How our members are staying creative
This is a strange time for us all, but here at Waveney & Blyth Arts we’re working hard to keep our members connected and uplifted during isolation. We wanted to share with you what we’ve all been doing to help stay creative while we ride out the pandemic.
Resources from Waveney & Blyth Arts
Creativity in the Time of Corona
Our marketing officer, Hatty Leith, has put together a list of great websites that offer free resources to help keep you entertained while you’re stuck at home. Learn a new skill, play games with the kids or find some mental health support. Have a look and see what inspires you.
Fortnightly Creative Prompts
Our Area Reps are keeping us creative by sharing creative prompts in our newsletter every fortnight. Members and non-members are invited to share with us their outcomes and creative experimentations in response to each of these prompts, to be shared in the following newsletter.
Special Edition Newsletter
Our latest newsletter was a little different due to the lack of events to promote, so instead we’ve used it as a platform to share what our members have been doing at home. If you missed it, you can view it via the link above. If you like it, be sure to sign up to our newsletters by scrolling to the bottom of this page and filling in your email address in the footer.
From our members…
From Hugh Davies
Paperworks opened and then had to close a bookshop and printmaking workshop on the High Street inLowestoft. The shop was opened with a reading of a specially commissioned Poem by Dean Parkin about books and their parts in people’s lives, They have just launched an online ordering system to respond to the current Tier 4 restrictions. Books + Prints
From Andy Maule
Andy Maule shares his newly finished recycled brick garden creation in lockdown.
“I thought you might be interested in the completion (in lockdown) of this long term project. Following my obsession for creative-making the project has involved recycling bricks (from a past building project) and, more notably, moulded bricks rescued from the demolition of Mattishall First School in 2010/11.” Read the full article and see more photos here.
From Trevor Mills
“In some ways it has been nice to slow down and have time to do creative things without feeling guilty about spending time on arts and crafts. I’ve spent time walking at Carlton marshes nature reserve which inspired me to carve these birds from laminated plywood.”
From Connie Flynn
W&BA member Connie reflects on her past work and sees connections with current feelings of being in lockdown.
“As an artist, the time in lockdown isolation could be a time to make new work, that is if we are able to separate our thoughts from the current situation and focus on our practice. It may not be easy as there are many unknowns for the future with regards to the arts, artists and arts organisations. Due to the uncertainty I have used some of the time to reflect on previous projects, exhibitions and work made. The definition of ‘isolation’ is isolating or being isolated. We now know what lockdown isolation means to us through our direct experiences.
While reflecting, I returned to 2015 where I was the Artist in Residence for a month at Sumburgh Lighthouse in Shetland, this residency meant staying at the lighthouse. The textile work made then formed an exhibition titled, ‘Finders Keepers Tales in Textiles!’ which has been touring. One piece which particularly relates to the current time is ‘The Keepers Apron’ a cream cotton apron dyed blue representing the sea, with hand stitched words in contrasting white thread. The apron represents a list of criteria taken from a 1960 Northern Lighthouse Board Job Specification for Lighthouse Keepers, one being ‘able to live in isolation’. The isolating role of a lighthouse keepers in the past was part of a chosen job for a period of time. Just as the keepers were able to live and work in isolation, some of us are now beginning to return to work after lockdown, I am reminded we through circumstance and not choice have experienced our own isolation.”
From our Poets
We’ve received some beautiful poems from a few of our creative members, so we’ve created a poetry page to share these with you. Many thanks to Sean O’Loughlin and Ivor Murrell who have contributed to this page. You can read their poems on the Poetry in Lockdown page.
From Sian O’Keeffe
As our studios were closed to us at Butley Mills Studios, I have produced a number of works from the confines of my home, in the centre of Woodbridge, where the birdsong has been loud and strong. I make work from any materials that come to hand. A shop in the Thoroughfare had thrown out upholstery fabric sample books, for the gleaning of those with an interest. I had with me at home, stainless steel cable ties. Combining the two, I embarked upon a number of site-specific responses to my immediate environment. This is one of the interventions I made with the Lilac tree that grows outside the front of my home, on the street. My palette came from the fabric samples, the metallic cable ties accorded with the overhead telecom wires of the street. More images can be found on my instagram: @sian_okeeffe.
