NCCD Art Club

7 Sep 2020 – 10 Jan 2021

Online

The isolation of lockdown has been difficult and challenging for many. Everyone’s experience of Covid-19 has been unique and as we all try to make sense of the last few months, we want to unite our community through creativity to help us all respond, recover and look ahead to a new world.

Through craft, design, making and performing we’re encouraging everyone to unleash their creativity and improve their health and wellbeing at this time.

The National Centre for Craft & Design has called for creative responses to four themes that link to our current exhibition and the wider COVID-19 pandemic.

Creative responses that explore thoughts, feelings and experiences have been presented in a range of media (visual arts in 2D or 3D, digital, craft, performing arts, dance, written/spoken word, music, creative writing, etc.)

The 4 themes are:

Inside / Outside
Creative Healing
Joy & Happiness
What’s your daily medicine?

Theme 1: Inside / Outside

Artists were given the below synopsis to work towards:

Think about the inside of your body or mind. How can you show and interpret how you feel on the inside through art and creativity? Imagine the workings of the body you cannot see?

iQueen

Arati Reddy-Devlin

Acrylic paints, coloured ink, metallic pens, rotring pen

The contrast between metal fabric woven into a natural tree texture of Jan Bowman’s work is a theme of stark Contrasts. My exploration of Contrasts is a layering of an alternative man-made world of robotics, contrasting to a past age of Medieval times. I am intrigued how our understanding of human anatomy from dissections from the age of Queen Elizabeth 1 has advanced to modern AI. My composition ‘iQueen’ references this Golden Era with a classical composition and textures, including ‘Gloriana’ style headgear to contrast with advanced understanding of how the body works with Artificial Intelligence of the 21st Century.

Isolation June

Derek Goldsmith

Recycled materials, Table football components, electric motor & LED illumination

Figure repeatedly kicks a football against the Perspex window of the box. The figures actions portray the frustration of confinement while the sound of the ball being struck and running back to the figures feet suggests the rhythmical sound of breathing.

Sedia Fuori

Giuseppina Santoro

Brick maquette

Sedia Fuori is a reoccurring theme in my work. The humble chair is taken out of its usual place and displaced outside. The artwork is a metaphorical symbol and a self-portrait. Recently during the pandemic I have felt like I’m suffocating. Sometimes the breathlessness is overwhelming. I play with the idea that I can escape to another world. A miniature world. The miniature chair is re-born. I am now inside out.

R

Jane Cowan

Stone

The letter R is most letter carver’s favourite member of the alphabet – a satisfying representation of all the strokes he/she will use in their craft with its vertical and oblique strokes and a ‘bowl’. However, this small innocuous form has been given a sinister new undertone in the last six months, as the representation of how many people we may unwittingly infect with the COVID-19 virus. The R-rate represents what may be lie inside any one of us, the fear of the unseen and its implications.

The Wedge Between Us

Janet Farahar

Thread on embroidery linen

The work, The Wedge Between Us, is a literal response to the theme of Inside/Outside, focusing on the Government’s instruction to stay at home due to the Covid-19 coronavirus. It is a personal attestation of the isolation experienced during those weeks of imposed lockdown; a time spent alone, distanced from my partner, and ostensibly cut off from the outside world.

The Contents of My Head

Kelly Barfoot

Typewriter print, triptych

I’ve been recording my dreams during lockdown and have noticed how my fears and anxieties are reflected back to me through my subconscious. Intensely personal works, the innermost workings of my mind have been represented as androgynous human forms using a vintage typewriter. Some bits will make sense, some won’t, some bits are funny, some are weird and like dreams themselves there is an unfinished nature at the edges where things blur into one another. The process has helped me get to know my thinking, instead of instantly forgetting my dreams upon waking; I’m sharing insight with myself.

Inner Sacrum

Paul Sutherland

Poem

A shell seems a metaphor for what is exposed and damaged sometimes on the outside like the human body but also retains an inner quality like the mind on the inside. I play with the idea that this inwardness connects with origins of humanity like picking up a shell and listening to the ocean. The first verse is in the past tense representing the history that has affected the shell/body. The second verse is in the present tense emphasising the object’s immediate reality. The poem ends with a couple portraying the shell’s inner sacredness, its hint of an ‘unfathomable ocean’.

