Lockdown Stories Zine: #01

In March 2020 the country closed down. We were told to stay at home, not travel, not meet family and friends and not wander too far from our homes.

This sudden change in everyone’s lives, including our students, was bound to be difficult and challenging. At the same time, it was to be a period of continued creativity. Bedrooms turned into studios, airing cupboards became recording studios and kitchens formed the vlogging backdrops.

In an effort to capture and showcase this creativity, we put a call out to our students to see what they were making and producing in reaction to lockdown. We received over 50 responses which you’ll see throughout the pages in this series of zines. We have collected artwork, podcasts and short films amongst other inspirational outputs to share with our Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology community to reflect on the exceptional circumstances we found ourselves in and to remind ourselves that creativity still thrives in the most difficult of times.

Take a look at edition one below, we will be posting the series of zines on our WOO: Windows of Opportunity blog here – so keep your eyes open!

Nadine El-Morabie – Art and Design Foundation Year

My studio practice didn’t really change a lot during the coronavirus lockdown. I always work in a quiet and sunny place with some music playing, so I just created a studio in a sunny corner in the living room near the window because I prefer to work in natural sunlight. 

Once I have gathered my ideas and references, I start working and practicing but I never change the place where I work because it helps me to brainstorm and refresh my ideas. I work alone but I always care about other people’s opinions about my work. 

I worked hard on my project this semester and I was worried about how I would be able to share it with an audience. I hope after the pandemic I can easily share my latest artworks with others and participate in upcoming competitions and exhibitions. 

You can find more of my work on my Instagram channel.

Tim Bailey – Workshop Technician

On 1st April 2020 I began working in collaboration with the Maker Space in the university’s Newton building to assist them with their visor project -providing much needed PPE for our frontline NHS workers at Salford Royal Hospital. This has been a great opportunity to use our prototyping kit to support the brave selfless workers who dedicate their lives to helping others.

The School of Arts and Media’s 3D workshop features a suite of 3D printers, of which four meet the specifications required to produce the NHS visor frames. The guys at the Maker Space provided me with a digital model that I could then load into our rapid prototyping software. The challenge was calibrating these files into commands that our printers could handle efficiently. After several prototypes I was able to create four images for each of the printers that could produce satisfactory results based on speed and quality. Now we were ready to start mass production of the visors.

Now that the printers were creating large batches of visor frames, I had time to look at how I could improve the print environment in the actual printers themselves. I set about designing upgrades to the printer bodies, like a perspex door to the front. This would help retain heat, which is beneficial to the 3D printing process. With this upgrade installed, I then started to think about designing a hood to stop heat escaping from the top of the printer.

The software I used to design this upgrade was SolidWorks. In this software, I drew the 3D printer body and progressed a design for the ‘printer hood’ from that. I could now create laser cut files from this digital model and use our laser cutters to produce the parts to make the prototype printer hood. The open printers are now enclosed, and I could start to look at adjusting the print files to suit the new print environment.

The printers have now produced nearly 600 visor frames and are running around the clock. One of the printers is now using recycled print material from local supplier Filamentive. I have found this challenge to be very humbling but also a great opportunity to really push the boundaries of what our prototyping suite can really do. We have just started a new run of a different style of visor frame which now provides a different set of printing challenges. This is something that I relish, and I am eager to find solutions to these new challenges. Being part of this project gives me great sense of pride in being able to support our NHS and represent our institution through teamwork.

Special thanks to:

The NHS, Salford Maker Space, Paul Mitchel (laser cutting master), Martin Hughes, Huey, Louie, Dewie and Harley (3D printers), Salford University Security, Filmentive.

Lauren Burson – Fashion Design

My name is Lauren Burson and I am in my final year on the BA (Hons) Fashion Design programme.

How would you describe your studio practice before the coronavirus pandemic/enforced lockdown?

Before the enforced lockdown, working life was intense, rigorous and constant. I would have 12-hour days, where arriving into the studio space at 8am and leaving 8/9pm was the norm. It was exhilarating, I loved it!

Please describe your studio environment at home

My home environment is completely different. Having two younger sisters which need attention 24/7 it was difficult to adjust to a new environment with the same workload. I managed to create some sort of structure by allocating spaces around the living room where we could all be productive while still engaging with each other. My workspace was on the dining room table with the knitting machine attached at the end, and sketchbook pages scattered all over.

How has the coronavirus pandemic changed your studio practice?

