'Scriptorium' is the Latin name for the place within a monastery where monks copied out sections of the Bible and liturgies to produce books for use by the monastery and Churches. The monks would embellish them with intricate patterns and images to illustrate the words to an illiterate congregation and as a form of meditative worship for the creator and the viewer. We are based on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne where there was a monastery whose scribes are attributed to have created the Lindisfarne Gospels, the works I produce follow the same aim as the monks of past, to further God's Kingdom by using the skills I have to honour Him.
My work comes from many sources, some are inspired by dreams, some from a lot of prayer and meditation, some in a flash, some from conversations and some from reading or listening to music. I often write the prayers and poems first and the inspiration for those come in the same way as for the visual aspects of my work. Like most artists I find inspiration everywhere, there is always something to look at in a new way or words of a prayer or poem which I want to share. The Bible is my root inspiration and I aim to only produce work which either illuminates aspects of the Bible or complements its teaching.
The artwork is scanned and the colours checked for accuracy. The checked file is then printed on a high definition colour laser printer on 300gsm card. Every print is then signed (in pencil as they are not the original artwork) and packaged with some notes about the image.
All designs are available in A4 (210x297mm) and some designs are available as A6 (105x148mm) greetings cards. Some are available as Large Postcards (A5 or 139mmX216mm) and Small Postcards (A6 or 107x139mm).
We have always felt that if God was behind the artwork then it should be made available as widely as possible and overpricing our work would not do that. We recognise that the skills and commitment behind the work should be valued and endeavour to produce the prints at an affordable price. Sometimes I feel I am called to give prayers away and I will produce several thousand freebie mini cards which we distribute at exhibitions and through our shop.
I use all sorts of materials from watercolours to felt and fibre tip pens, pencil crayons to gel pens. I use a .05 fibre pen for much of the fine outlining and love experimenting with anything new that comes onto the market. Over the years I have used quill pens, hair and feather brushes and inks but I find that modern materials give me more flexibility in developing new textures.
Not for mail order as they are difficult to post, however we keep a small number of frames in the shop for visitors to the Island.
An eclectic combination of watercolour paints, pencils, inks and gel pens on A4 (210x 297mm) acid free cartridge paper. Each A4 sized piece takes between 50 and 100 hours to complete, worked on over several weeks or months.
The prints are supplied in sealed, non distorting cellophane bags with straw board stiffener and an explanatory printed sheet on the reverse.
Mary says, “I am always interested to hear people’s suggestions and if I use someone’s idea they will receive the first print, however I rarely sell originals as by selling prints more people can obtain my work and share in the message it carries. I see it as part of my calling to make my art as widely available as possible whilst also being a viable professional artist. I did a commission some years ago and realised (at around 3am in the morning having had everything go wrong with the image that could) that it was not how I wanted to be an artist! I have also always felt that the images I do are God inspired - whenever I have tried to do pieces 'just because I wanted to' they have been awful so I suspect the same would apply with someone elses ideas - except when they are confirming what God has aleady put in my mind to do.”
I produce each original at A4 size. I have always enjoyed working small and attribute much of my style to the doodling I did at school on my notebooks! when I first began developing the Scriptorium style I was working in our Christian resources shop on the Island and it was convenient to be able to easily move it out of the way when dealing with a customer. The pieces take between fifty and a hundred hours to complete even at that small size so I have never dared go larger in case I run out of patience before the end!