The Covid-19 pandemic and resulting UK lock-down meant not only working from home (which I’m used to), but the withdrawal of the wider Art School facilities. Once the university had decided how the teaching would be delivered we settled in to online working. Of course the sense of isolation was acute, and like everyone else my world got smaller and more uncertain.
The emotional effect in the first of weeks of lock-down set us back as we tried to establish a new working practice. My mum, whose stroke in July 2019 had such a massive influence on my project direction, lives alone about 15 miles from me. But she showed great strength and tenacity, embracing her solitude and enjoying time alone. However stoic she was, the very real prospect of losing her once more played on my mind.
I used my sketchbook/reflective to explore how the pandemic made me feel, being able to get it onto paper acted like a placeholder for my feelings so I could move on.
Slowly I redirected my work, accepting that I wouldn’t get my laser cut or engraving through the university. I experimented with other ways to create shadow, for example strong embroidery on net, whilst researching the possibility of using external contractors. Winning the Embroiderers’ Guild Scholarship meant I had the funds to pay someone to do this work for me.
Digital hand-in has been a massive challenge, alongside the fact that all of my year one work is still in the MA studio, awaiting collection. If I don’t get in to collect it soon it will go undigitised. But I have let this go, it is simply beyond my control and I have more pressing worries.
I came out of my undergraduate degree into a recession and no doubt I will survive this one too, I am incredibly privileged in terms of class, race and status. I will work to support other women who may not be so fortunate, am hoping to support a student internships or apprenticeship if I can make this business work.