Inner Sacrum

Its archaic hardness ended up scarred
against jade-green-curls in a typhoon
the white cone shell was hurled ashore
washed over and round by ringing surf
its spiralled shape like a creature’s horn
laid wrecked then left bedded in sand.

Its coiled edges turn fawn and fragile
once more scooped and wave-glassed
until its natal contours are worn away.
Miniscule cracks form and silt invades
its cavern with its thumb-sized opening.
Yet it can’t be partnered with the terrain.
Will continue to be an alien handing on
rumblings from an unfathomable ocean.

A Penny for Them

Sarah Goddard

Linocut, water-based ink on Wenzhou paper (edition of 10)

A Penny for Them shows three imagined homunculi (a very small human or humanoid creature) within the mind, working its cogs. Two of them are working hard but against one another, futilely trying to turn cogs in opposite directions. These cogs grinding against each other represent the troubled state of a mind where competing ideas flood together, making it hard to come to any decision. The third homunculus has settled down inside its cog to take time out from this discord. Reading a book, the third homunculus nudges us to escape from the daily grind and to let our mind run free.

ISOLATED CLOUDS of Stale Dried Milk in my Coffee

Simon Le Boggit

Video (5 min)

When I ran out of milk (none in the shops) I had to resort to a tin of stale dried milk – instead of dissolving properly into my coffee, it formed slowly billowing clouds which drew me into them, kind of locking into the mindless gaziness that has been familiar to me during lockdown. I think it’s a good representation of how I’ve sometimes been feeling inside during these weird times.

Theme 2: Creative Healing

Artists were given the below synopsis to work towards:

What helps you mend? Do you have a hobby or pastime that helps you to restore a sense of wellbeing and balance? Explore your inner creativity and see how it helps you heal.

Cherry Pie, Mermaids’ Tails and Rainbows

Andrea Parsons

Tapestry weaving - Cotton, Wool and Polyester

Lockdown allowed me to rekindle my love of tapestry weaving and to be creative. When I am weaving it takes me to another place where time stands still. I am in the present playing with colour, form and texture, this is my creative healing. As my mum says, “Keep creating it is good for the brain and soul.”

This tapestry was inspired by a forest school session; I led with key worker children in June. It is homage to the magical, creative world of children’s play in nature; cherry pie, mermaids’ tails and rainbows – absolutely necessary to children’s well-being.

Firedance

Carol Ashmere

Mixed Metals

This simple sculpture brings together two things that I turn to in anxious times -Yoga and Art. Both are always present, but become central when things get tough. The sculpture represents the healing power of Yoga through the balance Natarajasana, the dancer - a reminder to breathe slowly, to become still and grounded, and to connect with the fiery strength within the body. This connection with fire is echoed by the lighter that grounds the sculpture. The mirror reflects the qualities embodied in the pose, qualities much needed during the pandemic - calmness, strength and self-belief.

Pattern of Life: A Collaborative Sketchbook Project

Lucy Young, Phoebe Young, Evelyn Jennings, Emily Jennings, Clare Clarke

Mixed media sketchbooks

Before the pandemic I started a collaborative sketchbook project with my Mum, two sisters and daughter (ages from 22yrs to 82yrs). We have five small sketchbooks, each of us working in one for three weeks in any media under the theme of ‘patterns of life’ (little did we realise just how the ‘pattern of life’ was about to change!). The plan was to meet up for a coffee and cake every three weeks and share what we had done and swap book with someone else. We then had to work in this next book continuing on from the last sketch either through theme, medium or colour etc. So each book has work from each member of the group in it. We had one such meeting and then lockdown happened. But we still have worked in these sketchbooks, sharing our efforts on Zoom every three weeks (with coffee and cake of course!) and swapping books on doorsteps while delivering milk etc. whenever we can. It has been an amazing way of keeping a feeling of togetherness. We have laughed lots, learned from each other, and experimented with ideas. We are planning to continue the project until the sketchbooks are full.

