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Ely Catherdral

CREATIVE COVID
A COLLECTION OF LOCKDOWN ART WORK FROM THE LOCAL COMMUNITY

Calling all local residents! When the time is right we would like to put on an exhibition of art work done by you or your children during lockdown. For more information please contact gro/lardehtacyle//remlap/j

Gail Stephens

I am a physiotherapist and work locally in the NHS. I have always enjoyed a variety of creative activities and in recent years have turned more and more to art - life drawing, acrylic and oil painting. Playing with colour and mark making is extremely therapeutic and there is plenty of science to support that statement. Through the COVID-19 lockdown creative activities have continued as time and energy allowed. At one point the stress and demands of work outweighed opportunity to paint. Crisis hit and I saught refuge in creating art to recover. Being creative is powerful and the brain's ability to restore is immense - my heart sings when I have a paintbrush in my hand

Lisa Langley

Chainsaw carving is my hobby and escapism. Before lockdown any spare time I had you would find me with a chainsaw in my hand. I have always had a passion for art but find carving in wood gives me the freedom to bring anything I can imagin to life.
During lockdown it has become more important as it has helped me escape the world, once the headset is on and the saw is running nothing else matters. It takes me away from the madness of the world blocking out everything going on around me. Watching the carvings come to life also provides a sense of achievement and pride that lifts any mood I may have been in.
My inspiration comes from different sources which can be the shape of the wood, my childhood and nature. I like a challenge so do not often create the same thing twice unless I think I can improve on it.

Sarah Ruff

"Someone in the road thought of forming a group to support people who might need shopping or medicines - whatever - during the lockdown, and it was such a friendly atmosphere clapping the carers on a Thursday evening so I thought this was something I could do to symbolise the group.

I decided to put the house number of anyone who joined plus a few images of what was happening with the neighbours. I like to produce art that is useful and everyone needs a t-towel sometime.

I love screen printing and although it took a long time to produce 22 t- towels, (each colour is individually hand printed by me, left to dry and then the next colour can go on), once I get an idea I really enjoy working to get the finished result."

June Massey

I contracted the virus in the first week of lockdown and it took a good five weeks for me to get my energy levels anywhere near their normal levels! Although I was able to continue with my teaching and trusteeroles and some volunteering remotely, all of my craft fairs and workshops had been cancelled and the post viral tiredness had put a dent in my creativity! I found a rainbow stick that I had made last year and put one in my front window at the start of lockdown. It cheered me up to look at every morning so I decided to make some more. The 'rainbow collection' started to grow, firstly with a rainbow arc that could be put in the window or have a candle behind it. One of the many beautiful aspects of glass is the reflection that you get on a wall or a windowsill as the light shines through the glass; the reflections from this piece were particularly stunning! I made dishes, hanging sticks, candle holders and greetings cards. (which have detachable pieces of glass in them). I was delighted that some of the big arcs were being bought and sent as presents to people who were separated. As some people are unable to buy greetings cards, I wrote messages and sent them on their behalf. One was sent to two NHS workers in Dorset on behalf of their relatives in Singapore! I am hoping that my glass makes the recipients smile as much as I do when I am making them!

Dolly Carter

Hi My name is Dolly Carter and I love colour. I live in Soham with my husband. Our four grown up children have left home but normally we still see them quite often. We have three Grandchildren who we normally see every week and so are really missing them. Lock down has been hard from the point of missing family and friends, but the time spent with my husband has been really good.
I have really also enjoyed having time for my hobbies. Cutting and creating hanging decorations from coloured glass gives me great pleasure. Thinking about nature or personalities if making for a particular person. Also weaving and other creative crafts cheer me up and keep me going. I have received lovely colourful pictures from my Grandson which has helped cheer me in sad moments. Looking at crafts and art work that others have made during lockdown has been really enjoyable and inspiring

Mary Stevens

I've always taken inspiration for my art from the natural world around me- particularly my garden - and lockdown has given me more time to really appreciateand explore this further in my textile work. I've always wanted to complete more 3d embroidery work and have recently had the time to finish a textile sculpture of a climbing plant in the garden called a campsis. The other major inspiration for my work is the Cathedral and I have been working on a green man panel, dying felt and adding layers of machine and hand embroidery. SimilarlyI have been able to complete a major project again using hand dyed felt machine and hand embroidery of a large panel of the cathedral priors door Lockdown has allowed me to really take time over my art- I have always found sewing meditative and when so many other activities have been curtailed, this has been a great joy. Not only is it physically mindful, but it also gives me time to switch off and disengage from the worries of current affairs.

Molly Dyson

Maybe I am a bit of a cheat in that I have made art of one sort or another all my life!! However, in these days of uncertainty and anxiety creating images has become a more important part of my life. I have found that there is a sort of consolation from withdrawing from the awfulness of it all to make something that gives me pleasure.

