Eight years ago, I decided I was fed up with the cost of decent Christmas cards. I had a Christmas card list with 60 names on it and decent cards were costing at least £1. It was simply too much so I looked at the alternatives; either cut down the list or buy cheap mass-produced meaningless cards with the inevitable Santa/reindeer/Ho,Ho,Ho stuff on them.
The answer, of course, was to produce my own. I am, after all, an artist as well as a writer! It was 2015 and I decided to use as an inspiration a ‘Birds of Freedom’ intervention I masterminded while at Liverpool Hope University 2010 in which pictures of three British birds ‘flew’ all over the world.
Briefly, I obtained permission from a large pub called The Richmond in Liverpool, which had three trees outside to mount pictures of the three birds with an invitation to people to go inside and choose a leaflet with a bird printed on it. The leaflet then invited them to pin it to a tree wherever they lived and then to take a photo and to email it back to us.
The result was spectacular. Emails arrived from New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Toronto, Vancouver, Iceland and many, many places in Europe.
So, for the first four years, a ‘Bird of Freedom’ was depicted in a wintry scene on a Christmas card. The following year depicted the famous Penny Lane and St Barnabas Church where I was a chorister and the final three years, including this one, showed famous Liverpool churches in a snowy landscape.
This Christmas season all eight original paintings that were used to produce the cards go on show at All Hallows Church, Allerton, Liverpool, were I am now a chorister. Below is a list of when the church is open.
Quite apart from my paintings, the historic church is worth a visit. It was built in 1872 by Liverpool ship owner John Bibby in memory of his first wife, at a cost of £20,000 (equivalent to £2 million in 2021. It is a Grade 1 Listed building and is famous for its architecture and stained-glass windows. During the Second World War the windows were removed for safety and replaced by plain glass. Of the 15 windows, 14 were designed by, with some input from William Morris of Arts and Crafts fame.
Saturday, November 26 4.30 p.m – 7.00 pm
Wednesday, November 30 11.30 a.m. – 2.00 pm
Wednesday, December 7 11.30 a.m. – 2.00 pm
Saturday, December 10 10.00 a.m – 4.00 pm
Wednesday, December 14 11.30 a.m. – 2.00 pm
Wednesday, December 21 11.30 a.m. – 2.00 pm
Every Sunday (morning service) 10.00 a.m. – 12 noon
Sunday evening Dec 11 (communion) 6.30 p.m. – 8.00pm
Sunday evening Dec 18 (carol service) 6.30 p.m. – 8.00pm