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  • Writer's pictureViolet Shirran

Creating during Covid lockdown

Updated: Nov 22, 2021

In March of 2020 the world changed dramatically for everyone in Europe. Here in Ireland, the schools closed as did every business and workplace not deemed essential. I found myself in Spain on an artist retreat trying to finish the project I was working on. It was quite surreal and I truly believe it would have been even more stressful if I had not had my work with me. The daily sewing rituals were certainly grounding and gave me an outlet while "Locked down " in another country. Thankfully I was able to fly back to Ireland at the end of March on one of the few flights still going from Spain.

Of course, on my return, I had to self isolate for 14 days which meant I was alone for a full month in total, having a studio in my garden was a lifesaver. I threw myself into my Art work.

Initially I was creating pieces based on stone stacks inspired by the stones I had found on the beach prior to Lockdown. As always the slow, meditative nature of sewing was theraputic.

As restrictions were gradually lifted and I was out of isolation I was unable to travel to the beach for my usual walks but It did force me to explore my locality. I was pleasantly surprised by the beautiful fields and hedgerows and started collecting wild flowers and herbs. I began remembering how similar this landscape was to where I spent my own childhood.

As it was springtime the local farmers began ploughing their fields and little bits of old discarded pottery began to come to the surface.

They were mostly Willow Pattern in blue but occasionally I would find pink, brown or green. I looked forward to my walks every evening to see what treasure I could find. I remembered my own mother talking of collecting "Chainies" as a little girl herself .

Having collected and cleaned them I decided that I wanted to present them in such a way as to represent my time in Lockdown and to honour the "treasure" that I found and the joy it brought during this incredible time.

I have created A5 pieces of Khadi cotton paper and sewn a map of my wandering in red thread, each stitch representing a step, each thread a journey. On to these maps I have sewn my "Chainies". Some of them fit together in a continuous line .

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