Ruth Collett: Lockdown Visual Diary

Ruth Collett is a ceramicist making paperclay and earthenware pieces inspired by the patterns of the Yorkshire Wolds, the busy lives of bees and textured forms slumped by gravity. She is usually based at Woodend Creative Workspace in Scarborough, but has been self-isolating during the pandemic.

"Before the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown I had a ceramics studio and was teaching practical arts and art history to adult learners, then suddenly I was alone in my flat, self-isolating 24/7. Making daily ipad drawings came about as a way of exploring my reactions to the complete and sudden change of life patterns as I had been living them. This daily practice has been a major factor in maintaining my mental health, and creating a feeling that I am still working, communicating and sharing ideas.

I have always created self-portraits as a means of understanding my evolving relationship with gender, sexuality, mental health and disability so continuing this work on the ipad feels like a natural progression. What was surprising was my compulsion to create pattern, shape and colour to express my daily state, and to work mindfully but not critically. Using my finger rather than a stylus on the screen added to the commitment and energy of the mark-making. I created images I would not have done in another medium – it freed me to be immediate and responsive to what was going on and how I felt about it.

This strand relates strongly to my photographic practice where I play with scale and perception, capturing the repeating patterns in nature, examining form and shape and moving into abstraction. I intend to continue this daily practice as I have found that it generates ideas, lends itself to political commentary, makes me laugh and reveals an inner life of colour and movement. It has been a valuable antidote to the persistent feelings of isolation and incarceration that are an integral part of living through lockdown."

You can see more of Ruth's work on her website

CuratorSpace are currently featuring articles by artists, curators and organisations who want to share their experiences of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, whether that is artists using their practice as a way of exploring new boundaries of isolation, or as a way to connect more broadly with their communities. We are also interested in hearing from curators and organisations who are offering support to artists and audiences during this time.

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