We have been asking people to share their ideas of ‘home’ during the global pandemic. This is the gallery of contributions – it’s continuously evolving so keep checking back – and keep scrolling, as there’s lots here. And if you haven’t done so already, please do take part!
Kirsten I Ledbetter
‘A little hazy light composition of home.
‘My work is about ephemeral moments in time that allow the viewer to be transported to a particular place through my preservation of fleeting and temporary moments. I make a temporal experience of existing in a place the artwork itself through recording of light in drawings, photography, and cyanotype. I imbue my work with the space in which it exists by capturing fleeting light. My slow and meditative process permeates my work with place. Places which I attempt to transport and carry with me, of places that I can no longer physically visit, all while pondering the idea of home and what it means to feel at home in a place.’
Kirsten is currently studying an MFA at the University of Cincinnati. She is on Instagram @kirsteniledbetter
Sahara (detail), oil on canvas 2020 #WorkInProgress
#IdeasOfHome Gems gathered on a journey glow in the home. #Sahara in bathroom. ‘Miniature Sahara’, oil on canvas 2020
#IdeasOfHome Gems gathered on a journey glow in the home. #Sahara in bathroom. ‘Miniature Sahara’, oil on canvas 2020 (detail)
Instagram @olgawoszczyna (newly started)
Mimesis Arts Collective
“Don’t sleep for too long otherwise the bed bugs will harm you”! I literally grew up with these words spoken by my grandmother during my childhood in India. The covid lockdown enabled me to discover a beautiful Sanskrit verse which says the creator of the universe rests on a lotus as he is truly afraid of the bed bugs.
The bed bugs represent indolence, sickness, severe health issues and mental illness in so many eastern cultures.
The lotus represents pristine thoughts, purity, beauty and mystery ( how can something so beautiful and dainty be born from muddy waters?)
The verse is in Sanskrit expressed through evocative hand gestures and rhythmic movements.
The choreography also undertows the relationship between ‘movement and stillness’
Music composition: Namrata Pulapaka and Venkhatesh Sritharan (flute)
Concept and choreography: Shrikant Subramaniam from Mimesis ( www.mimesis.org.uk)
The second of three works in progress by Mimesis Arts Collective UK submitted for Ideas of Home.
A meditative piece inspired by flowers and water, mirrors and reflections, subject and object. Two videos of flowers interact influence by sound events. In one the flowers are still, in the other red poppies are motion blown by the wind. Ideas of eternity and transience intersect. The past reaches out into the future. The poem attempts to suggest that separation in nature is an illusion – in reality everything is connected and interdependent.
Samples of the recitation and recordings of birdsong are digitally manipulated and randomly re-presented at various rhythms and pitches. The sustained notes of cellos represent continuity and repetition and these are punctuated by acoustic guitar harmonics and arpeggios that are time-stretched, extended, as it were, into an uncertain future. The babbling voices towards the end resemble a congregation of lost spirits or memories. Visiting ghosts from the past and from the future.
The first of three works in progress by Mimesis Arts Collective UK submitted as Ideas of Home.
The Anarchist in the City
“God’s only excuse is that He doesn’t exist,” remarked Voltaire after a natural disaster that killed many people. Nietzsche loved this quote and wished he’d coined it! A melange of acousmatic events weave in and out of an insistent rhythmic pulse and intertwine with often dissonant desert blues infected guitar phrases. Assorted processed percussion litters the urgent soundscape. Beats fight one another like ideas. Melodies come and go redolent of Turkey or Arabia. A sonnet is repeated against different backdrops with the closing line: ‘Faith can only be where there’s no proof’. Visuals depict world religious and political systems in flux colliding with technologies, states of order and disorder. The silhouette of a dancer unfolds from out of a watery darkness only to vanish and reappear. Is our fate forever to search fruitlessly for systems of truth? The dance of eternal recurrence.
The piece was originally recorded in 5.1 surround sound and included in a performance at the Sounds Like This Festival Electric Saturday, Leeds College of Music.
Find Mimesis on Instagram @mimesisarts
‘Ideas of Home #5
‘Looking in, looking out.
‘A while back I posted an image of lighted windows [see below]: the comfort of returning to my home, its windows lit and promising a haven of security.
‘There’s an equal sense of security and peace to be felt on looking out. It increases over time. I watch the view from my bedroom window as the seasons and the light change. The skyline and the buildings, with their familiar diagonal and vertical lines, are unaltered – a constant in the ever-changing view.
‘I have been taking photos and, recently, making paintings of the view looking out. Here are two, made on my own handmade paper with paints, inks, pigments and dyes. For me, these views have a special significance. Home.’
‘Ideas of home #4
(Are you following the Schoolhouse Gallery’s wonderful compendium of lockdown memories?) Pic 1, if you can dissociate yourself from the distress as caused by pic 2, is to my mind quite decorative. Pic 3 makes all completely clear. Alas, one of our ideas of our new home is that it is a home and a haven also for moths. I have every appreciation that moths have a right to live and they gotta eat. But do they have to eat my few cherished cashmere and high-quality wool garments? Lockdown has been punctuated for me by the occasional massive hole-mending jag, following washing and deep-freeze treatment. No two ways about it, the moths have won all the way. Our kind neighbour gave us a pheromone trap which, yes, I am ok about using. We are on our first refill after no time at all and I am on a second bout of wool-washing and deep-freezing. Can we manage peaceful coexistence? Do check out this Arts Council funded project to document our lives in these strange times, and our dependence on and relationship with our homes….@schoolhousegallery #IdeasofHome#domesticity#moths#mending#righttolife#homelife#lifecycle#patterns#lifeathome#tasks#woollens#cashmere#damage#struggle
Ideas of home #3
Gathering in the harvest: plums. Making provision for the winter.
