Are you near the church, I ask artist Nicola Green on the phone, as I struggle to locate her studio. “Near the church?” she repeats. “We are the church.” And sure enough, a few minutes later I am admiring her work in the nave of St Saviour’s in north London. She rents the space during the week, and tidies her work away each Friday evening so the worshippers have it back for Sunday services.
It’s a serendipitous arrangement: the church’s congregation is smaller than it once was, and a new revenue stream was needed; but also, the cavernous building with its huge echoey interior and constantly changing kaleidoscope of light has brought a new dimension to her work. “It gives you the most incredible headspace,” she says. “Most people only visit a church to pray or to look at an artwork, but when it becomes your working environment it takes on a different perspective.”