The All Seasons Altar Frontal for St Mary’s and All Saints Beaconsfield (2017, combined hand and free machine embroidery)
St Mary’s required a set of new altar frontals to replace the existing textiles which had become tired and worn over many years of use. My designs were accepted as they offered a new and unique concept for this ecclesiastical textile, which involved my solving many of the common issues occurring with ceremonial textiles in public uses.
The three embroidered panels forming the design based on the surrounding architecture of the church were individually stretched over wooden boards. They were mounted over a free-hanging altar cloth and attached through the cloth to the solid altar behind. Thus, the panels are detachable, and the cloth can be changed according to the colour of the liturgical season.
The concept allows the embroidery to be displayed at its best as taut mounted pieces, the altar drapes to be cleaned, stored and cared for effectively, and the budget set to provide four frontals instead of just one. The project also involved bringing the congregation and local schools together to add stitches to the piece under Jenny’s tutelage, ensuring a great sense of community involvement, learning and ownership.