Text from the wonderful ‘Food in England ‘ by Dorothy Hartley, who spent her childhood in the Yorkshire dales:
‘All morning the kitchen was alive with stir and bustle, the clatter of clogs and pails, and the aroma of breakfast coffee. …The long afternoon was still. The sunlight shone through the window, the opened range smoked gently, the clock ticked loudly, a cricket chirped.’
‘Ideas of Home #2
‘This is the very essence of home to me. Light, the promise of warmth and comfort. Familiarity. These are the windows of the house I call home.’
‘Bubbles. Our lane. People round us not far away, but we’re all in our bubbles. [These images] were taken a couple of days ago to celebrate a friend’s birthday. So many thanks, Carolyn. Couldn’t help thinking how appropriate these images are. And the beauty and transience of bubbles bring a mixed pleasure and pain. All the more when our hitherto cocooned selves are suddenly confronted with mortality – our own, and that of family and friends’.
Jill is an artist based in York. Find her on Instagram @jilltattersallartist
“Govand” 2020, now glazed and finished. (57h X 33w cm.) The Govand is the dance, always done at Kurdish wedding parties, and that name is also used for the event which is the wedding party. The Govand is also often known by its Arabic name, the Debke. The latter is probably more widely used in the UK. Either way it’s remarkably – or wholly unremarkably imo – similar to the Ceilidh which is the Scottish/ Irish/ Assorted Celtic version.
This particular event is in Iran featuring Hossein and only a fraction of his family owing to Covid rules. I made this pot just because it helped me to feel a bit closer to the people there who I miss very much indeed. The English title I gave to this pot is, “Summer Nights,” which has the romantic Summer party feel although obviously isn’t a translation.
Kurdish Ceilidh’s quite sweet too.
Claudia is a ceramic artist and writer. Find her on Instagram @claudiaceramics
One of my lockdown projects has been sorting through my father’s photography gear. I have even had a go at developing a roll of film that was out of date several decades ago. Most of the pictures are too far gone, but this one survived. It has really triggered nostalgic memories for me of ‘home home’. The home that you grew up in, that your parents never left, and that cannot be replaced in your heart. The photograph features one of the many friendly neighbours who played such a big part in our upbringing, with his big 3.0 litre Rover in the garage in which I experienced my first car crash, and taken through the blinds of our front room where I remember watching life go past as a nipper. Maybe someday someplace will come close to that childhood sense of belonging.
Mike is on Instagram @amicablephotography
Wendell Berry. The Terrapin.
An idea of home.
‘A house is not a home without a cat. During lockdown, a beloved pet truly becomes a daimon. And the garden a universe.’ (Mary’s cat will be 20 in August.)
‘Backpacks, shoulder bags and pocket books are all unemployed. Bag straps languish on a newel post.’
You can find Mary on Instagram @marygarrison10
The Island is a well-established charity based in York supporting some of the most disadvantaged, vulnerable and isolated children and young people to realise their potential through positive mentoring relationships and activities.
These ideas of home are by children aged 8-13:
Songs of Hope and Despair II
Mid-morning Nidd paths, flora-fringed,
Spring-fresh, by blossom blessed, confetti-strewn.
My strides beside the river seem to partner
Rhythms of the stream, flow together, flourish?
Only seem, these harmonies apparent hide illusions,
Nourish them. This no nuptial bliss but irony,
A celebration of our true divorce from nature,
Separation’s kiss. Magnolia’s short-lived
Glory now has gone, April’s reputed showers
Have hardly come, our faithless melodies
Play out of tune. The goldcrest sings; we cry
In solitude inside. While winding round
The wooded banks I wend my footsteps by
Wild scented garlic, ranks of arum lilies in
Profusion. Nature with herself confides:
Scents of rose and hyacinth dance in the air,
From throats of songbirds issue verse,
Come gifts of music, trees converse, their
Branches gesture in the sky as orange-tips
To bees reply, all unperturbed, commissioned
By strange silence, wisdom undisturbed by
Our confusion. Suddenly, without us,
Vital nature is alive. Her pride and
Joy, somehow, compounds our disillusion.
Songs of Hope and Despair III
Just like an endless holiday, he said.
‘I’ve never known a Spring like this!’
A block away
She kissed the child goodnight
Said grandpa’s gone away
Began to softly sing.
When morning came her eyes
Would open once again
Though others, shut, would not.
Life hasn’t changed that much, I thought,
For those with lawns, gazebos, plots,
Where heedless birds announce the day
To me and to the hapless, equally,
Unheard by souls for whom they sing,
Those kept in poverty, minorities,
In every form of slavery, they know
How immigration saves a nation
Who repays in Windrush indignation,
Closed in margins, cracks of cities,
In the shanty towns and slums
Who’ll ever know the cost, the toll?
Dice loaded thrown, seeds sown,
People polarised, expert statistics roll,
Indifferent indices of suffering flow,
To no avail fail desperate pleas, entreaties.
On such a troubled sea
Sails just another Spring.
So full of beautiful uncertainties
This world becomes.
Songs of Hope and Despair V
My blood pulses to the meter of stars;
My fingers beat in synchrony.
Bringing comfort to me in compassion.
In the holding I am held to eternity.
The rain’s kiss makes the window cry.
O bird of hope, tap on my unlocked door.
Even ancestors are light years away now,
Once, I wonder, did they tend
To troubles, in their day? Somehow,
In each tragedy, is infinite sympathy.
Did they always sleep profoundly
In their heavenly beds, I mused
As I in mine reclined. Do some ever pray?
