2020 started with a bang and then the world changed. I am fortunate to have been able to continue making work during this year. This post shares some of the work I’ve created. avenues I’ve explored and mistakes I’ve made during the year. As with previous reviews I’ve posted an image per month.
It’s good to start this review in the company of people! These wonderful folk are amongst the many who made rhubarb lanterns with me for the Rhubarb Shed. This is at Featherstone Library, part of a previous piece I made there with Helen Thomas, for Edgelands Arts, can be seen on the wall above their heads.
The Rhubarb Shed (photograph by Jessica Rowbottom)
It’s hard to imagine now that over 18,000 people came to see this in 7 days in February. This commission, by Wakefield Council, took over 5 months of my life but was worth every moment. A very enjoyable experience working with Chris and Annie (Artist Yoke), Helen Thomas, Duncan Chapman and the team from Wakefield Council.
Lockdown was announced and I quickly gathered things from studio space at The Art House so I could work from home. Although world events were daunting, to say the least, I was determined to carry on creating as much as I could for my own wellbeing. I was also determined to find ways of continuing to work with other people. The last thing I did was put the photographs from Andromeda – 28 splashes on a wall and overlay some string to create musical staves. This generated the music for a tune I could ask others to interpret, should they wish. Thanks to the generosity of some people the project developed over lockdown and the results can be heard here –Canaldream for Tony Wade by Duncan Chapman Andromeda – Matt Knee Andromeda – Marc Coyles Andromeda – Pete Rosser Andromeda – David Hoyle Andromeda – Helen Thomas
I wanted to document Wakefield during lockdown so throughout April and May I would walk every day, observe the changing scenery and paint, from documentation and memories, what I saw. This painting is Tuesday 28th April – From Kirkgate Station looking towards The Hepworth Wakefield and Rutland Mills.
40 paintings were created in total, the final one was painted on Monday 1st June, 10 weeks after the start of Lockdown. This one is Saturday 9th May – Railway Bridge over Doncaster Road. All paintings are in acrylics and are on 20cm x 40cm pieces of cardboard, because that’s the only surface I had available.
All 40 painting can be found here Wakefield during Covid – 19
After Lockdown I could finally paint outside again! I’d been given a watercolour set for my birthday in March and was determined to use it. Luckily for me there is a beautiful garden at The Hepworth Wakefield, a short walk from my house, and I painted there as often as I could throughout June, July and into August. This one is from Thursday 24th June. All the paintings can be found here Hepworth Wakefield Garden
As the first Lockdown ended I was able to finish a project for Edgelands Arts, working with a Wakefield Asian Women’s Group called Action Mix. I delivered silk painting pack to individuals so they could complete images for a wall hanging celebrating their stories and culture. By sharing workings in progress via whatsapp we collectively brought all their contributions together. It was good to work with the group again and complete something I thought we might not get to finish.
Not long after the start of Lockdown I was commissioned by NHS England to create something to champion and celebrate the work undertaken by NHS Acute Learning Disability Liaison Nurses. A dedicated group of Nurses, support staff and I would meet via Microsoft Teams to talk about how best to describe the valuable service they do in helping people with a learning disability access hospital care. This resulted in a project involving paper boats. More about the project can be found here Little Boats (provisional title)
It was good to get out, explore local rivers and streams whilst sailing paper boats, something I intend to do more of.
Like many artists I realised I needed to develop digital skills to navigate the pandemic. Long and enjoyable evenings were spent grappling with a new Ipad Pro whilst learning how to create in the Procreate app.
I used images of shops and building not far from where I lived as inspiration, as I was fascinated by the way the frontages had changed over the years, layering graphics and advertising on top a mixture of some quite grand and some quite rundown buildings.
This one is 57, 59 and 61 Westgate End.
More images can be found here Facades.
I received a grant from Wakefield Council to research and develop a project called The Butterfly Effect. More information about the project can be found here The Butterfly Effect
Much of October was spent looking at different ways of presenting and installing large quantities of paper butterflies. This will, hopefully, lead to a bigger project in 2021.
In November we entered Lockdown number 2.
Also in November I heard that the Wakefield Rhubarb Festival (that the Rhubard Shed was a part of) had won a prestigious tourism award! It was good to be reminded of that project as new restrictions were put in place and there was less daylight to play out in.
I wanted to take advantage of the dark and do something with it.
Using a box of small LED tea lights (left over from the Rhubarb Shed), some simple props and other bits and pieces from the years projects, myself and artist Helen Thomas creates small light based interventions in local parks.
5 pieces were created for this mini project that ended when the second lockdown did. All 5 pieces can be found here Lockdown Lights This is the last one from 1st December