I think mentally, it has been tough. While in University we were all bunched together with everyone around you in the same productive mindset, it was easy to stay motivated and on target. Yet home life has many distractions and the lack of human contact from peers and others your age gets quite disheartening at times. The pandemic has really forced this sense of looking inward and I’ve learnt a lot about how I work and am as a person.

Have you had to be resourceful in order to source materials?

For sure!! I moved out of my student house with the expectation I would be back in three weeks. I had no sewing machine or any calico sampling fabrics. But I was blessed to be moving back in with younger siblings with an array of creative arts and crafts. I’ve also turned more to digital forms of sampling such as photoshop collaging and CLO3D software. It’s not the same as having all machinery at your disposal but it’s been great fun experimenting with glues and paints.  

Have you had cause to call upon friend/family members (people with whom you are sharing lockdown) to help and assist you in the making of your work?

My sisters have been very helpful letting me borrow their crafts!

Have you thought about how you are able to share your work with others/the creative industries sector, and engage an audience in the light of the pandemic?

My lecturers have been super supportive during this time and have constantly been keeping us up to date with new and engaging ways to share our work. We’ve been making digital portfolios and have had tutorials using CLO3D fashion design software, which is now used in most companies and is a vital skill to have coming out of the pandemic.

What are you looking forward to doing most once we emerge from the lockdown?

Connecting with others. Existing works better when we are all united.

Hannah Brogden – Photography

My name is Hannah and I’m a final year student on the BA (Hons) Photography programme.

 

How would you describe your studio practice before the coronavirus pandemic/enforced lockdown?

I would best describe my studio practice before lockdown as experimental, consistent and playful. I often explored alternative processes such as laser cutting images onto chocolate and printing images onto unconventional materials such as balloons. I found that through consistently trying new processes and ways to create this aided my growth throughout the course and allowed me to push the boundaries on what it is to be a photographer.

Furthermore, to capture imagery, I often used the equipment store to experiment and gain experience using different types of camera equipment. This included DSLR cameras, Film cameras, polaroids, flatbed scanners, flash guns and medium format cameras. This allowed me to grow my skillset and expand on my creative outlets.

In addition to this, for my studio practice, I frequently worked with models to create photographic imagery. This allowed me to grow my communication skills and experiment on producing work that aligns with my interest in the fashion industry. For my photography shoots with models, I often worked within a studio as this allowed me to test different lighting set ups, alternate outfits and trial out make up looks to best suit the intention of the shoot.

Please describe your studio environment at home

My studio environment at home continues to be experimental and playful. I have made use of an at home printer scanner which I often use to scan images in a creative way. I have also explored different ways I can manipulate my camera lens in order to create unique imagery with using only my phone. I have further continued to use my own cameras such as my polaroid and film camera.

My studio environment also considers location-based shoots as I have a field nearby my house which I go on to take my daily exercise. Sometimes I use this time to shoot on this location with my Mum as my model.

How has the coronavirus pandemic changed your studio practice? 

The Coronavirus pandemic altered the amount of experimentation I can do due to limited freedom and resources. However, it has been both challenging and rewarding to overcome these obstacles and explore new processes which I may have overlooked before the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Have you had to be resourceful in order to source materials? 

I have had to be resourceful by using an at home printer scanner rather than a professional flatbed scanner. I have also had to use my phone and resources such as social media filters to experiment with manipulating imagery.

I have used materials such as Vaseline to create an altered effect on my iPhone camera and I further used a Fisheye lens on my phone rather than a wide-angle lens on a DSLR camera.

Have you had cause to call upon friend/family members (people with whom you are sharing lockdown) to help and assist you in the making of your work? 

I luckily had my Mum as my model during lockdown and have found it has aided my work and the development of my concept further. This has been a new and rewarding experience for me and my Mum as it allowed us to work together in a creative way.

Have you thought about how you are able to share your work with others/the creative industries sector, and engage an audience in the light of the pandemic? 

I am planning on building a new website for my final imagery to hopefully share with others and the creative industry. I further believe our final work may be exhibited online this year which our audience will hopefully be able to engage with. 

What are you looking forward to doing most one we emerge from the lockdown? 

When I emerge from lockdown, I am looking forward to hopefully graduating and creating an exhibition with all my fellow students. I am also excited to see everyone from my course and celebrate coming out of lockdown.

Hannah Morton – Interior Design

My name is Hannah Morton and I am in my final year of the BA (Hons) Interior Design programme.