Small Treasures

Lucy Young

Broken shell, woven grass and thread

I feel a sense of calm on the beach looking out to sea, reassured by the fact that the world is so vast and I am such a small part of it; it puts things in perspective. A broken shell found in the tide line marks the passage of time, a great healer in itself. By mending this tiny, fragile fragment with a patch woven from dune grasses and gold thread I hope to have created a feeling of treasuring the small, easily overlooked things in life; a fragment from the tide line of lockdown.

Cowslip Pebble

Jane Cowan

Stone

Ever since I was a child I have needed to spend time in nature to keep my sense of well-being and balance. This has been more important to me than ever this year, as so many others have found. I keep an illustrated nature journal, and often sketch outside. One of the joys of spring, despite the UK being in the height of the pandemic lockdown, was seeing the wildflowers emerge irrespective of our troubles. With more time to enjoy them this year, I was able to paint and carve them while they were still in flower.

Glasswing

Jules Allen

Concertina book made from antique pale blue laid paper and repair tissue with acrylic cover boards

Butterfly Summer

Jules Allen

Altered book with repair tissue and rebound in green leather

‘Butterfly Summer’ was discarded from my local library due to its state of disrepair.

When lockdown began, I retreated to my studio and re-read the book finding that some of the words within it had a strange correlation with those being broadcast in the news as well as my own emotional turmoil.

I began extracting the words with a scalpel, resulting in a 144 page ‘companion’ book and then returned to the original which I rebound in leather and lovingly restored the damaged pages with Japanese tissue; an act of healing and reparation for both myself and the book.

Noticing

Kelly Barfoot

Eggshells and cyanotype

I have walked outside every day during lockdown and discovered many wonderful new footpaths and wildlife along the way, taking notice of nature has been my healing and my sanity. On each mini journey I’ve picked up feathers, grasses, little flowers or interestingly shaped leaves that have caught my attention. I wanted to preserve these memories through cyanotype printing and as egg shells represent new life and hope they seemed the ideal receptacle and an opportunity to experiment with a very different surface. The shells are fragile and beautiful, as is life; each one contains a little story of creative healing.

Kidney Stonehenge

Simon Le Boggit

Micro-sculpture from kidney stones

During stressful times, I sometimes feel the need to confront and dwell upon a problem which can’t be ignored – easier said than done when feeling overwhelmed. I find that creating artwork can help to process and defuse things – a kind of creative healing. KIDNEY STONE HENGE is the culmination of a couple of stressful years disrupted by medical procedures to remove potentially life threatening stones from my kidneys. I felt that such a gargantuan endeavour – both personally, and from our perpetually embattled NHS – needed to be marked by construction of an appropriately fragile/weighty monument from surviving stone fragment.

Let’s Play

Gudrun Ståhl Sharpley

Archival ink on acid free grey paper

There is nothing as levelling as interacting with animals, particularly horses, as they take you at face value. There are no hidden agendas. When you establish a rapport it is an honour as you have established a proper give and take relationship. I find that rewarding and in addition to the give and take relationship, you also have fun which makes you smile. It puts everything in its proper perspective, reminding you that you have to enjoy the here and now.

For me the work ‘Let’s Play’ encapsulates this. I enjoyed the challenge of creating work with this energy.

Pages Of Poor Poetry

Janet Farahar

Thread on embroidery linen

Writing about my thoughts, fears, anger, joy, etc; can be very cathartic. The structure of the haiku, with its three lines and seventeen syllables (5,7,5), helps to concentrate those thoughts. Whether the poems have any merit is irrelevant - it’s the process that’s important, and the visual aesthetic that derives from that idea of writing poetry.

Crossing the Bar

Paul Sutherland

Poem

Crossing the Bar, A Gift from Granddad, tells how my Granddad gave me a picture with Tennyson’s poem printed on card, which my Granddad refined into art ‘who mounted, glazed and framed it’. The poem reflects how situations like immigration, depression and expectation of death can be better understood and tempered through art. The art of Tennyson is passed on to my Granddad and his passed on to me. The poem illustrates a creative inheritance: the original words helped Tennyson, the art helped my Granddad and now my poem helps me and those who read it.

