For the second time this year, we find ourselves hunkering down at home, in the face of a global pandemic. For many of us who live and work from home alone, life hasn't changed significantly for me.
The pros and cons of creative isolation is all to familiar to me, rarely talking to anyone but my chickens and cats in a day, listening to your own play list, enjoying the satisfaction of super productivity (you have no distractions ... at all) but having no one to share your hopes, fears, thoughts and feelings with. My work companion is my cat BiBi, who is rarely more than an arms length away from me whilst I am working in my design studio in Devon.
When the second lockdown in 2020 was looming, I got my ducks in a row ... I went on a couple of walking weekends with friends, got a summer house built so I could spend time in my garden with my chickens without getting wet, bought a stack of art materials and picture frames, invested in another 16kg of gluten free bread flour and set to with anything else I needed to do before the time came to batten down the hatches.
And I have travelled ... all over the world, from the comfort of my drawing board. Whilst votes were being cast and counted in the USA elections, I found myself in Connecticut, Pennsylvania and North Carolina with brush and ink. Drawing my way around some of America's most beautiful and breathtaking states, exploring the vast Appalachian Mountains and cute, coastal towns, my wanderlust was quenched in the comfort and safety of my design studio.
Last week I travelled to Toronto, Wiltshire and Bangkok through my art. Design commission still trickle in despite the fact that most shops are shut and customers to my website ask me time and time again to draw their own home town or county. As my archive of travel art prints grows, my joy of discovery continues to be expressed through spirited line, quirky colour palettes and a child like wonder of the world around us.
Outside work, my super productivity means that I get time out to walk down to the coast near to my home and onto the South West Coast Path and Jurassic Heritage Coastline. Sometimes I take a dip in the sea, even in November. It's great for the immune system and stress ... apparently, and if I'm lucky I get to say hello to a curious grey seal, whose territory I swim into off Rodney Bey. Zoom yoga and online Body Balance classes throughout the week keep me moving and motivated as does catching up with family and friends, which now includes a kitchen disco on a Friday night.
This spring and summer, when the world locked down, workloads lightened and our homes and neighbourhoods became our focus. Time was redirected towards introspection and connecting with loved ones at a distance and when I experienced the joy of a simple life and made friends with solitude. Second time around, I'm digging deeper and embracing the unique benefits that hunkering down at home alone brings.