How would you describe your studio practice before the coronavirus pandemic/enforced lockdown?

Studio practice before the lockdown was a lot easier as all the software was a lot easier to access and we had our own space to work in.

Please describe your studio environment at home.

At home, once I get myself set up with a space to work, with an old table and a fold-out chair I found it difficult to concentrate at first but once I spent a little more time trying to carry on with my work I found it a lot easier.  It meant I could spend a lot more time on my work without the time taken up by commuting and thinking about what time I needed to set off to avoid being stuck in traffic. I found little changes like printing off a calendar and planning out my work really help me get back into the zone of working on my course. 

How has the coronavirus pandemic changed your studio practice?

The coronavirus pandemic has changed my studio practice as it meant I could just sit in one room and stay there as long as I needed to get my work done.

Have you had to be resourceful in order to source materials?

I think I was lucky as I didn’t really need to source any materials. The majority of learning materials were given to us through blackboard. The only struggle was not having free access to some software such as; SketchUp pro and V-ray to render our visuals. I was able to use an alternative method through photoshop and use more of a sketchy visual style instead of photo-realism. 

Have you thought about how you are able to share your work with others/the creative industries sector, and engage an audience in the light of the pandemic?

I have been sharing my work through social platforms such as Instagram and LinkedIn

What are you looking forward to doing most one we emerge from the lockdown?

After lockdown, I’m mainly looking forward to being able to go out and spend time with my friends.

Harvey Rutter – Fine Art

My name is Harvey Rutter, I am in my final year of the BA (Hons) Fine Art programme.

I work mainly in print, collage, video and sculpture, exploring themes of sexuality, popular culture and fashion. My work is very much related to me and my experience living as a young gay person in the twenty-first century.

My studio practice before the coronavirus pandemic was in its most exciting stage. I was experimenting across all mediums, making as much use of the facilities in New Adelphi before I graduated and building up a portfolio of the best possible work I could produce to hopefully launch a career in the creative industry. Although I was still experimenting, I felt like the aesthetic and subject matter of my work was beginning to level off and I was feeling ready to take my work beyond my studio in New Adelphi.

 

My studio environment at home, a shared student house, is very limited. I have a scanner, collage materials, a hot glue gun and a polaroid camera. My usual practice is very much based at University so the thought of living and working in such a small space for who-knows-how-long, was very daunting at first.

The enforced lockdown has changed my studio practice in numerous ways. Rather than forcing myself to carry on making the same work with limited supplies, I decided to let myself make whatever I felt like, to see what I would produce during such a strange time of my life, that may never happen again. I found myself doing anything to fill my time as positively as possible. I was no longer making art just for submission, but using my practice as an escape from the bombardment of negative media and as something to fill my empty days. I have particularly enjoyed experimenting with polaroid emulsion prints, a process which involves removing the image from the polaroid frame in hot water and printing it on a paper surface.

As well as this, my interest in popular culture, celebrities and social media has flourished as the use of the internet in everybody’s lives has skyrocketed. I have had more time than ever to listen to music for hours on end, watch films that I’ve never got round to seeing and re-watching those incredibly inspiring documentaries that have previously driven my practice forward. I have felt overloaded with information but also completely inspired. My appetite for popular culture has been well and truly fed.

I have had to be resourceful to keep creating. When lockdown was first announced, I ordered a roll of lime green paper and created a make-shift green screen in my bedroom so that I could continue with my video collages. The paper cost £10 and I have enough to cover a whole room!  I also found myself delving into my boxes of materials and my collections of keyrings, postcards and handbags which I have been hoarding for a couple of years now. I finally had time to play around with crayons and keyrings, painting on to fake designer bags and making super-kitsch, sickly-sweet fashion accessories, things which I struggled to fit in to my studio practice.

Luckily, with the internet, everything is available to us at all times. I tried to refrain from ordering new materials and stretching myself, but to look around at what was already available to me and work with what I already had. Its really surprising what you can do with so little.

For the first five weeks of lockdown, I was completely on my own in the house. When my friend returned to Salford, she helped me take polaroid images and I taught her how to create prints from these. I returned the favour by helping her with her music, by editing her cover videos together and she taught me the ins and outs of recording audio. Our creativity definitely bounced off each other.

With everything now going online, there are lots of online opportunities for exhibiting work. Although these don’t make up for the excitement of seeing your work on a gallery wall, I think it’s important to get involved. Looking at it broadly, the internet will always be here, so these online shows will serve as great documentation of this challenging time. We shouldn’t dismiss things because they’re a bit naff compared to the real deal, but try and ride the wave!

