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Monday, 18 May 2020

Feathers of Hope: Homegrown Commission

Day 1 Hope for Clean Air
Pen on handmade paper

In the ongoing roller-coaster of emotions and experiences that is the 2020 Covid-19 crisis there are lots of glimmers of hope and positivity. Over the 10 years I've been writing this blog one of the recurring themes has been "and I would like more time for my own practice." Be careful what you wish for! In truth though the past few weeks have offered me the chance to really focus on my practice and I'm very grateful for that. I've also been finding new ways for me and my work to 'get out there,' mostly in a digital rather than a physical sense of course! In this post I'm going to share one of the ways I've been sharing my work.

Day 2. Hope for Kindness
Pen on tracing paper


The Stove Network is an artist-led organisation based in Dumfries and they believe that the creative community can and should play a key role in the development of the region. One of the ways they have been supporting their members during the pandemic is to offer micro commissions as part of their 'Homegrown' project. The key tenets of this project are open-heartedness, solidarity, perseverance and insight. The micro commissions are for small week long projects that embrace one or more of these ideas.

Day 3. Hope for Inventiveness
Coloured pencil on inside of an old envelope


I was really excited to be selected for one of these commissions for my 'Feathers of Hope' project. It was a simple idea; each day for a week I would draw a feather and share it along with one of my hopes for the future that will come after this pandemic. I've been spending a lot of time thinking about how we have the opportunity to create a fairer, happier society and so this project was a good way to focus some of those thoughts. The feathers and hopes were then shared on The Stove Network's Facebook and Instagram pages each day.

Day 4. Hope for Art Education


I was also excited about the opportunity to share work with people in my local area. As we're relatively new to the region I'm still finding my way around and it's great having organisations such as The Stove Network to help get to know what's going on. Even though we didn't move far last year we did move to a new region and indeed a new country and so it takes time to get to know what's going on and the people involved. Everyone I've come across has been so friendly and helpful and the positive arts scene in Dumfries and Galloway was one of the factors in deciding to move.

Day 5. Hope for Food Origin Awareness
Free motion embroidery on rust dyed silk organza


Taking part in this project has been such a positive experience for me. As well as being a good confidence boost it's introduced me to lots of other wonderful creatives and helped me feel more a part of my local arts community. It's also given me a good 'daily focus' and I found I very much looked forward to creating the drawings each day. Having a reason to give myself that time to be creative each day was very beneficial and led to lots of other work in the studio too, more about that another time maybe!

Day 6. Hope for Nature
Ballpoint pen on reverse of gold paper


As part of the commission I was also asked to create a short video about my practice. I'm not really that technically minded and have a fairly limited idea of what I'm doing when it comes to making videos and so on but one of the good (if also rather stressful) things about the current crisis is that it has forced me to learn how to do things. I now have a slightly less shaky grasp of video making and sound recording. These are really useful skills and as I'd been thinking about creating some online courses before the pandemic anyway I hope they're going to stand me in good stead! Making the video was also a good opportunity to think about my practice and what the really important bits are that I want to share with people.

Day 7. Hope for Positive Changes
Pen, chalk and pastel on coloured paper


As usual I've not written the post I intended; I was going to write about the actual work and the hopes for the future but writing this post has been a good opportunity to reflect on the experience as a whole so I'm going to hope (see what I did there) that the work speaks for itself and I also hope that you've enjoyed it!


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