Make music, play, or are stars always home in heaven?
Looking down at me they seem, in grace
To give themselves away in sacrifice,
Confer the vital energy of life.
As I look down, in reverence, in hope, humility
And love, for every patient in my care, I know,
As each day comes, all will change place.
Agal Dance Company & Mimesis Arts Collective
Cataphor is a new dance work by Agal Dance Company, Sydney, in collaboration with the UK’s Mimesis Collective.
Cataphor is a work in progress that was developed during the pandemic via Zoom, linking Shrikant, choreographer and storyteller and Director at Mimesis Arts, with Vishnu, Artistic Director at Agal Dance Company. This international dance collaboration explores sleep and rest by making sense of the bed during this pandemic. It draws upon the experience of clinicians /essential care workers who take care of bodies on beds. The bed – a space of nurture, recovery and death, blurring reality. Agal and Mimesis hope to film this with some council funding and support with a videographer.
Music by Sebastian Freij – ‘Restless Roots’
Dancer – Nikki Sekar – Agal Dance Company
Sketching through lockdown: Student work submitted by Clare Wake
I teach drawing and painting through the Workers’ Education Association.
After lockdown struck we were no longer able to hold classes in church halls or to meet face to face so the WEA tutors endured some urgent tech training to help get their courses online.
My students should have been going out sketching in venues around York. Suddenly that wasn’t possible. They could still sketch, but at home. They could still meet for tuition and moral support, but over Zoom. They could still do assignments but using an online educational platform. Twenty four students x lots of different devices, old and new x variable tech competence (tutor and students) = lots of tech problems!
Over five weeks we fought our way through and fifteen stalwarts hung in there. Each week we considered and sketched a different part of our daily lives. We started simply with biro and pencil and went on to try adding colour, texture and collage.
The best bits: Students with complex health needs could attend more easily. Weekly online meetings went some way towards counteracting lockdown isolation. A discussion forum for sharing sketches helped to build a sense of community where the students could encourage each other. The discipline of weekly assignments was motivating. Recording small domestic things made us pay attention and value them.
Here is a small selection of what the students produced. (Click on thumbnails to enlarge.) Sketches are by Liz Bennett, Tony Bulleyment, Margaret Fountain, Clare Howgate, Robin Jenkins, Jill Key, Roger Mortimer, Jenny Pateman-Harrison, Charmian Pilcher, Di Robertson and Ruth Sillar.
Week 1. Getting ready for the day.
Week 2. Mealtimes, food deliveries, prep.
Week 3. Gardens and window views.
Week 4. Free time
‘The making of coffee has become a ritualistic process for me since lock down. Both the meditative act and the aroma transported me to the land of the coffee’s origin: Guatemala. And because I have a comedic predisposition, this film was the result.’
‘I’m a newly graduated BA fine art student who, during lockdown was trying to complete the BA whilst shielding in a first floor one bedroomed flat I’d recently moved into, and knew no one here. Add to that there’s no garden and I don’t drive and life got pretty grim. Like many, I turned to familiar comforts such as food. This image was one such moment. Lay on my bed looking out to a world I both missed and at the same time was afraid of. I was eating TUC crackers, an old favourite from childhood and looking at the light shining through the lettering and noticing how poignant it was that the letters appeared as the word “OUT” when seen in reverse when out was no longer possible.
‘Anyway, here is my contribution titled “Crackers” and the link to my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/buddhasbeanie.co.uk/ and a link to my university page with more examples of work that never got seen due to the degree show being cancelled 😕https://boltonunifineart.com/exhibitions-2020/fine-art-creative-show/jo-parker-3/
‘This painting is of my husband during the Lockdown. It was really hot out and my husband was indoors sitting happily by the window. The image reminds me that whilst it was all strange and sometimes scary outside we both felt relaxed and safe indoors.’
Lorraine is on Instagram @lorrainewilliamsrane
Linda Hencher and Tony Lacey
‘A contribution from Linda and Tony in Wass. Paintings and shawm by Tony and pottery by Linda remembering Costa Rica and wondering if we’ll ever get back there.’
Linda has published ‘A Quilter’s Coffee Break’, a collection of very varied short stories based on the titles of quilt block patterns, each one illustrated by the quilt block. The book is available from Linda.
‘I made a short video titled ‘Covid-19 Interference’ at the beginning of lockdown which then was part of a larger global film, ‘Chant For A Pandemic’. I provide care and support for a lady who has a speech impediment and resides within my home. Prior to recording I ensured she was happy to be involved and she was thrilled at the resulting video as she normally does not like hearing her own voice.
My film incorporates a chant written by an artist called Finn Harvor’
Sandra is on Instagram @sandrabouguerch
‘Home is Yorkshire, where I was born, grew up and have spent most of my adult life. Lockdown gave me time to paint – sometimes using an accumulation of photos taken over many years: the Cleveland Way, the Wolds footpaths, among much else. Reviewing photos reminded me that I cannot return to the place I really think of as home, a Dales farm. My family have gone from there and so have most of the people I knew round about. It is someone else’s home now. Place is important to me, but what really makes home? Is it bricks and mortar, stone and soil, fields and trees and weather? Is it the has-been, memories and nostalgia? Or is it really family, friends and community, the people that make a home? Ghosts from the past, people from the present.’
Laura Mason is a writer and food historian. Her work includes several recipe books written for the National Trust.
‘During this pandemic I know I am lucky to have a safe home. Sketching and painting has become increasingly important for me and is a mediative experience helping me to cope with this situation. My horizons have shrunk but I still take pleasure in making sketches of my home, my backyard and the changing seasons and adding to the series of paintings of reflections of the Minster that I was preparing for the York Open Studios.’
