Linda Baines had been asked to come up with an art activity that the Spouses could do together. In order to help her thinking she had been looking at the ‘I ams’ from John’s Gospel which were to be the basis of the Bible studies. But her holiday in Italy with her husband, Nick Baines who is the Bishop of Croydon in South London, England, brought the vines to life for her and so the idea of the vine activity for the spouses was born. Linda worked on the project with Rosemary Butler, Rebecca Cotterill and many others. Together they developed the idea and collected the materials that would be used and set it up when they arrived.
Linda made the structure for the vine which she brought to the Conference and erected in the Spouses venue and each spouse was asked to make a leaf or leaves to add to the frame throughout the Conference.
Linda had been asked to help with the art project for the spouses because she has recently finished a degree in Art for Public Space. She works part time as a health visitor in London and spends other time on her art projects and has undertaken a couple of such projects in her home diocese.
This is, she says, a ‘big project’ as it is something that everyone can do in one way or another and all the contributions become a whole.
Each of the tables in the Spouses venue were given a box of materials so that the people on the table could choose the materials that they wished to use for their leaf. Linda said that she had been ‘amazed at the difference in what each person had made’.
Linda speaks of this as ‘a different way of communicating’ and the activity of leaf making gave the spouses something to do whilst sharing stories from back home. Some came back and sat all afternoon on the first day that the vine was introduced and in that way Linda says that ‘the activity has met all my expectations’.
‘The process and not the product is what is important’ says Linda, but the vine, which is made from all recycled materials, is a beautiful focal point within the Spouses venue.
‘It will live on in people’s memory,’ Linda says. But, just in case they want a more tangible reminder, the vine will be photographed and made into a book mark – which will also contain the Spouses conference prayer, written by Rev. Rose Hudson Wilkins. Each spouse will be given one to take home from the Conference to remind them of the spouses whom they have met and shared with during their time in Canterbury.