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April 23, 2020

I’m 11 colours in to a 12 colour print - just one more colour to go. Then the email comes through, ‘Following the recent Government Guidelines, regretfully the school will be closed from 5pm Thursday 19 March 2020 until further notice.’

 I do most of my silkscreen printing at Putney School of Art. I’m on a weekly course that has the benefits of providing screen printing facilities and the magnificent support of our tutor, Glynis Porter. It’s not merely a space to produce work but a place of learning and development. The artists there all enjoy a thirst for trying new things, sharing experience and learning more whilst refining their skills.

 So - the closure of the school has left my latest print in a state of suspended animation. Almost - but not quite - finished.

 I think this rather reflects how we feel about the whole lockdown situation. Obviously for many they are working hard and caring for the rest of us. We are not forgetting the NHS staff, the delivery people, the rubbish collectors, the teachers, the police and many other key workers. We are so grateful for their commitment. But for many of us, even those used to working from home like us, there is a sense of suspension - a feeling of time slipping by without us doing very much. Plans are on hold. Money is tight. Family are distant. Days are muddled one into another. 

 However, it’s also a time of appreciation. We’ve walked more around our local area than usual - avoiding the park as much as possible to make space for those without gardens. Almost every time we go out we see an old friend or a neighbour and stop for a socially distanced chat. We’ve done online quizzes with the rest of the family, we do a weekly family FaceTime, we’ve been called by old friends just ‘checking up’. On Thursday evenings there’s a lovely feeling of community and togetherness as we all stand on our steps, or balconies, or open windows, to clap  our heroic key workers. And we are loving the National Theatre Live performances now available at home for free.

 Through all our personal ups and downs, Spring has crept in. Our wisteria is joyous this year, wafting its beautiful perfume around every time we step out of the front door (which is, of course, not often). The birds are singing wildly, the weather is warming, my seedlings are emerging. 

 Whilst our creativity is a little cramped we can still share our work and set beacons ahead to aim for. We are very pleased to be taking part in Artists Staying at Home this year - our usual Artists at Home weekend goes online as we continue to stay safe. I do hope you’ll be able to pop in - virtually - over the weekend of 19th - 21st June.

 Keep safe and smell the wisteria.


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