Karl is on Instagram as @karlr916
The ancient wall of the home is the silent guardian of the archetypal signs of the ancestors.
#ideasofhome #thewall #bricks #stones #tower #guardian #archetypalsign #ceramic #bronze
‘During lockdown I was unable to go to school, so I brought school into my home by drawing two of my teachers. The one with the flamingos is my Italian teacher. I drew her with them because she really likes these birds, and loves the colour pink. The other drawing depicts my Maths teacher, who is blonde and really good at explaining things. I drew the small pink stars around her because she too is a fan of pink.’
Eleonora, aged 12, lives in Italy.
Gardening and painting kept me occupied during lockdown, so have combined the two by hanging some of my ‘organic’ paintings creating an outdoor gallery.
Though not the home of my birth, Yorkshire is now my adopted home and I’ve grown to love the beauty of the Wolds, Dales and Moors, but I’ve found even in the fields near by, there is real delight.
Collage, tissue, lino print, gouache.
I’m riding a yak in Mongolia.
It’s hairy and terribly slow,
But it’s written in my portfolio
That a diplomat never says No!
Written by Vesuvia alias Susan F. R. Roome (Ms)
Claire is on Instagram @clairexcooper
‘At the peak of the pandemic, locked down with elderly in-laws. Mij sewing a face mask.’
Find Dan on Facebook.
Katie is on Instagram @katiemackerlean
‘I can’t wait to go back h̶o̶m̶e̶.̶ #IdeasOfHome‘
‘This work discusses the anticipation of embarking on a journey to somewhere I’d rather be, as well as the anxiety that surrounds it and the insecurities it may reignite, as well as how travelling by train has changed since the rise of COVID-19.
‘I feel as though this piece connects with @schoolhousegallery’s curation of #IdeasOfHome; I often get bored of the places I spend most of my time in, and I never felt at home in Brighton, where I spent the majority of my life before I started my undergraduate degree in York three years ago. Now that chapter in my life is complete, I’m looking forward to the commencement of my Masters degree in Glasgow in September, along with the journey. This specific work also relates to my nerves and excitement around my upcoming journey to Aberdeen in a few days, so there are many connections for me with this specific subject matter. Therefore, I thought it was fitting to portray myself on a train observing the landscape and scenery as I go by, and how that may or may not change given the current circumstances. Regardless of everything else, monkey puzzle trees have been a constant source of security, joy and fixation for me, and I’m always on the lookout for them wherever I may be, whether it’s one of my preferred haunts or as a means of providing me a little peace in a less secure location.’
Monica is on Instagram @clownchic.
The Lonsbrough Family
Hand built patio furniture by emergency workers Charles and Kathryn.
‘During lockdown 2020 whilst the world around us seemed to be changing daily our lives remained very much the same. Work – eat – sleep – repeat. Our precious days off were spent relaxing outside on our patio…. weather permitting. No pressure to go anywhere or do anything has been a revelation. Home is a great place to be.’
‘Dave’s Taverna, created with many hours of hard work and much love in lockdown 2020….. a great space to entertain family and friends.’
CRISTINA ANSALONI & GIULIO CALEGARI
In their home in Milan, during the pandemic, Giulio, directed and photographed by Cristina, played forty famous characters, calling on them to fight the virus. Here are six:
CalegaSpartacus rebels against the virus
CalegaQuixote challenges the virus with his imagination
CalegaGogh faces the virus with colour
CalegaInvisible will catch the virus out
CalegaAstronaut will hit the virus in space
CalegaHamon orders the virus to get its hands off us
‘A lot of the edibles I planted in our community garden have been obliterated by pigeons etc. Here are some of the flowers that survived though.’
Lou is on Instagram @kindnesscardsofyork
In this time of coronavirus I’ve found a new pattern to my days: awake early; then meditation and reading in bed, together with a little keyboard warrior-ing. Then I pick up my new i-Pad and begin to write up notes from a collection of notebooks I’ve been working in for the past twenty years or so. I’m planning on writing another book.
After an hour or so I get up and go to my studio, after attending to my fruit and vegetables n the garden. In my paintings I’m exploring human erotic love.
Here are some fragments from my current writing sequence, entitled
‘Love letters to a man I don’t know yet.’
You come to visit me in my dreams, twice. I sit in your room, on a large sofa and you come towards me; I do not have a sense of threat. You move your face towards mine, and you press your lower lip against my lower lip. It is a movement of infinite gentleness, a gesture from some animal past, a spirit kiss which generates a current in my lower belly.
Then, as if to emphasise, to repeat like a musical variation, you come towards me again. Then you are lying down, and I am sitting beside you. You recline to your right, and pull me alongside you, almost on top of you. It is erotic and comforting. Then a small dog comes to join us, a kind of spirit spaniel, red coloured, it jumps onto the sofa and curls up in the nest made by our bellies.
I think of night visitors, of spirit lovers. Is that what you are?
I paint a picture of the subterranean lovers with their lower lips touching. They’re still below the horizon of consciousness. I paint picture after picture of them.
I remember the burning bush kindling at my knees: men stood there, lit the taper. The flames breathe out of time with my heart. Yellow fire shapes my pregnant belly, stains the underside of my milky udders like a lick of pollen; I’m a horse of the plains led by you between smouldering silver birch branches; I’m white with blackened limbs; smoking handfuls of leaves and empty stalks fill my mouth: my tongue is crisp, wordless. Dried seed-cases and shrivelled flowers are pushed into my ears: the man’s arm thrusts endlessly into my heart, autumn comes in June.
