Votive offerings in watery places.

I’ve always had an affinity with watery places.   As a child,  who couldn’t resist casting a stone across the water?  I can’t resist it now!  A coin into that lucky fountain?  A soak in the bath.  A christening.  And so on...


Without question,  water is life as we know it.  And without question I understand why someone would offer up their most valued possession to life that is water.  


Photograph by P Wharton.

Intrigued by the prospect of offering more than just a stone from the bank. Or that penny from my pocket,  I set out with a friend on the longest day of the year (he wasn’t the offering so don’t go racing ahead) and two of my little stone artworks entitled Presence Of Their Absence.



Presence Of Their Absence.

We stood by black brook. Took out our stone offerings and broke them with a rock from the bank.  My friend muttered a few personal words to himself before casting  the fragments and rock into the deepest, darkest part of the brook. 


Like so many challenging places, as you get older you begin to wonder if you will ever make it back there again.  And you could say this was a ceremony of closure.   In the hope of not sounding too lame, it was a thank you and farewell to the location for the many great times we and our families had spent there.   And a sense of timeless mortal closure fell upon us.



Photograph by P Wharton.


Then a large rock from the bank selected me.  I picked it up and put it in my backpack. I picked two leaves from an oak tree. Carefully I placed one on its way down the brook, and brought the other home with me.  I cobbled the shadow of this leaf into the rock as it would have me do, (some of the stone was more resistant in parts) with the stem and tip running off the edge of the stone like the leaf adrift in black brook.  


Presence Of Their Absence. 2nd acorn leaf and carved rock from the bank. 


There is poignancy to all this that was far from sad.  A scholarly rite of passage if you like in which everything about you personally has to be just right for it to be truly realised.  


Photograph by P Wharton.


Votive offerings in watery places.  Presence Of Our Absence.  Black brook.  Summer solstice 2022.






Prayers: First series of 6 in which I am personally celebrating the 600th anniversary-Manchester Cathedral. https://www.manchestercathedral.org/about-us/600-anniversary/


This “Calls to prayer” QR code hub/holder was Sparked by Marcia Wall (Canon Precentor Deputy Safeguarding Coordinator of Manchester Cathedral) and her calls for prayer on Twitter during the lockdown covid pandemic. Entitled “Prayers” by Marcia. 


Like so many, I have  found myself with my smartphone in hand quietly wandering around places of worship as if I’m at nothing more than a tourist attraction. And not a prayer in mind. 


QR codes (quick response code) provide quick, easy access to online information through our smartphones and tablets without the usual language barriers. This piece is meant as an engaging QR code holder/hub. Codes fit between the hands. 



Medium/Portland cement





Oculus 2023

This simple, unassuming little form was hand crafted from the remnants of votive and church candles using just a hot spoon, knife and lit candle. Then lost wax cast in solid Sheffield pewter.  


A furtherance of the artwork “Prayers” also by P Wharton. (Entitled “Prayers” by Canon Marcia Wall, Canon Pastor at Manchester Cathedral. 2022).



Oculus was specifically created for The Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts (ITIA) University of St Andrews by P Wharton. A sponsored Student Award Prize since 2019. P. W 


(2019) Cocoon.

(2020) Hear more of what you see.

(2021) Living water.

(2022) Icarus.

(2023) Oculus.

Each award piece is an iteration

of  Wharton’s most recent works  

at that time.


Votive/from A Series of antiquity. 


Medium/Portland cement