"March 2020 changed everything for everyone. Out of the blue, the Corona Virus pandemic arrived and our government asked us to stop what we were doing and Stay Home. My business activities as an artist, exhibiting work and teaching made an emergency stop. As did so many others.
At the beginning of the lock down I had a creative rush, setting up weekly creative prompts for my students. New work was made and new techniques were tried. So many people told me how lucky I was to be an artist and now have the time to explore my creativity. But a few weeks went by, there seemed no end to the rise in the death rate and the novelty of the situation began to tarnish. The creative rush began to ebb away and emotional anxiety began to creep in.
By the middle of May I sensed that the enthusiasm of the students who had join the various support groups I had created, had waned. The comments on my Instagram page about my weekly art prompts, were grateful, but creative energy had started to leave everyone. My emotional energy was also at a low point. For some of us the creative umph had left and guilt about just reading and eating our body weight in home-made baking was beginning to feel all wrong. And yes I had cleaned behind my fridge what was left...?
So I decided to bother a couple of fellow creatives and workshop providers, Louise Asher at Hope & Elvis, Nottingham and Liske Johnson at Littleheath Barn Studios, Bromsgrove to help me get the creativity of people we were in contact with moving again. A plan emerged, we agreed that everyone's experience in lock down would be varied, we were not all necessarily in the same boat, but we were all in the same sea. This global pandemic had affected everyone in one way or another and to different degrees. The people who come to our workshops look for inspiration through printmaking with me or textile techniques with Louise and Liske, we decided to collaborate and create a Quilt that would document individual experiences, thoughts & emotions collectively about our time in lock down.
The plan was to encourage those on our mailing lists to create a small collagraph printed square to be stitched into or just small stitched pieces describing their lock down experience. These small elements would then join together to create a Community Quilt.
The three of us contacted our mailing lists and started to post the idea on our social media at the end of May. A month later I had printed over 200 collagraph plates and plates. We now have over 300 textile squares to make into a quilt.
We intend to make the quilt open ended allowing us to add more squares as they arrive beyond the deadline. Also we want to exhibit the quilt and encourage further additions to the piece as it tours round the country, asking visitors to print/stitch a contribution.
The quilt is a metaphor for how the effects of the quarantine have isolated us, yet we have all been part of it. Making the piece open ended also illustrates that Covid 19 will continue to shape our lives.
Everyone has their isolation story and people can still become part of the bigger picture."
You can contact Sue directly to express your interest in this project.