We go to the sea to swim. It’s hot, the water thick with warmth and weed. Further out the sea has a soft grey surface, the breath of so many fish. The fish jump, silver sea tongues into the air; they swim around us. They’re large fish, heavy bodied, luscious. I’m in the water. I think of you.
I become aware of currents surging in me like shoals of fish, waving and turning, cascades of sensation and heat, I’m melting inside, there’s something dissolving, becoming soft, soupy; there’s a loosening of skin, mouth parts are softening, an old form is washing away. A new body is stirring, seeping into new skin, stretching new muscles and beginning to see through new eyes. It’s strong, supple, pink, engorged with blood.
I want you to dive down, to gather seeds of sea-flowers, to press them to juice between your fingertips; you’ll lift my lips and press their fluids against my gums. You will heal my mouth by kissing me every day.
my Grace’s whisper in my ear
darling darling child of my child
when will you whisper
your hugsong to me
close close again
‘I am 72 years of age and felt I needed to occupy my mind during these sometimes very difficult days, being vulnerable and shielding. I coloured in some 30 plus supportive pictures from NHS Posters to Capt. Tom’s Birthday and Thanks to various industries and groups who all are supporting us during this period from Dustmen, to Teachers, Food Deliveries and Couriers, as well as our Postal deliveries. This is just a small sample of what I did as I would have covered every window in our flat, now they are in an album, as they were beginning to fade, as you can see from the first one The Rainbow, but I do miss seeing them on the windows. I had so many comments on them from passers-by.
‘It gave me something to do to occupy my mind during this time.’
‘And here is a photo of My Capt. Tom, now Sir Tom celebration.’
‘A glimpse of morning sunshine during lockdown. Today we can go for a family walk, stretch our legs and get some vitamin D. Then back to our small, but cosy, home for tea and cake, laughter and chatter.’
Find Caroline on Facebook.
‘The welcomed sun creeping through the window today to warm our souls.’
‘I’ve enjoyed the quiet time of lockdown but I am a sociable person and have felt slightly enclosed despite being able to go for walks. The boundaries of social distancing can be trapping in themselves . I do miss hugging my friends and family.’
‘Fairy lights on summer nights. Brixton, London.’
Find Noel on Instagram @noeluk
Nobody’s going to call!
I’ve hoovered the hall
The whole house is unnaturally clean and now thanks to Covid 19 even the manicured lawn won’t be seen
The cat’s skating on tiles with a double gloss shine wailing this polished home is no longer mine and her bottle-brush tail says it all as she swishes on past down the length of the hall and I simply have to agree
All this housework stuff just isn’t me
As the TV spouts Updates-of-Doom
everywhere echoes my gloom
all my friends are locked down – I can’t go into town – I’m going stir-crazy with nothing to do
– and the cat’s high-tailed it
Mid-ravings I started to cook (it all looked so good in the book) though I followed whatever the recipe said my bread was an unrisen pudding of lead
Unchanging grey days never stop and my waistline’s about to go pop self-discipline’s gone by the board so I comfort-eat chocolate and cake from my hoard…
‘Go, get a project’ you said so I dug up the lawn and grew veggies instead
now I’ve runner beans high as my head and where flowers once bloomed super-foods share a bed
Forsaking Nigella I no longer bake but I’m shuffling weeds with a hoe and a rake
as the cat chases froglets through grass isolation is all in the past now this Techno-Gran clicks for a virtual meet and round-the-world-Zooms are her regular treat
(and our street’s become reet friendly!)
Grim lockdown’s no longer a pain
Now for the plants’ sakes I welcome the rain
And on grey days when there is no sun I’m having fun
playing with words
And I no longer bother to hoover the hall
And I’m so very glad no-one’s going to call
Result of isolation
Lean times are no fun
No loo roll for your bum
Empty streets echo, it’s like a film scene
Once-fussy kids now scrape their plates clean!
– And Nana’s guarding the allotment with a gun
Used to mean poverty
Now laminate flooring’s ‘on trend’
Were quilted and scented
Now newsprint is flushed round the bend
Mum’s sewing kids’ new clothes out of curtains and old sheets
Grandpa’s cutting up old tyres to shoe their feet
We had a lovely meal the night two hamsters disappeared
And our Dad called it rabbit stew
(As you do)
But the cat’s keeping her distance
‘Radical cancer treatments in 1990 brought great change, but also offered unexpected opportunities which included a fine art degree. I became a cancer activist; ran a local cancer support group; was involved in several health organisations at national level and almost overnight went from mouse to conference speaker and writer. For the past 30 years I’ve worked alongside many like-minded health professionals aiming to improve health services. Detailed history and posts can be found on my blog – https://evenstarsexplode.wordpress.com/ – I can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. I am a member of HealthWatch-UK (NB the CHARITY, not the NHS organisation which began later and took the same name!) The charity, HealthWatch-UK, has been promoting science and integrity in healthcare since 1991 – see https://www.healthwatch-uk.org/‘
Mitzi is the author of ‘Nothing Personal – Disturbing Undercurrents in Cancer Care’. (Winner, Medical Journalists’ Association Open Book Awards, 2009). It is available on Amazon.
