I was invited to write a blog post for Norfolk & Norwich Festival on my Yarmouth Springs Eternal in February 2021. The article shares some background on the inspiration and research that inspired the project, and how the project will be delivered this year. For the latest updates on the project, follow @YarmouthSprings on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook:
I’ve stared out at my back garden from my desk in Gorleston-on-sea almost everyday since March 2020. It’s usually the place I make plans before travelling elsewhere in the region to lead Community Arts projects. Whilst indoors under ‘Stay at Home’ orders, I look out and notice rows of packed terrace houses with square windows looking back at me, blocks of dense leylandii hedge and intersections of alleyways. I can see shed roofs in weathered shades of brown and grey, every so often featuring a prowling cat. Birds zip from tree to tree and clouds swirl in ever-changing formations against skies of pink, blue, grey and white.
As you can tell from the description, this suburban view isn’t a nature reserve and if I search for images of a “nature view” online, the acid green hills and waterfalls don’t resemble what I see! These idealised perceptions of nature can give distorted expectations and unhelpfully separate us from feeling part of the natural world. For me, the Lockdown experience has highlighted that ‘experiencing the natural world’ isn’t a phenomena happening elsewhere in vast conservation-managed pastoral landscapes, it’s also the vernacular view from my desk window and found on daily walks around town.
If you’re looking for inspiration or distraction during lockdown, I’ve complied a list of some of my publicly available creative resources. Over the past 10+ months, I’ve been commissioned to create live and pre-recorded video workshops and resources exploring range of visual art mediums and themes. Some activities are linked with the work of a particular institution, such as a museum and their collection, whereas others look at broader subjects
The age range is suggested and generally the materials required to take part are easily accessible from home, or could be swapped out for other more available kit
It’s been a total learning curve for me to produce these during the lockdowns from home, but I hope they bring some creativity into people’s lives at a difficult time!
Anthotype Photography: making images with plants without a camera
In the Summer, I was commissioned by Creative People and Places: Market Place to develop and pilot a new project exploring the isolation, disconnection and lockdown experience. In the Autumn, I led Let’s Talk A Walk, a remote art-making and walking project with two groups in Fenland and West Suffolk. I was invited to write a reflective blog about the project, exploring how it developed and the challenges faced…
‘Doorstep curiosity’ is a phrase I noted down during a Zoom catch-up with Creative Agent Ali and Marketing Officer Alice, a few days after the Let’s Take a Walk workshop. My own nature-informed arts practice took on a new resonance this year. Experiencing nature’s sights, sounds and sensations became essential to my wellbeing. The little things have really captured my attention. Self-seeded plants growing through the cracks in flint walls became a symbol for the resilience to find a way through. It was these experiences that inspired the project.
Let’s Take a Walk didn’t begin as a walk. In fact, for the Creative Conversations in Isolation call-out, whilst the country was under ‘Stay at Home’ orders, I wanted to find inspiration at home by unlocking stories in the objects we live with. I’d been running still-life drawing sessions over Zoom and through this, became curious about arranging and connecting with everyday ‘stuff’…
I’m incredibly happy to share the news that Arts Council England are supporting Yarmouth Springs Eternal in 2021 through their Arts Council National Lottery Project Grants scheme
I’m very grateful to Norfolk & Norwich Festival and Producer Sally Rose for their mentoring and support, project partners originalprojects;, and the generous funding from Norfolk & Norwich Festival’s Creative Individuals Norfolk fund, East Anglia Art Fund, Norfolk County Council’s Arts Project Fund and Better Together Norfolk
Look out for more information about the programme in the coming weeks, ahead of the events launching from the Spring Equinox to the Summer Solstice next year. Follow Yarmouth Springs Eternal on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for news (@YarmouthSprings on all platforms)
I am over the moon to be one of 6 other Norfolk-based artists and creative practitioners who have been awarded funding and support from Norfolk & Norwich Festival’s Creative Individuals Norfolk fund.
My project, Yarmouth Springs Eternal, will explore the natural world, reflecting upon isolation and anxiety experienced during COVID-19. Participants will listen, look, smell, touch and taste to share the experience of seeking out hope and watching spring unfold. It will engage communities in Great Yarmouth, including adults who have experienced homelessness and migration.
The project will take place in Spring 2021 and has been supported by originalprojects; through help forming the programme and access to a central Great Yarmouth venue to base the project at
The project is still in development, but I plan to connect with groups in Fenland and West Suffolk remotely through a guided sensory art-making walk in a location of their choice.
I’ve been trialling ideas in my local area – collecting photos, drawings, rubbings, words and sound captured in the landscape Find out more about Creative Conversations in Isolation on the Market Place CPP website.
Lockdown continues in the UK and whilst the guidelines were changing around spending time outdoors, I was also pondering my response to the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts‘ Artists Programme brief.
Organised by Learning Programme Manager (Adults & Young People), Nell Croose Myhill, the spring Artists Programme was themed around ‘Situations’, inspired by Lucy R Lippard’s magazine-exhibition for the July/August edition of Studio International in 1970. Each artist in the programme would give and receive a situation – I was prompted with ‘Reimagined Playscapes’ from Francesca Cant and passed on ‘the place I go when I’m making’ to Hannelore Smith.
For my ‘Reimagined Playscapes’ prompt, I was thinking about the lockdown situation, playfulness, empty streets and resource-limited responses – the result was a game of hopscotch!
As well as responding to this brief, I’ve been continuing to work outdoors and use natural and found materials. Whilst working up a new series of remote resources, I starting playing with nature brushes and painted a series of blank ink nests using sticks and grasses. I also found some long cut grass that I’d added to the wild corner of my garden the month before and had since dried, so I started to form this and fresh grass into nest-like shapes.
Whilst making these I was thinking about the idea of a nest as a place of home, but when painted in black, it felt less comforting and maybe more trapping. I enjoyed replicated the form in different materials and look forward to continuing this train of thought…
Thank you Becky from Supporting Your Art for inviting me to be interviewed about my work during lockdown. In the interview, I talk about some of the challenges I’ve encountered with working remotely and how I’ve worked around them.
Also on Becky’s blog, you can read a recent interview from ArtatWork CIC about how they’ve adapted their regular arts groups during this period.