Liz Wright

My children have always enjoyed art and crafts but outside of lockdown my involvement was limited to getting out the supplies and invariably cleaning up after them due to lack of time and also confidence in my own art abilities (stick men being the limit to my skills!) To give us a focus during half-term, I organised a virtual round the world trip for us all, and with each country we learned about a different artist or regional art style and then had a go ourselves. This isn't something I ever would have found the time to do outside of lockdown, but I realised how much fun we had being creative together, and the mental health benefits of setting aside time to mess about with paint and paper. With a creative task to focus on, I also found that the kids talked freely about how they were feeling and what they were missing from their normal lives, in a way that they hadn't in our normal day to day conversations.

We have enjoyed it so much it is now a firm part of our weekly routine; 'Arty Fridays' are set aside each week to try new art projects and techniques together and we proudly share our work on our family photo stream. My skills are definitely improving, and I've learned that what I am always telling the kids IS true - don't be afraid to try!

Kate Amann

I am a keyworker with two children. During Covid 19 the demands of juggling the home learning for my eldest child, entertaining my toddler and working from home have at times been rather overwhelming. Some days feeling a breeze and others which have left me questioning my abilities in all areas of life. When such days have happened, the best way I have found to readjust and refuel has been to get out into nature. Taking my trusty camera and capturing a moment in time. The sense of calm in the natural environment always provides the boost needed to refresh my outlook and perspective. Alongside the opportunity to take snaps of some magical moments.

Ken Murray

As an artist I was inspired by the increased feeling of community and indeed unity brought about through the pandemic and subsequent nationwide lockdown. Initially it was the simple acts of kindness, people singing on balconies, the importance of our NHS and keyworkers, volunteers, the housing of the homeless, Special individuals such as Retired soldier Captain Tom Moore, who raised phenomenal amounts of money for the health service, The artist Tom Croft,whose site #portraitsfornhsheroes, encouraged artists from across the UK to provide free portraits for the NHS and keyworkers, to personalities such as a hero of mine - Grayson Perry, whose inclusive television Art club was inspiring and entertaining.

I was also drawn to explore the idea of confinement and containment, this made me think of the containers that carry resources around the planet, the vehicles of keyworkers, such as paramedics, Bus drivers, refuse collectors and white van drivers. This led on to thoughts of ventilators and ultimately coffins for those who sadly died before their time

Rachael Starling

I have always enjoyed craft projects and working from home during lockdown gave me so much more free time to try new things as I no longer had my daily commute to London. I was looking for new things to try when I stumbled across other people's needle felting work online. After being inspired by the work I had seen online and with it being Easter and the start of spring at the time I decided to make the blossom eggs. Making the blossom eggs was fun and not only did it give me something to look forward to in the evenings, but it also helped me separate my workday from my downtime.

Julieanne

Lockdown Cloth I
Just before the lockdown, I found in my cupboard a length of natural linen fabric. It was unblemished. I thought of this as the air around us and wanted to mark it so it looked like a black cloud, the virus coming towards us. So using black drawing ink, and a Chinese calligraphy brush I made a swirling mark across the surface. Last year, I reread Homer's Odyssey, before that Margaret Atwood's The Penelopiad, the cloth brought this story to mind, how Penelope, Odysseus's wife remained shut away in her room for years, awaiting the return of her husband, weaving by day, unravelling the tapestry by night. So my waiting for the easing of lockdown involved unravelling the edges of my cloth and weaving the removed threads back into the body of the cloth slowly obliterating the black cloud at the centre which was very satisfying.

Lockdown Cloth II
I used the same linen cloth as in Lockdown cloth I. This was a lighter, more joyful piece. I darned into the surface using some found fibres, some of which were from a piece of old rope found at the edge of a footpath on one of our daily walks. Some of my threads I had eco-dyed using plant materials from my garden as l have spent a lot of time there. As well as darning, I added some small items I found whilst out walking the footpaths of Littleport. I found the repetition of movements whilst stitching this very calming and freed my mind to reflect on the simple pleasures of things around me.

Rev'd Dr Jenny Gage

I learnt to knit and crochet with my mother, and took them up again when my grandchildren started to arrive, so when lockdown loomed I decided to start a project to occupy me during the evenings. I had wool left over from grandchildren knitting and started crocheting granny squares, without a clear idea of what I'd do with them. I eliminated one ball of wool because it didn't fit into any kind of colour scheme, and thought maybe the rest might make a poncho. Gradually the squares accumulated. They were easy to crochet while watching TV, and didn't need much conscious focus, which, given that I was alternating between cooking competitions (distraction) and the News (aaargh!), was exactly what I needed. When I had enough, I crocheted them together. However, it doesn't fit all that well, and I've found what I think will be a better way of putting them together, so maybe I'll just take the squares apart and carry on ... I found the rhythm of crocheting stilled my mind, helping me to let go of the day's problems, and to remember that 'this too will pass'.