‘Crossing the Bar’

A Gift from Granddad

I stare into your gift, like a well,
trusting to see your reflection.
You took Tennyson’s poem
printed on flimsy card, you
mounted, glazed and framed it.
You were a poet and craftsman
and with your artisan skill
made it look like art.

I can’t remember when you
pressed it into my hands
to be valued forever.
It was before leaving my homeland.
I re-read the Laureate’s words.
You loved his stylish rhyming
but used straightforward speaking
when I was about to embark
‘We come into this world alone
and alone we’ll leave it.’

I look longingly at your object,
its discolouring, foxing on
both sides and above the title
like beauty spots, growing old
somehow beautifies the thing
and makes it almost secret ―
no longer a universal poem
but an intimate reminder.

Grandpa, you offered this memento
so perhaps in time I would recall
that in youth you were my pilot
when I was eager to throw every-
thing away you chose subtly a poem
about death to re-inspire me with life
to be a benchmark I should aim for.

You’ve been gone forty years and still
I miss your directing hand and sense.
I stare too long through the clear
sheet, past fancy script, into depths
trying to imagine you, to conjure
some moment we shared in trust
as a grandfather and grandson can.
And yet, your see-through glass
deceives, it merely reflects me
and my preparation and crossing
from this world; not so far ahead.
You, no doubt, expected your gift
would have that purpose some hour
when handing it on like an heirloom.
It had helped you. It will help me.

Bee Kind

Sarah Goddard

Limited edition reduction linocut

At the start of lockdown I was unwell, anxious and had lost my sense of creativity. Our situation of social distancing and isolation made me think of us as families living within the individual cells of a beehive, together but separate. The wonderful key workers and volunteers are still out there, demonstrating wonderful kindness and bravery. Bee Kind is also a reminder of the power of kindness and self-care. I found the meditative process of cutting and printing a reduction linocut over a couple of weeks very calming, and it helped to restore my creativity.

Theme 3: Joy & Happiness

Artists were given the below synopsis to work towards:

What makes you happy? What brings you joy? What are the things that lift your spirits and inspire you?

SOfaDance

Amy O’Sullivan

Video (08 min 41 secs)

Covid-19 has brought about considerable change to our daily routines, embracing the use of technology to connect families, friends and communities has become the new normal. SOfaDance is an inclusive dance project in which over 50 participants across the UK explored their own understanding of a simple instructive soundscape through emotive movement, starting and ending the movement exploration from their own sofa. Each showcase offers an insight into individuals’ inspirations, playful improvisation and willingness to share while socially distant. It starts with a seat and ends with a dance. This is SOfaDance.

Lockdown Forest

Andrea McHugh

Acrylic on paper

During lockdown I explored my local area so much and discovered places that I never knew existed. This gave me so much joy and lifted my spirits so much. I began to paint some of these places and this also made me happy as I created my Lockdown Forest series. This picture is one from that series of some ancient woodland that I found, and where I spent as much time as I could with my dogs for company. It’s so true that the green, hidden spaces of nature really do heal.

At Home in Nature

Eve Lawrence & Grace Lawrence

Quilted patchwork wall hanging

Our wall hanging depicts the natural world and the joy and happiness it always brings to us. During lockdown we grew to love our daily walks and time spent in the garden, enjoying the sunshine and admiring the flowers and butterflies.

Working together on projects and learning new and traditional skills has been uplifting too. In an effort to be kinder to the earth, we have worked with mostly reclaimed materials, some of which have been naturally dyed using turmeric and onion skins.

Iris

Evelyn Jennings

Watercolour and hand embroidery

I have been hand stitching for nearly 75 years and it has always brought me joy and quietness. My Iris is painted on fabric, then stitched using silk and cotton threads

The first flower to bloom in my garden during lockdown was the Iris.

Iris comes from the Greek word meaning rainbow, an appropriate subject for a lockdown project. It also has specific meanings including hope, wisdom and faith, which also seem particularly relevant for the present time.