‘My thesis work, ‘Origins’, was rooted in my personal origins, and the one-bedroom cabin that my sister and I grew up in. Situated in the woods of Florida, each year of our lives was marked by the sweeping impact of hurricanes. On nights when the power would go out from the rigor of the storm, we would sit in the dark with fewer candles than you could count on one hand, often doing nothing. Sometimes we would make forts in the living room, or play dominos at the table, squinting our eyes to catch a flicker of the flame. In the night we would wake up to water rising through the floorboards, softening them, and listen as our parents spoke in hushed voices. ⠀
‘In ‘Origins’ a narrative unfolded in a duplicitous space. Always in the stages of being ‘built’, it was partially undone, and continuously beautiful in its candor. Materials were untidily scattered as I worked every day to make adjustments. I learned about the space and what it needed to survive in the current moment; what I needed to survive. Survival meant both the house and myself continued to evolve, despite arduous circumstances. I questioned the arrangements and what objects felt right in relation to their environment. Did they need flowers, soul, water, sand, air, or light? I attempted to be present with what I was making. This could be challenging at times as it moved in on my personal space.
‘As an act of vulnerability, I initially intended to open up my home to the public. ‘Origins’ was meant to be an installation in which the Knoxville [Tennessee] community could share in my own space with me. I imagined it to be an experience in which neighbors, strangers, and colleagues entered on a level playing field. With the onset of COVID-19, these plans undoubtedly had to change. I had to trust that ‘Origins’ was still worth creating, whether or not anyone saw it. It became a testament to hope during a time when life could have easily become stagnant. This act of modifying my plans and rebuilding within my home spoke to that same need to reconstruct after a hurricane or other natural disaster – or, in this case, a pandemic.’
[Images 1-3]: ‘Throughout lockdown I was working from a temporary studio space (the dining table) in the flat. Each day, I would take my exercise by walking the dog in a nearby park. I started making a series of ‘lockdown drawings’, on paper, based on memories of places that I have walked in years past. I consider these places – Fells, Mountains, and Coast, as a kind of ‘spiritual home’ (whatever that might mean). Making these daily drawings helped to serve as an escape from the confines of lockdown life, in London, and I hoped that they might help others to feel a sense of freedom and escape, by sharing them on Instagram. They became an important part of being ‘out there’ somewhere, rather than locked in and confined. ‘Home’ as an external, and imagined, place of being. A haven.’
[Image 4]: ‘This seemingly everyday image, of our ‘rescue from Corfu’, Tommy, snuggled against my legs, in bed – epitomises my experiences of these last months; trying to work from home, and manage every aspect of life in a shared flat, coupled with the comfort, security, and love, that come from sharing a living space with a loyal companion. These are my #ideasofhome @schoolhousegallery‘
Find Steve on Instagram @humbleartist62
During the lockdown my partner has been shielding so we’ve been experiencing our own house and garden in an unexpectedly positive and intense way. However………. in my painting I have been able to travel all over Europe via memory and fantasy.
I’ve been working on a sort of private, secular Altarpiece, using the historical early Italian Renaissance convention of vertical hinged panels with Saints, with small narrative (and in my case autobiographical) panels (predellae) below. My “saints” are artistic heroes of mine… Tatlin…Schwitters, Duchamp, Popova….de Chirico, Joe Orton, Carpaccio …. They are like annunciating angels pouring me wonderful cups of spiritual/educational tea when I was a 20 year-old art student that have kept me sustained ever since. In the narrative panels below, I’ve been able to travel to Paris, Berlin, Petrograd, sit in Parisian cafés…..evoke memories of a night in 1975 spent in a Left Bank hotel famous for the invention of Surrealist automatic writing, pay homage gazing at famous long-dead people’s windows, stand in Kirchner’s shoes on Potsdamerplatz….. travel at will on various city’s metro systems. Explanation, if desired, is to be found in several vertical “explanatory” text panels. It’s still very much a work in progress and the the positioning of the small panels is in a fluid state with more to be added. I plan to encase in shallow box with hinged wings that can open and close. That’s how I’ve been coping with the lockdown (and it wasn’t just to test my eyesight).
I’ve also made a companion TEXT PIECE:
Title: ‘Email to Dawn, 29th May 2020’
212 Blvd. de Montparnasse
29th May 2020
Well, here I am sitting at my favourite table in my absolute favourite Parisian cafe. I just thought what the hell, pop over and do some essential research for my “Altarpiece”, especially for the surrealist-based sections. I’m staying at the Hotel des Grands Hommes in the Place du Pantheon, which I actually last stayed at as a young student in 1973. Bit of a fleapit back then, a previous occupant of the room had thoughtfully pinned a bedbug or two to the wall. What I didn’t realise at the time was that in a room in the very same hotel in the spring of 1919 Andre Breton and Phillipe Soupault, (who happen to be two of my absolute personal heroes) wrote “Les Champs Magnetiques”, the great avant-garde iconic roman a clef, and the first piece of truly “automatic” writing. Maybe it all happened in the room I was in back then – or now! Indeed, there’s a commemorative plaque at the entrance erected in 1989. I’m spending part of the day sketching on the spot in a small notebook, so I’ll have as much info and detail as poss to put into my Altarpiece panels. The hotel staff are most attentive, and don’t mind me drawing around the hotel… I’ve a sneaking suspicion they rather like it. At the moment taking time out sipping a glass of chilled Muscadet at La Coupole, over in Montparnasse. Inevitably, a lot of the old faces have gone, but the atmosphere is as marvellous as ever. Already I’ve exchanged glances with several artists and intellectuals. There’s a marvellous buzz already, and it’s only 4.30. I’m just staggered by the art deco splendour of it all. Needless to say, I’m doing some surreptitious little observational sketches. When I was here in ’73, I remember making little drawings in my notebook from La Coupole wine and coffee stains! Very conceptual! I’ll be here for a few days, if you need to contact me the best way is phone the Hotel des Grands Hommes, +33146341960, and ask for room 402. Hope all going well with you back in England, despite the lockdown.
