Creative Ideas For Lockdown From Sarah Wiseman
Today on the blog, art gallery owner Sarah Wiseman takes us on a tour of creativity, to help us find inspiration and ideas to ignite our imaginations and kindle our inner creative. >>
Time is a luxury we were all striving to gain more of before the pandemic, but now it is forced upon us we all sometimes struggle to know what do with it. There is a sense that we all need to become masters of a new skill in order to feel that we have ‘achieved’ during our lockdown time. However in reality this does not match our feelings or motivation, tackling some huge online course or grappling to learn a new language takes tremendous head space and energy, and let’s face it we all have a lot to think about right now.
Many have turned to exploring their creativity, using the other side of the brain to find space and relaxation. I am not talking about discovering your inner Picasso, but more like getting back to that joyous freedom we all see in a child sat making a mess with paints. It is about letting go and having a go.
Artists are the most giving people I know and they have fully embraced this period with speed and ingenuity. Many have found it hard to sit down and create art works at their normal pace but have found sharing ideas and teaching to be a truly wonderful release, connecting them to new communities.
This creative energy is our collective gain, the internet is awash with new courses and resources for us all to enjoy at whatever level we wish to join in at. Here is a mini guide to explore, taking you through some practical classes, TV shows and virtual museum exhibits, I hope there is something for everyone.
As this is the Indie Oxford Blog let’s start local with OVADA, (Oxfordshire Visual Arts Development Agency) each week through their Instagram page they set a creative task and they then ask you to submit your efforts to be shared with their audience. One week it was to make a face from food – the results were awesome and hilarious. Everything is made from things you have at home and the big advantage is no extra materials are needed! The team at OVADA also have a wider community project and if you are into your crafting join in, they are making a quilt to document this time, read the guidelines, make your square and submit, for now it will be digital and in the future the quilt will be assembled and exhibited.
There are many online art courses out there, but the best one in my opinion, is on Instagram the @isolationartschool. Why? Well you can get art lessons from some of the country’s leading artists. There are fantastic projects aimed at children and adults, so everyone can join in. The courses are fun too, not just a life drawing class, there are more crafty based projects too like, clothes peg catapults (might try that later) or tissue stained glass. Join in and get messy!
Even already creative people like a prompt to try something new and British fashion brand Alexander McQueen have been running an amazing project called #McQueenCreators. Every week they set a creative task to have a go at, each one relating to an element of their brand ethos. Have a go at fashion illustration, fabric printing, making 3-d flowers, or a bee. The idea is that you make things with what you have at home and they have tapped into some brilliant people to guide and give inspiration. This week there is a photography prompt and I have been going around having fun getting creative and photographing the garden with my iPhone. All a bit much? Just follow the hashtag to see just how many awesome creative people there are in the world, it is very inspirational. Some of the images have gone on to be included in a national advertising campaign.
TV has not been slow to respond and the BBC already had two shows up its sleeve! The Repair Shop and the Sewing Bee, I love both programs for different reasons. The Repair Shop for its wonderful story telling and incredible conservators, the skills of those people! The show believes in the power of objects to hold memories and to never give up on something no matter how broken and decrepit it has become. The Sewing Bee, OK full disclosure here, I have been a keen sewer all my life, so this programme is nectar to me! I find it incredible to watch these people throwing themselves into challenging projects, made harder by the time limit. However in real life sewing can be taken slowly and I know that this show encourages many people to either return to sewing again or have a go as a beginner. I can say from experience there is nothing better than getting a compliment on a garment you have created! The mix of people in this year’s programme is wonderful, I love them all, can’t wait to see who the winner is!
Channel 4 has for a long time made programmes with the nation’s art hero Grayson Perry. Grayson has an incredible way of breaking down barriers and getting people involved, so I was thrilled to read that he would be running an art club from his studio. Grayson’s Art Club is inspiring people to get stuck in and have a go and as he says ‘anything goes’! Viewers take part by submitting art works based on the prompts with the chance of being selected and talking to Grayson on the programme. He also shares with us how he creates, chats with other famous artists and celebrity guests. It is a wonderful show and you can just create and not submit if you are feeling shy – but the key thing is to get creative. Works from the TV show will eventually be included in an exhibition that will act as a creative document to ‘changing moods of Britain in isolation and provide a record of the historic times we’ve lived through.’
I bring our creative journey to a close with museums, these giants of culture may have their doors closed at the moment but they have thrown themselves into the online experiment, finding new ways to engage us in their exhibitions. Most of the large UK museums have brilliant digital platforms and you can find out what is going on through either their social media pages or websites, so check them out. The Royal Academy for example has been sharing some incredible delights, I for one had ‘missed’ the Picasso on Paper exhibition due to lockdown but was able to enjoy it online instead!
We can also travel further afield and this is where I have been having a lot of fun! The Italian culture ministry has a huge list of museums with lockdown experiences, one of my favourites was the virtual tour of the Raphael exhibition in Rome, an exhibition I would not have got to see without the lockdown and it is wonderful – you even get to practice some Italian too!
Collaborating with others has been a key feature of lockdown and this online resource by Google Arts about Frida Kahlo is a fantastic example. The detail is incredible, we can walk through her house, find out about the plants in her garden, learn about the traditional costume she wore and so much more. Frida Kahlo was a master of her own image and all of these details about her life are relevant to her paintings. She is now so globally iconic, but why, who is Frida? Find out and discover more about one of my favourite artists.
This is in no way an exhaustive list of all the simply amazing things you can do creatively during lockdown, so whether you get messy and do some painting or visit an exhibition online, enjoy losing yourself in the online world of creativity for a little while…….