Let us all hope that when the Iris flowers again next year the world will be in a better place.

Sunflower

Karoline Rerrie

Screen print, limited edition

During lockdown I started working with simple hand cut paper stencils to screen print layers of shapes, patterns and colours. I enjoyed the process of carefully cutting stencils as well as the printmaking and both activities helped take my mind off everything else that was going on. I created lots of bright coloured prints which cheered me up and the finished Sunflower screen print is a particularly happy joyful image.

Water - A Mental Sanctuary

Mia Kendall

Gouache on canvas

This piece represents how water can be a mental and physical healer and sanctuary for me and many other people, therefore relieving our heads of all the negative thoughts leaving only room for beauty and happiness. I created this layered piece to show that water can transport you to wonderful, magical places, both physically but also mentally. Being surrounded by such a calming body of water whilst lying under the stars can help you to your upmost happiness. My piece relates to the theme because, in short, water makes me feel joy and happiness.

The Wave

Nell Swift

Hand woven cotton

I weave my landscape and I’m locked down and landlocked. I miss the sea, the breaking waves of my native Yorkshire coast. I dream of Staithes, breathe in the sea air, hear the cries of the nesting gulls and feel the sand in my toes. As I weave I escape to the sea, feel the stress fall from my shoulders and dream of simple things, swimming and shared meals, searching for shells and seaglass. The sea is my solace and my joy.

Go bananas in lockdown

Linda Wilson

Polymer clay and pine sculpture

I’ve always had an affinity with animals. My mum says I’m like Dr Doolittle as animals just seem to like me. I also love sculpting. I’m self-taught and my real love is sculpting animals. I can’t tell you the absolute joy it brings me when I have an idea and then it actually works. I did a series of animals in lockdown. It’s a good de-stress and I like to think my pieces make people happy too.

Sublime

Nick Steel

Poem

Sublime is a poem I wrote as a tribute to the importance of time and its relevance in building a relationship with a loved one. Specifically, in my case, this was aimed at my significant other.

Waking from a dream one morning I looked at the date on my phone and realised that the moment was fast approaching where we would have been in each other’s lives longer than the duration of our time on Earth before we met. Something about that simple calculation filled me with happiness; I hope it will get others thinking when they read this poem.

Sublime

Soon there will be a date,
a year, a day, a set up numbers
which defines the specific
moment in time when
we’ve been each other’s lives
more than just our own lives without.

There’s invisible rubber bands
between us that stretch each morning
when you go of to do your thing
and I mine, and I’m proud of what
we’ve each achieved, but prouder still
what we have both together.

A love that never judges,
never needs to question,
doesn’t ask if there was any spare change from the shops,
replaces sighs and grumps for
soda bread, cheese, red wine
sideways sofa hugs, seats reclined,
naff fluffy thermal socks,
apologetic mugs of tea
with farm shop pear frangipanes.

Soon there will be a date,
a moment in time where
our lives have been intertwined
longer than your company
was simply just yours
and my company was
just mine, and that thought
has me feeling just sublime.

iREM

Arati Redd-Devlin

Acrylic paint and black pen

I was inspired by the works by Laura Youngson-Coll whose 3D representations of cells and neurons (my interpretation), relates to my piece entitled ‘iREM’, which represents my enjoyment of working on the theme of robotics and mechanical parts. As a creative person I wanted to explore the inner workings of our mind particularly at the most creative time for me during REM time when images are the most vibrant and intense. In this painting, I have tried to capture some of what I see as shapes and forms of mechanical birds and the working parts of the brain.

Please, won’t you play with me?!

Douglas Hollick

Digital Photography

My border collie Bess loves playing, particularly her soft rubber lattice ball, and always wants a game! Her exuberant joyful character brings happiness on the darkest days, and during lockdown months has been such a source of happiness!

Swoosh

Hana Horack-Elyafi

Acrylic on canvas

This work was inspired by trips to Theddlethorpe Dunes and the infinite Lincolnshire skies. Nothing

matters anymore when I’m down at the ocean, all the worries blow away and I feel connected to the

Infinite Creation.