Tim is on Instagram @timothymorrison_artist
‘Home is technically situated at a given address, for me currently in rural France. Increasingly, I feel that home is anywhere I am accepted and feel that I belong or have belonged in the past. Lockdown has made me think a great deal about the concept of what home is and where it is. Since a week before lockdown in March, I have been living with my daughter and her family in York and feel totally at home here, as York has been my home in the past. I came to York, this time, after only a fortnight at my French home with my husband, who is still in France. We just returned from 6 weeks in Uganda where we are accepted and made at home by people whose whole existence is radically different from our own but who treat us as family. The photos include some of each of these locations and some of my artwork which I produce and display at home. We run a small charity ‘Donnez de l’espoir à l’Ouganda’ DEO and give art lessons to children in Uganda whilst in Uganda, as well as fundraising during the rest of the year to provide educational opportunities for children and young people.’
‘Great purchases some years ago! Love Greenwich and looking forward to visiting again soon.’
The purchases Pat refers to are three prints of Greenwich by Robert Brumby. Find Pat on Instagram @patwillsyork
‘When thinking about ‘ideas of home’ I thought about my time away from home, my ‘daily exercise’. Each day I would look forward to leaving the house for my short walk or run. During lockdown I walked the same local path or ran on the same route. I decided I wanted to capture the repetition of this journey by creating artwork that echoed the patterns from the roads, pavements and paths.’
You can find Linda’s daily diary of artwork on Instagram @lindaharveytextiles
- Been thinking about #IdeasOfHome. For me, it’s shared memories gathered over time and represented by certain objects. Some of these things have been with us for 25 years or more, contributing to various ‘homes’.
- These are things that remind us of living in Sweden. 20 years ago!
- I’ve dragged my records around forever. They are definitely an essential part of Home. (There’s a really interesting philosophical theory about the ‘distributed self’ – that some of who we are is embodied in ‘evocative objects’. For me it would be in the records! See https://philpapers.org/archive/HEETNS.pdf)
- And now, here we are, just casually living together, all the dirty stuff exposed being just a sign of how comfortable we are, building more memories at Home.
Alun is an artist working predominantly with cyanotype. Find him on Twitter at @AlunKirby
Beth Coombes Boyes
Material encroachment, organic matter that settles, retreats, encroaches and breaks up!
Memories of a time and a place – of youth, of the fragility and transience of life.
Organic matter from my daily walk painted onto cotton bed sheet (circa 1960’s) folds still present, starched and permanent from this era…
‘The first is called FANTASIES, and is probably self explanatory.
‘The second, THE CAT, is a painting of one of our cats in Urbino, hanging from the wall here in York, painted by Julie Skinner, a dear English friend who lives in France…’
Giuliana divides her time between York and Urbino, Italy, where she runs the Eleanor Worthington Prize.
Safe, family, peaceful.
Debi is part of the large Gypsy and Traveller community living in York and surrounding areas. For more information about Gypsy and Traveller life in York please visit www.yorktravellerstrust.wordpress.com
Over the last three months I have spent time considering the goldfish in our kitchen, as they seemed to be perfectly content in their isolation … unlike me.
Our boundaries of windows and doors reflected on their boundary of clear perspex.
They say home is where the heart is…
House, Bricks & Mortar, Postal Address
Trailer, Freedom, Happiness
Valda is part of the large Gypsy and Traveller community living in York and surrounding areas. For more information about Gypsy and Traveller life in York please visit www.yorktravellerstrust.wordpress.com
At the beginning, I felt useless, unable to contribute to the welfare of others by shopping, or going out and about. My next thoughts were on cooking for others, but that wasn’t sensible either. I had a concert planned, then cancelled; was to have taken part in York Open Studios, with new portraits done, also cancelled. Then a lovely friend who walks my dog set up a fundraiser for York RSPCA, called Badly Drawn Pets, which raised an amazing £8,500 and mentioned it to me. So I became involved, and received jpegs of the pets who accompanied their owners in the lockdown. As it turned out, some of the portraits I painted were ‘in memoriam’. The importance of our relationships with domestic animals is frequently misunderstood by those who either don’t want, or don’t like animals much. But for those of us who do enjoy the non-transactional relationships we can have with pets, they are an important part of our lives, so I was delighted to have something to offer others, to bring pleasure during a difficult time. I know that artists all over the world have been able to make valuable contributions to the happiness and optimism needed. So here’s a cheer for the creators!
This is what home means to me – love, security, freedom.
Paula is part of the large Gypsy and Traveller community living in York and surrounding areas. For more information about Gypsy and Traveller life in York please visit www.yorktravellerstrust.wordpress.com
Near drain and public footpath along the eastern edge of a meadow in the East Riding of Yorkshire stand eight ash trees.
Whilst working with the RSPB on a long-term project about the meadow I have been gathering material from them; initially as part of the fabric of the place, and to find a ‘way in’ to what I know will be something that occupies a large part of my thoughts and practice in years to come. I’m thinking starting-point with a view to becoming an element of a wider body of work.
The process of gathering physical material is always a mysterious one, imbued with anticipation for me. I never know what it will inform, what will be its eventual use; when or whether there will be an outcome.
However, from these sodden leaf fragments already beginning to deteriorate has emerged a series of pieces. Each leaflet carries upon itself the imprints of weather and environment; scars and freckles, tears and spots. Collected in January 2020 and worked upon in my home studio throughout the Covid 19 lockdown, the Ash (leaf fragment) series depicts each leaf magnified many times, ‘standing’ on what might be a horizon.
