of the sculpture.
Tell us about living on community?
‘Living on community is a special experience that I don’t think you can fully understand unless you’ve experienced it yourself. It was a time for me to grow as a person and learn to be comfortable and have confidence with my decisions…or lack of decisions in life and faith. Being surrounded by such accepting, lovely people who give you the freedom to explore and ask questions and love you for who you are whilst challenging you to do the same for others, loving and accepting others for who they are.
The biggest challenge for me wasn’t living in community itself, but actually working and welcoming guests and letting them share a snippet of community life-feeling safe in community makes you vulnerable to people coming and going as guests. But of course, it comes hand in hand and community life wouldn’t happen like it does without the guests!’
How did you get interested in sculpture?
‘I have always been creative. Since I was very young, I was interested in woodwork and art which led me to do sculpture and then furniture design and craft. Working in 3D comes naturally to me and I’m able to visualise things. Sculpture enables me to be more experimental and work without constraints.’
You’ve done some other work for Scargill?
‘I have changed many of the beds and cleaned a lot of toilets in my time at Scargill! I also had fun carving an owl from a tree that had fallen which you can find on the estate walk. Suz, a previous community member on the Estate team asked me to do it!’
Tell us about this new commission for Scargill ‘Lament’?
‘I was approached to design a lament prayer station and it was suggested to have a small, portable one that could be used in the chapel and provide a safe place for someone to engage with.
When thinking more about the brief, I felt that maybe the Chapel wasn’t the best place for this as personally I don’t find it easy to express difficult emotions in Church spaces. For me, being outside in nature is where I feel closer to God, and it’s somewhere I feel the freedom to feel whatever I feel – positive or negative emotions. The walled garden seemed the perfect safe space for this to be.
The small, portable prayer station soon didn’t seem appropriate for what we were trying to achieve. When faced with grief and sorrow, it doesn’t feel small, and I wanted the sculpture to recognise that. It can feel like you hit a wall…. something that’s impossible to see beyond, something overpowering and bigger than you. The lament sculpture came into sight and it needed to be big!
The following Psalms were mentioned in an early meeting about the idea:
Psalm 22 “My God my God why have you forsaken me?”
Psalm 56 “You have stored up my tears in your bottle and counted each one of them”
Psalm 88 “Darkness is my only friend.”
These have inspired the different aspects that have been incorporated within the sculpture. The large sculpture represents the wall you can feel faced with and the darkness is shown in the scorched surface. It provides a safe place to question and entrust your laments within the holes and cracks of the wall, and the water is to recognise peoples tears and cry over their questions and thoughts.
I hope people find the space that has been created helpful, and although the vision for it came before the pandemic, perhaps the timing of it is especially needed after the challenging year and months everyone has faced.’
What would be your dream as a sculptor?
‘I would love to work full time as an artist/craftswoman. I just love to make beautiful things for others to enjoy.’ We believe Lizzy’s sculpture is a prophetic and timely piece of art that will resonate with many of our friends. We also believe it will help us express both our sorrow and our joy, our tears and our laughter as we meet God in the thin place that is the walled garden.