The lockdown experience has reignited my creativity. Over the past few years my life has taken a very different path, one that has led away from my previously very creative job as deputy head of Drama and has instead led towards starting a new family and creating a new life in Cornwall. I now have two beautiful little boys: Woody aged 2yrs old and Ted 4months old.
I read an article in the early stages of lockdown that suggested the idea that some children will perhaps look back on this experience as one of their favourite childhood memories. This became my aim. I have been determined to make special memories despite the global pandemic and have made huge efforts to enjoy these precious years with the boys. Creativity has had to play a big part in achieving this, particularly as we live in a two bedroom flat with no outdoor space.
The spark that reignited my creativity came whilst taking part in the online community art group; ‘Creation Generation’ created and led by Natasha Rand. I love the way that the tasks are separated into difficulty levels, which make them feel really accessible and achievable, meaning that Woody can get stuck in too. Rather than it imposing additional time in an already manically busy day, instead it focuses us to enjoy quality time together.
Collaborating with Woody has been a lot of fun and we have completed most of the tasks together, helping to bring focus to our days. Most of our artworks have ended up being displayed on our walls, which has not only made my little boy extremely proud of his achievements but has also brightened our living space.
In the project “Colours of the World” Natasha highlighted the role colour can play in lifting our mood, particularly important in these uncertain times. The easy level aspect of the task was to create a colour wheel using objects from inside the house. My husband Steve got involved too and we used it as the morning’s activity that day – it was a fun filled, high-speed colour treasure hunt. We laughed a lot and I was really pleased with the photo of our collaborative effort.
Being a part of this group has highlighted the important role that art and creativity play towards maintaining positive well-being which has been echoed by many others over social media since the beginning of the pandemic. With this in mind I have tried to allow myself some ‘me’ time, even if only for a small window when it’s possible, often very late at night.
Inspired by this task I decided to create a picture based on the first image that popped into my head when first reading the title; a bee pollenating a flower who’s petals were made up of flags of the world. Various recent experiences led to this idea; during lockdown we have accompanied Steve during his essential work checking livestock on the sites that he manages as a Lead Ranger for the National Trust. He’s doing a lot of work to improve the farmland they manage, restoring meadows and important habitats for bees and other pollinators. Steve has often spoken about this initiative with great enthusiasm and passion but having experienced the sites first hand and seeing and hearing the many bees buzzing around us I could see how it was already having a positive impact. Whilst driving to the sites Steve would also point out the uncut roadside verges that have been left this year because of the lockdown and allowed so many beautiful wildflowers to grow. Not only incredibly beautiful to look at but fantastic for wildlife too.
Woody’s highly contagious enthusiasm towards Bees and flowers has turned them to a real focal point for our lockdown experience. Sometimes seeing the world through a 2yr olds eyes makes more sense. The more I thought about bees and how they relate to “Colours of the World” the more I realised just how important they are and how we all need to do our bit to protect them. After all, the bees play a huge part in pollenating the food we eat and if the bees die out, so will we. The
scale of the issue and the idea that it’s everybody’s responsibility fed into the idea of using the worlds flags on the flower and the result was this artwork.
Written by Michelle Sudworth