Gloaming candle piece

Jane Cowan

Lincoln Limestone and gold

Sitting down to a family meal around our farmhouse kitchen table, hearing about each other’s day with laughter, opinions, sometimes discord and always non-stop chatter is source of such joy for me. In the last few weeks I have made a centre-piece for the table, to be lit as we sit and talk as the seasons mellow and the nights start drawing in. Twilight is a word still much in use, but I prefer the Old English/Scots word gloaming to describe the part of the day when the sun has set and the world begins to settle for the night.

Notes From The Garden

Janet Farahar

Thread on embroidery linen

During lockdown I found that simple pleasures such as sitting in the garden brought joy and happiness.

All of Me

Kelly Barfoot

2D Chemigram work, diptych

A chemigram is a cameraless photograph, made by taking photographic paper through developer and fixative chemicals in day light rather than in a darkroom, artists tend to work with resist to block the reaction of the chemicals. For additional interest, the developer I used was plant based (made from herbs from the garden, vitamin C and soda crystals) as I am experimenting with sustainable darkroom alternatives to the harsh chemicals usually used for developing film and making prints.

For this diptych I covered my face and hair in Vaseline to create an imprinted resist when I processed the paper in developer (anything not imprinted with Vaseline turned black) and then in the fix I rubbed away the Vaseline to allow the fixative to lighten the paper.

Watching my husband go through grief after losing his mother recently, I noticed how the family were gaining comfort by looking through old photos, triggering their memories of joy, happiness and love. I made this self-portrait to capture all that I am and to make an image in turn for my son which was more than just digital pixels. Using the chemigram process, every single detail on each side of my face is directly recorded onto light sensitive photographic paper. I appreciate it’s not a ‘normal’ photograph, I wanted to create an imprint, something I had touched to leave behind.

On Kollam Beach

Paul Sutherland

Prose Poem

On Kollam Beach relates to the author watching boys hoisting kites high into space: they stay aloft. The boys running along the shore are happy, excited and committed to their kite flying. The kite-fliers’ joy is contagious and affects the author’s watches and observes. He experiences increasing pleasure as he absorbs more and more of the boys’ wonder at their kites flying above the city’s haze. Happiness is often experienced as an elevation of the heart, the ascending kites are symbols of the boys’ elation. As the author watches he too feels lifted from the earth in happiness and amazement.

On Kollam Beach

Standing on sand I watched, as twilit kids hoist kites higher than imagined. The colourful stretched rectangles shuddered with paper tails shimmying. Lines bowed and extended towards disappearance. Kites climbed above food booths which cast haloes into engulfing darkness. A short afterglow, a respite, had passed. Fliers persisted, running the shore’s length. The moon urging light against smog, kites soared above, skimming haze. Only half following, the boys could not see to where their created things ascended. With fantastic skills, they had made flimsy designs that towered above worlds. Space hushed: no airliners, fighters; kites ruled, trembled, swooping until regaining altitude. I sank into the sand from the pleasure of observing. A hundred danced above the percussion of pounding surf. The beach tilted against the Arabian Sea. Signs in Hindi and English numbered deaths of bathers; some had misread the undertow that hauled the earth into chaotic water. The kite-displayers aimed aspirations toward the night, not conquering Ocean. Yet those determined youngsters, I guessed, would companion any who fenced with waves. My disturbed senses embraced the kite-art. The shaking acrobats, high above electric wires, echoed my emotions. To an awed dreaminess, the kites turned into rapt creatures — for the boys, a new sky full of fragile eagles.

Theme 4: What’s your daily medicine?

Artists were given the below synopsis to work towards:

What do you do every day to keep well? What is your medicine (literal or metaphorical)?

Shadows

Karen Lane

Merino & Viscose fibres, embroidery silks. Wet felted and hand embroidered wall-hanging

My daily medicine is my morning walk with my dog. Apart from the obvious physical benefit I find these sessions also have a very positive impact on my psychological well being. I use this time to think, to appreciate nature and to look for source material for my textile art.

