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Insights: Alison Brown on lockdown – trapped or protected?

A site specific object created during lockdown, and the accompanying film, by Alison Brown:
When lockdown started I was bereft, disorientated and isolated in rural Devon. Trapped. Gradually, through experimentation; by stretching and pulling at ideas, I uncovered a new strand of work. Knotting nets to catch fish reminded of the exquisite woven bamboo and grass traps I’d seen in the Pitt Rivers ethnological museum in Oxford.
Entwining rusty wire into hand held ‘containers’ for porcelain pipefish, which soon grew into huggable sizes to contain larger objects. The process of weaving became a meditative act as new ways of making emerged from isolation and loneliness.
Along with twisting wire and rolling out porcelain for hundreds of clay fish were the daily dog walks in the nearby bluebell wood. The restorative power of exercise is well known, so when I came across the fallen ‘spider’ tree while out with Lola I knew I had to make a site specific piece and record a moment in time.
This is the origin of my new Walk in the Wood – Sputniks video, featuring the wire and porcelain Birth of Sputniks? sculpture. Dreamy specks floating in the breeze, mossy limbed branches, Louise Bourgeois’ Maman in the woods? Something unidentifiable gently sways beneath protective legs. Is this where sputniks are made?
It’s basically all about being trapped or protected during lockdown.

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Liz Cooper


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