Adapting to lockdown by Sarah Cox

A self-employed ceramic artist lives a pretty isolated life when you work from home, so these strange times haven’t really been that strange for me since we have been in lock down. The only time when I realise life is different at the moment is when we go out to grocery shop, or for the 1 hour of exercise each day. It’s been very life reaffirming how people are helping each other more so now than ever, and how strangers say hello whilst passing you at a safe distance in the street. I hope this continues when we get back to normal.

I was lucky enough to receive a pallet of clay delivered just before the lock down came into force, so I have plenty of clay & raw materials to keep me going. This is a great opportunity to produce a good body of work, so I have plenty of choice as to what to exhibit when events start again. It is also a great time to start to experiment more & create new pieces, once the main body of work is complete.

At the start of lock down I had a furry of inquiries about pieces for the garden, clients were interested in water features but struggling to find gardeners still working to create ponds. I have also had quite a few clients inquire about restoration services of pieces they had bought many years previously. Causes of the damage ranged from over energetic children and doors, wives and hoovers, removal men & pets! It’s sad to see the sculptures in pieces, but it’s fantastic the feedback that I get when the piece is returned to my client.

I persuaded my Pilates teacher to give online classes, so we now have a live class each Monday & Friday evening. A little bit of normality & routine. In return I dropped a bag of clay and all the necessary tools outside her front door, and we will be having a video chat clay class this week. She can then deliver the finished clay pieces to my front door, and I can fire them for her. Glazing may prove slightly more difficult at a distance… My Pilates teacher can use my velvet colours and paint them on & I clear glaze over and re-fire. Again, the pots of colour would be delivered to her door, socially distancing of course & she can deliver them back to my door when she has completed the decoration. Where there’s a will there’s a way!

This time of having time, has also produced a long list of things to do that we normally don’t get time to do when we are on the hamster wheel of events and selling. Unfortunately for my long-suffering husband Mark lots of these items involve him, and his list of things to do gets even longer! Those cupboards in my workshop will be fixed, the legs on my main making table will get reinforced, we hope to look at different exhibition stand designs for events, I could do with some smaller pond plinths for exhibiting my water features at events, can we investigate why my slab roller sounds like a blood curdling scream when I use it, can we finally install that half set of kiln elements that I bought last year before I need to replace the full set, and so it goes on! Poor husband Mark!

We are in a time that I would never have expected to be in, in my lifetime. Let’s hope we all take something positive from this when we are back to normal and appreciate what we have and can do more than ever.

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