From Stephen Worrall
While clearing our his garden shed, Stephen Worrall has been trying to see ordinary everyday things in a new way. ‘Seen again with new eyes’ is an article he has written about this process, along with some of his sculptural responses as he repurposes found gardening materials. You can see his sculptures and read about it here.
From early April, Gen had planned to be in Italy. When her trip was cancelled she started to create a series of ‘Virus Drawings’ based on works she had seen on previous trips to Italy. You can see all of her images here.
From Meg Amsden
Starring and filmed by otters in the wild triggering trail cameras. Many hours of film clips collected and sorted by the Suffolk Otter Group (U.K), and edited and assembled, with advice from Nicky Rowbottom, by Meg Amsden, with her original drawings and additional sound recordings. In memory of our much missed and admired mentor Richard Woolnough.
You can see another of Meg’s wonderful videos over on our Early Bird Sound Map page where she has recorded an ‘avian opera’ from her bathroom window! Recorded on an H5 recorder with clippy mics hung from the window, and combined with 6 photos shot two days later. Wear headphones if you have them for full effect.
From Connie Flynn
Waveney and Blyth Arts member Connie Flynn who moved to Norfolk just over a month ago has been busy settling in as well as hand stitching in isolation. This work in progress is titled ‘Safe Sewing at Home’. It is part of a larger body of work which she hopes to exhibit in Norfolk at some point in the future.
From Ann Follows
“For exercise and enjoyment, I am walking in the Blyth river path daily. It is only a footpath and field from my house. There is a walk along both sides of the river Blyth from Wenhaston to Blythburgh. It is a wild life delight with otter, hare, curlews, swans, herons all regular sights beyond the seed head tufts of the reeds. I took this photo from the footpath just for you, to show you why Blythburgh Church is known as the ‘Cathedral in the marsh’. Beyond the church, the Blyth river meets the sea in a magnificent estuary.”
From Ian Lomas
“I have been attempting to take a photo showing star trails for a local competition. I have a good camera but had to buy a (cheap from eBay) timer device so that I could take a series of 5 minute exposures.
My first attempt was a disaster, I left the VR (vibration reduction) facility switched on and it just thought the camera was shaking. My second was even worse as I did the novice mistake of leaving the camera lens cap on. The third was OK and the photo scored the highest mark in the competition.”
From Simon Raven
‘A Fable for our Times’ is an alternative take on the story of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden.
“As a W&BA member I’m probably known, if I’m known for anything, as someone who makes odd creations out of the detritus of everyday activity – more ‘play’ than ‘art’. However, in my down-time I’ve always had another life as an occasional writer, although nothing yet for publication. What follows is one such piece from several years ago which I’ve recently revised. I wanted to take this opportunity to put it out there in a public space for friends and others to read and pass upon it their dispassionate judgement.
It was intended to be conversational in style, amusing in tone, and maybe even contain a whiff of profundity. Think of it as a comedic stand-up sketch such as you might listen to on the weekday BBC Radio 4 6.30pm slot. Does it succeed at any level? Is it in bad taste? Did it make you chuckle? Any suggestions as to how the writing might be improved? What do you think? Read the PDF here: Fable for Our Times, and perhaps contact me direct at firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments or advice.”
From Melinda Appleby
“Yesterday I popped out for the first time to my nearest shop – a farm shop. Not the sort of farm shop groaning with 50 different relishes and jams, exotic chocolates and luxury biscuits. But a shed on a small holding where the farmer sells his own home grown fruit and veg, plus some extras he buys in from the wholesalers. There is no calculator in sight and you help yourself to the veg…” Read more of Melinda’s musings on our blog post, Getting Creative: Food for the Senses