This piece was inspired by the lacy shadows cast from trees seen while walking the Viking Way in early lockdown. I used these as a starting point for an abstract wet felted wall-hanging. My work is very tactile and textural and the more I stitched the more I felt a connection with the trees that had originally cast the shadows.

All I Need

Kelly Barfoot

Chlorophyll print on a hosta leaf (alternative and cameraless photographic process)

My daily medicine comes so easily to mind, maybe a cliché but it’s the basics of family, friends, laughter and fresh air. These things get me through my illness. My piece of work shows an image of my son laughing with abandon, printed on a leaf using the chlorophyll process. Fresh air and sunshine, essential for my daily wellbeing, bleach back the chlorophyll in the unprotected areas of the leaf and overtime leave an image. The print is not permanent, but neither are we as humans, I see its ephemerality as fitting, it will gradually fade away over time.

Sitting on a rock

Reed (Max Sander)

Song (2.33 min)

Music, it’s not just what I do every day to get me through life, this song also ties very well in with the current situation. It’s my lockdown song written, recorded, and produced by me.

Blue Sky Dreaming

Andrea McHugh

Acrylic

Throughout the stress and anxiety of lockdown my daily medicine to help me cope was to get outside. And then I tried to paint what I saw. On the greyest of days I would always feel better as I indulged in some blue sky dreaming of hot afternoons when the fields were gold and the wildflowers so beautiful that they took my breath away. I think, with the dark nights coming, this daily medicine will be more important than ever. I hope it makes you smile. These are wild sweet Williams, seen growing by the roadside at Ancaster.

Lincoln Limestone bowl

Jane Cowan

Limestone

Crafting an object can be all-consuming - time becomes irrelevant and hours can be lost. My daily sliding open of the large battered door to my workshop still engenders the most wonderful sense of anticipation and belonging, even after twenty years. Working stone requires total, simple concentration. Day by day the object slowly takes form, moulded by slow, steady, rhythmic tapping. That daily dose of forming a shapeless lump of stone into smooth lines, a functional or beautiful object remains as addictive, exciting and therapeutic to me as it has always been.

Walking the Dog

Lucy Young

A mixed media collaged zig-zag book

My daily walk with the dog is a time for contemplation and exercise. We walk the same route every day along a farm track straight from our back door. Monty the dog zig zags across the path ahead of me with his head down sniffing the ground and tail wagging in the long grass - the highlight of his day.

During lockdown it became a family affair, much to Monty’s excitement. It gave us routine, becoming the highlight of our day too. It was a time to notice the skylark singing high above, watch the crops grow and count ourselves lucky.

The Orphans’ Birds

Paul Sutherland

Poem

The Orphans’ Birds is published in my collection Children’s Routes and Red Streamers (Chaffinch Press). The poem relates to how the orphans in this Indian institution (Ma’adin) understand what their love birds need, their medicine and importantly how the more obvious nearby ‘fig tree’ is not their medicine. In some ways I hope the reader senses how the conspicuous is often not our best medicine to heal our disaffections of body and soul. Perhaps the child-orphans sense in their circumstances that they need particular special medicine.

The Orphans’ Birds

At the Ma’adin Academy, in the blistering light
young male orphans announce them, love birds
joined as if one, on separate perches, and hear
affectionate chirp chirping chirping trills.
They feed every green and yellow budgerigar,
if their light wings stop quivering long enough,
with screwed up foliage through the cage’s wire
each opening smaller than an infant’s finger.
The birds with a scissor action snip the green
close by the fig tree with its enveloping shade,
the boys though understand those fruiting branches are no source for the love birds’ nutritious leaves.

And Relax

Sarah Goddard

Linocut: water-based ink on kraft card

The artwork depicts a comforting cup of tea or coffee, with AND spelt out in steam above the cup, and RELAX on the side of the cup. This encourages us to take time out every day to have a moment for ourselves and to completely relax, forgetting our daily tasks for the duration of that drink. The artwork is printed on a greetings card, so this exhortation to take simple steps to self-care can be shared with others.