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St David Mosaic
I was invited to create this very special mosaic triptych for the Monmouth School chapel in the three lights of a former window. The mosaic features St David, the patron saint of Wales, surrounded by the local hills of the Sugar Loaf and the Skirrid. Twelve fish swim in a stream of water as it flows through the landscape and a dove is shown flying serenely above the saint's head, signifying the presence of the Holy Spirit as St David blesses those who look towards him. The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, came to bless the mosaic on 11th March 2008. He said the following about the addition of the triptych to the artwork of Monmouth School Chapel:
"... And now Dee Hardwicke’s magnificent mosaic joins the ensemble, with its subtly textured surface and sweep of luminous colours to provide what feels almost like another window in the building – a window on to the life of Wales’ greatest saint and on to a landscape illuminated by his memory."
The crucifix mosaic was commissioned to hang above the vestments in St Teilo's Church in Newport and a second crucifix hangs in Lambeth Palace. Both are made using a specially prepared blue pigment and eighteen carat gold lustre.
I have created a unique way of making mosaics that encompasses my training and love for both painting and sculpture. I begin each commission in my sketchbook and, when designing a mosaic, consider the cuts of each piece right from the initial stages of the design. Each tiny piece of the mosaic is cut by hand from wet, rolled out clay. I then paint with specially mixed ceramic slips and the pieces are glazed and fired, up to three times. Eighteen carat gold lustre is used in selected areas of the mosaic. The process is an intense but fascinating one and creates mosaics that have both an intimate and jewel-like quality.
I was delighted to be commissioned by Lambeth Palace in 2009, 2011 and 2013 to make a series of commemorative mosaic and tile plaques for the Michael Ramsey Prize. The Award, which is sponsored by the Lambeth Fund and administered by SPCK, was inaugurated by the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Williams to encourage the most promising contemporary theological writing and to identify it for a wider Christian readership. The biennial prize commemorates Dr Ramsey, who was Archbishop of Canterbury 1961-1974, and his commitment to increasing the breadth of theological understanding among the Christian and non-Christian population at large.