Most ash trees are wildlife, like bluebells or badgers or birch trees; they look after themselves and cost nothing … There are nearly as many ash trees in Britain as there are people – but what does that statement mean? wrote Oliver Rackham in his 2012 book commissioned as a response to the first noticing of ‘Ash Dieback’ disease in Britain (The Ash Tree, Little Toller, Dorset 2014).
Craving ‘my’ meadow, the Ash (leaf fragment) series and the Rackham book have become for me a symptom of Covid-19 lockdown, colouring my ideas of home during this time.
At the time of writing there are eleven pieces, with potentially a further 39 to go …
Find Linda as @pathsplantsplaces on Instagram.
For most of my life my homes had wheels underneath them. Even when we settled down in a house, we always had a home with wheels in the yard. Ready at the drop of a hat to be gone.
Home was never a physical place really, my mam always said “home is where you lay your hat”. For me home is where you are accepted.
I moved into a house when I got married in November 2018 and I’ve moved 2 times since and I’m probably going to move again soon.
I love my house, but my husband and babby make it home.
Since the lock down my home felt very small, I felt jealous of my sister, my brother and my parents with their set up. A yard or house with family around them.
For over 3 months, I’ve gone from a family of over 20 to just 3. My home went from being my castle to being my cage. My windows dressed in blinds to keep preying eyes out started to feel like they were bars to keep me in.
My boredom buster, the television, became my tormentor, telling me the death toll and why I must stay inside.
My bed, my place of solace started to feel like a captor holding me down.
Thankfully my kitchen didn’t change, my meals didn’t change. Just my dinner table no longer needed to be arranged to squeeze more people around it.
I’m so glad that my cage as been opened up, even just a little bit, but sadly this house will never been my true home.
Violet is Director at York Travellers Trust
home haiku 1
from my father’s past
home haiku 2
under a clear blue sky
sunlight and reflections
edge the bird bath
home haiku 3
rediscovering a bag
that tells something
of his war years
home haiku 4
mid day shadow
on the garden seat
recalling sun dials
home haiku 5
tidying the studio
last year’s pastel drawings
home haiku 6
below the studio window
cross the work bench
‘Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave and wanting to return when you grow old. Photographs of my home, from Archive.’
‘I wanted to provide a trigger for the viewer to develop their own story relying on their experiences. In my head I wanted colour and symbolic representation rather than the rules of form, perspective and realism to be the important structures. I’ve called it Smile.’
‘Mon petit jardin’.
‘Home is… full of homemade masks!’
Mairi divides her time between York and Nice, where she spent lockdown.
Top: Ashland Crow Children
(Flapping Out Of Ash Towards The Rising Sun)
Farrow & Ball Emulsion & Acrylic on Driftwood
W: 7.2 H: 29 D: 7.2 cm (approx) | 11 June 2020
Bottom: Give Awe
Acrylic & Oilstick on Cardboard
26 x 17.3 cm | 23 June 2020
‘I have always thought of home as a place of sanctuary, a haven away from the slings and arrows. However, during lockdown, I found a deeper connection with nature through the various birds and animals that visited the garden. Having lost my cat, Oskar, in January three neighbours’ cats started visiting and popping into the flat. These welcome visits re-defined the sense of sanctuary for me; it is now a shared space. The little painting is of a visiting fox that comes up the cat plank for food to the window of the studio where I work. I give awe!
‘I have also been collecting driftwood from Edinburgh beaches to make assemblages called the Ashland series. Again, nature entering the home in some form. I have a growing collection now in my ‘sanctuary’!’
‘This is a photo of my collected beings for the exhibition Ideas of Home. It is called ‘We are all in this together’. This lovely collection of treasured and found objects sits on our radio – during my time at home, I have tended more to them, moved them around until I felt that this combination (with the addition of the postcard and dogs who normally live round the corner on the shelf) conveyed a sense of them being a community and all in this together at home’.
Jo exhibited at the School House Gallery in 2012 as part of ’53 Degrees North’, one of a series of annual exhibitions in which we showcased arts graduates from across the country. Jo currently teaches at the Working Men’s College in Camden, which as she notes was ‘started by Ruskin, so is one of the oldest Adult Ed providers. UAL award and support our unique foundation. We welcome a diverse group of learners who go on to the likes of CSM and Chelsea as well as a variety of other next steps’.
Ideas of Home.
‘Here are a couple of things I have been doing at home during lockdown.
Left: a response to Black Lives Matter – linocut and pen.
Right: a self portrait.’
David has also created a video of a collage book written for his granddaughter – The Lockdown Surprise:
‘Spending so much time at home has brought our visual landscape literally closer to home.
‘The slow pace of living in lockdown created an opportunity to slow down and appreciate what is around us and to see the small detail of our immediate surroundings. I have been particularly drawn to those fleeting moments of beauty when sunlight falls on mundane objects, such as the light on a post-it note, a glass on a kitchen worktop or the chain of a window blind. ‘
You can find Sara on Instagram @sarasault4
‘I am used to being stuck in the house so lockdown has not been the shock to me that it has been to many people. I have MS and have been very poorly in previous years so I am well versed in keeping my spirits up whilst living in my home. I started painting about five years ago and have built a career around my love of portrait painting. During lockdown I started painting dogs – something I never thought I’d do! Well, what a pleasure it has turned out to be. I chat to lovely people every day, sit and paint their dogs and have a thoroughly lovely day.
‘So if I had to sum up being stuck at home I’d have to say: find a hobby. Learn to occupy yourself, it’s a life skill. Learn to appreciate all the simple things that life offers, not the things you have to pay for. This will pass but in the meantime I am flourishing during lockdown.’
‘A small milk jug from a January firing. Jigsaws and cups of tea have figured heavily in this York house during lockdown.’
To send us your own ideas of home, please…