Title: Life in Lockdown
Mixed Media Textiles
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.
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 Many of the written elements became outdated within a week of their addition.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.
This piece is held by the Portsmouth Museum and Art Gallery.