Andrew Carruth

Painting gives me an escape from everyday life and during lockdown I have taken my inspiration from walking around Ely especially the cathedral and riverside. This has given me lots of amazing views and pictures to paint and the colours used reflect my moods during lockdown. I feel so lucky to have such a fantastic piece of architecture nearby and the cathedral often becomes the subject of my paintings. I painted this particular painting after spending time watching the amazing Peregrine Falcons Living at the cathedral, flying and hunting around the architecture.

Natasha Alker

At the beginning of the year I started a 'sketch a day' challenge as although I have a creative job which I love, I hadn't drawn or painted in a long time. When I first started I was expecting to quickly run out of subjects to draw, however since March it hasn't been an issue! Sketching daily in 2020 has become more meaningful and importantthan I ever expected. It's given me a sense of purpose, and a way to both capture and escape the ever changing world around me. During lockdown I've been working from home, along with my husband. This has given me additional time to learn new digital art skills which have allowed me to develop my sketches further. I'd like to share the results with you. It's great to see everyone's work and be part of something even when apart.

Janet Fairweather

Since moving to Ely in 1993 I have always lived a fairly reclusive life, but the 'lockdown' meant that as a 74-year-old, I was obliged to retreat further into solitude. All of a sudden I was deprived of the freedom to visit friends in their homes or invite them to mine and simultaneously I felt cast loose from all the main frameworks that had been giving regular structure to my life: my attendance at the early morning Communion at the Cathedral on weekdays, my responsibilities as Organist and Chapel Warden at St Peter's Church on Sundays, my membership of various societies in Ely, my weekly visits to the Cambridge University Library, and my monthly participation in a Cambridge-based group for adult amateur pianists. Somehow I needed to devise alternative ways of ordering my life, and the habit that I had recently adopted of sometimes turning part of my kitchen into an artist's studio in the afternoon, provided me with the beginnings of one such new, alternative structure, ready-made. Purchasing an additional canvas was my very last act in the High Street before Ely's allegedly 'inessential' shops were compulsorily shut. This year's set of three oil-paintings of riverside scenes close to my home owed their initial inspiration to a neighbour who, back in January, had suggested that I might attempt to paint a picture of 'the light on the tree' outside her house, meaning the weeping willow tree that stands on Annesdale Quay. At first I was perplexed as to how to approach this subject, as the tree, though beautiful enough in itself, spends most of its time flanked on two sides by an array of parked cars and vans, so I was relieved when, subsequently, my neighbour rephrased her suggested picture-title as 'the light on the trees'. So it was that I felt suddenly at liberty to start work first on a picture recalling an extraordinary sight which I had seen and photographed in January from Annesdale Quay: the first full moon of the year rising above the river at about 4.30 in the afternoon. Later, I moved on to a second picture: my first ever attempt to paint the amazing, ever-variable river-view seen from my upstairs study window, this time featuring the light of the evening sun threatened by the approach of a storm-cloud, with sea-birds whirling around excitedly and riverside anglers homeward bound. Glimpses of the willow tree on Annesdale Quay are seen in both these pictures, but it was only after I had almost finished work on them that, again with the aid of recent photographs, I at last found a way of composing a picture on the subject originally proposed to me, with the tree appearing almost centre-stage, in the full light of a sunny day. In the foreground are the ramparts and railings of the Cutter Inn beside striking shadows on the riverside footpath.

Emma Kajiyama

I started upcycling jackets after I had finished an environmental degree. I became very aware of the effect fast fashion was having on the planet and I wanted to do my part to help highlight the 'slow fashion' movement. I buy denim jackets from charity shops and from online second-hand shops. I use vintage Japanese textiles and hand-sew the pieces on. My mother (a textile artist) had collected these fabrics when she lived in Japan in the 1980's. During the lockdown, I turned to upcycling as a way to reduce my anxieties about the pandemic - I find that wholly immersing myself into a creative project using my hands is very therapeutic! It also helped to pass the time as I was mostly alone with my cat, whilst my partner carried on working as an essential worker. I chose this particular piece of spring-like fabric as it was the middle of April when I began the jacket - a reminder that nature carries on regardless.

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Gail Stephens Enlarge

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Lisa Langley Enlarge

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Sarah Ruff Enlarge

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June Massey Enlarge

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Dolly Carter Enlarge

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Mary Stevens Enlarge

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Molly Dyson Enlarge

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Liz Wright Enlarge

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Kate Amann Enlarge

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Ken Murray Enlarge

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Rachael Starling Enlarge

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Julieanne Enlarge

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Rev'd Dr Jenny Gage Enlarge

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Andrew Carruth Enlarge

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Natasha Alker Enlarge

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Janet Fairweather Enlarge

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Emma Kajiyama Enlarge