The first thing I’m going to do when we emerge from the lockdown is go and give my Mum, who has just been given the all clear from breast cancer, a big hug. And then I’ll go to Canal Street.

Sophia Carey – Graphic Design

My name is Sophia Carey and I am in my final year of the BA (Hons) Graphic Design programme.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, as a photographer, my practice relied mostly on meeting other people and collaborating physically. Since the lockdown was enforced, I’m having to consider new ways of staying creative and earning a living. 

I’ve turned my focus more towards creating educational content — videos and tutorials — that can be consumed online as well as dabbling in different niches, such as product photography. I’m also using my graphic design and lens-based skills to be able to offer other services to my clients that can be done from self-isolation: photo and video editing, graphic design services, etc. 

I’ve turned the dining room table of my flat into a make-shift office, which was probably a long time coming anyway, and am definitely finding new ways to make working from home that little bit more bearable.

Throughout the lockdown, I’ve definitely had to work in ways that I’m unfamiliar with. It’s forced me to work a lot more flexibly and I’m trying to deal with the pandemic as positively as possible. I’m trying to stay motivated and see the lockdown as a blessing in disguise; an opportunity to spend time on aspects of my practice that were otherwise being neglected. I’ve been able to spend time learning and practising new skills and disciplines, especially in videography and video editing, that I had wanted to learn but hadn’t given myself the time to.

As a part of my final project for my degree, I’m creating a series of videos about my hometown. Even though I’m still living in Salford now, I had captured all of the material before lockdown and so I’ve been spending the last few weeks editing it all together.

This time out has definitely shifted my mindset into appreciating my practice more. I’ve realised that the perimeters of my job are only set there by myself and there’s no reasons why I can’t push the creative boundaries of my work further out as I continue to work. I’m looking forward to going back to work and resuming a sense of normality in my practice, but I’ve also enjoyed the challenge of having to adapt to these circumstances.

Mia Jones – Fashion Image Making and Styling

My name is Mia Jones, I am in my final year of the BA (Hons) Fashion Styling and Image Making programme.

How would you describe your studio practice before the coronavirus pandemic/enforced lockdown?

I would describe my studio practice before the pandemic as working within a class room environment getting support and feed back from my teachers and friends. My current studio environment at home is literally my computer and a lot of older magazines and photos that are keeping me inspired and online sources are also keeping me feeling creative and motivated to try to continue making my ideas come to life digitally rather than physically.

Have you had to be resourceful in order to source materials?

I usually take all of my photos on location or in the photography studios at uni to create a lot of my shoots and styling ideas, mostly working with models, so obviously it is very hard/impossible to continue shooting with people and sourcing garments whilst everyones in lockdown and everywhere is shut. So I have been looking at working with what I have got and enjoying the challenge of trying to continue to create mock up shoots through collaging that will still fulfill my ideas and hopefully have a positive impact on society through their meaning of escapism in hard times.

I have created some mind maps and poems and have tried to find a lot of imagery that inspires me online that I plan to manipulate through collaging and art direction to create something new that fits with my visions for my final major project. I’ve been trying to use a lot of software to create videos and soundtracks with footage I already have, to try to continue to finish the work I intended to make before lockdown.

Could you also share some images of your studio environment at home and your work in progress and any work you have completed during lockdown?

The images here are my work environment and some of the work Ive completed in lockdown. I am creating a musical for my FMP theme so I have tried to create a song/poem that would fit in with my theme and the times we are living in and hopefully spread some positivity. Then Ive just been collaging with found images online mixed with mind maps I made about my theme.

Have you had cause to call upon friend/family members (people with whom you are sharing lockdown) to help and assist you in the making of your work?

I have asked my dad to help me remix some of the music for my videos so he’s been introducing me to working with merging sounds which Ive liked doing. Then I’ve had a lot of FaceTime with my friends to keep me feeling motivated and sane.

Have you thought about how you are able to share your work with others/the creative industries sector, and engage an audience in the light of the pandemic?

I have been putting a lot of my work on my Instagram as a way to get my work out there at the moment and entered some of the work into the ‘a part publication’ entry about creating projects whilst in lockdown.

What are you looking forward to doing most once we emerge from the lockdown?

I’m excited to see everyone on FIMS again and hopefully celebrate graduation together and to be with all the people who I love, also to hopefully get into a creative job within the industry.