By Laura Ford FRSS, Trustee
At the end of September my partner, Andrew, and I moved from our studio and living space in London to start building new studios and living space in West Sussex. It had taken us nearly four years and lots of planning battles to get there, but finally we had started the build and were making progress despite the knee-deep mud and continuous rain. Thanks to my partner's doggedness, and great team of builders and welders, we had got to the point where the first corner of the steel frame of the building had been erected, then came lockdown.
For a while we were left with just one person on site: Lee the welder. This was an amazing time in which Andrew more or less single handedly put the hot rolled steel frame of the building together with a small crane and two forklifts, during which the sun shone, the landscape around us was quiet, lush, serene, life had slowed and the air was clean.
It was a strange contrast, us working away on site even harder now, so that not too much time was lost and the scenes of people cycling, walking, jogging past in leisure wear. The scene outside of the building site looked to me like some utopian architects drawing of a perfect world with nature on steroids, family happily cycling together etc, but there of course was this very dark side and an underlying sense of grief.
When we had worked out how to get our sculpture assistant Noeme and her boyfriend Riccardo back on site safely, we all, (our middle son Frank included), continued to put the rest of the cold rolled steel together like a giant Jigsaw puzzle.
As the lockdown has eased the builders have returned, things have started going very fast again and life has got hectic and noisy once more.
Throughout this period I have continued to make work intermittently, but the ideas and thoughts I was having before Corona seem a little bit beside the point and the postponement of upcoming exhibitions has added to this feeling of uncertainty.
Artists initiatives online have been very encouraging for me during this period and starting the Zoom meetings with Rosalyn Burgin FRSS for our Royal Society Of Sculptors Connect Group area has been wonderful. During these meetings we have been introducing our work to each other and slowly and gently we are getting to know each other and forming connections. I hope when things get back to some sort of normal we will all be able to meet up and continue our conversations, but with the added bonus of knowing so much more about each other.
LF 22 May 2020