Life in Lockdown

Part 1: Lockdown Journal 

This piece is a stitched live blog in response to the First Covid-19 Lockdown measures in the UK. Each section, piece of media or line drawing was completed in real time, on the day it was experienced. Using quick methods of hand stitching to be able to record the events, I spent a number of hours each day  maintaining activity tallies, a mood tracker and media record, as well as stitching soundbites, interesting images and key events as they happened. 

Lockdown Journal Quilt; 2020

Mixed Media Textiles

This is a record of my experience of the  first UK Lockdown due to Covid-19. Recording daily my emotional state, activities and media consumed throughout the 10 week period from 24th March to 31st May, and completed solely within that time. As well as records of my personal activities, this collaged archive also includes soundbites from the daily press briefings, images of the key figures in the news and newspaper headlines.

A personal testimony that reflects the unprecedented disruption to life caused by the restrictions. Although my experiences are unique, there will be elements that resonate universally or specifically to people who shared my viewing habits, watched the daily briefings, or lived locally.

This piece was created through a personal need to document events as the pandemic unfolded, the feeling of being part of an historic experience compelled me to record and create in direct response. A contemporary account of how the pandemic permeated our lives, it is a time capsule of a world moving at speed, changing in unprecedented ways with every new lockdown measure and government announcement. Many of the written elements became outdated within a week of their addition. It proved to be cathartic and calming experience, helping me to process the chaotic and uncertain new world through impartial observation and detached data gathering.

I am interested in the unintentional subtext arising from factual reportage. Despite attempts to act purely as a camera to events, breaking my experience down into empirical data, the outcome is prejudiced by my world view, my news sources, employment status, relationships, and life experience. What I have chosen to include, and what to leave out, has a separate narrative. Further subtext emerges through compositional and contextual decisions. A non-chronological report, accidental themes develop though placement of elements, with groups of unrelated statements given power by combination.

A continuation of the homecraft tradition of creating quilts from found textiles (as well as practical issues such as the lockdown restrictions and delays in shipping) the piece is made mainly from recycled household fabrics.  The background is a Dorma sheet and the appliqued fabric is made from scraps of old clothing, bed linen and vintage linen in patriotic colours.

Designed organically, the piece evolved in response to the elements I created daily.  At the outset I had no plan for composition or content but responded to events as they happened, adding each new section where it seemed appropriate, building from the background base.

When recording my experiences truth and accuracy were the primary aim, with aesthetics a secondary consideration.  The daily briefings, heavy on data, became a template for the numeric, infographic recording, reflecting the aesthetics of the crisis.  As well as traditional textile techniques, I have borrowed from journaling and mixed media and commercial art, including sequential photography, illustration, and urban signage.

Part 2: Functions of My Flat

In Summer 2020, The Hotwalls Studios were granted Emergency Funding from Arts Council England, to fund  the Pause, Reflect, Create project. As a member of the studios I was commissioned to make artwork in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. These works were exhibited in the Round Tower, Portsmouth and the artworks are now part of the Covid Collection at Portsmouth City Museum and Art Gallery.

Title: Functions of My Flat During Lockdown

Mixed Media Textiles

This piece is focused on the changing role of the home in our daily lives due to the  lockdown restrictions, and the additional functions each part has had to fulfil. It is a personal reflection on the way my relationship with my home has changed throughout the Covid pandemic, using real events, data, anecdotal details and architectural plans of the layout of my flat. 

I have used found materials such as household fabrics, vintage linen and wool felt, because they were available in my house (as access to fabric shops was limited). The colours are patriotic red, white and blues. 

This piece is part of the Portsmouth Museum collection.