Snapshots & Sketches – healing hands

Making masks and the power of hands in a pandemic: across many generations of care, health and loss.

Esther Gray

featured image: Janus interpretation of Esther’s work.

When the project began, Esther was already busy making face coverings for her family and friends. As an experienced seamstress she had sourced a really nice design, with a good shape, a removable nose grip and removable internal layer. This attention to detail, and level of care, is a good indicator of how Esther tackles everything, including the motif project. She began the project by drawing her own hands, doing ‘women’s’ tasks such as sewing, and the hands of loved ones. For her, they represent care, but nands also resonated with the fear that Covid was spread through touch, and the health directives to socially distance from each other and to wash our hands frequently.

Esther’s other interests included the Friary Hospitium, extending her theme of care and care-takers. The Hospitium provided a stopping-off-point for people on religious pilgrimage to Dunfermline, and for other travellers. Behind the Friary buildings, the site of the current parks and community garden, there would have been kitchen and physic gardens, growing plants to provide food and for medicinal purposes. The Friary sits atop a hill running down to Inverkeithing bay and harbour, and one thinks of supplies perhaps being taken down to the people on docked plague ships. The Friary is also just within the old town walls, where plague camps would squat, people quarantining and waiting to be allowed in to the town. Would they have been provided food by the Friary?

Esther’s work developed towards a sensitive interpretation of living during the Covid19 pandemic. She was interested in the idea of ‘memento mori’ and the way in which, in many eras, people have had to live with high mortality as a daily lived reality.

Snapshots & Sketches – dreams of an industrial wasteland

Diary of a teenage lockdown: post industrial landscapes, returning nature and finding your feet in odd times.

Hope Francis, 13

featured image: Janus interpretation of Hope’s work

Hope started taking photographs with her parents’ camera and with her phone before the Covid 19 lockdown, but when the surreal times began in March 2020 she found herself off school, trying to do schoolwork at home, and going out for a walk each day. Taking photographs of what she saw each day, as well as self portraits, was an activity which kept her going. It also began to emerge as a visual diary of the times she was living through.

She is drawn to ex-industrial landscapes and objects; decaying and rusting machinery, crumbling masonry and blasted land. Inverkeithing’s history contains a large amount of industry, due to its position on the Firth of Forth, proximity to Edinburgh and a northern gateway, and its particular geography of rock formation. It’s a fascinating past, and one which many historians have studied. What is less usual, and it’s tempting to think it could only be truthfully expressed through the eyes of someone with Hope’s youth, is the destruction and mess which has been carelessly abandoned after industrial extraction has occurred.

Her eye is sensitive to the combination of industrial relic and nature thriving in neglected and abandoned spaces.

EDITING AND CHOOSING PROCESS

Hope’s process developed when she began experimenting with editing in colour. Almost by accident, she had discovered a revealing emphasis on the juxtaposition between nature and man-made objects in her chosen subjects.

Hope also included self portraiture in her photography, as she goes through the processes of growing up and finding herself. What’s particularly interesting is the combination of growing up and her environment. Some of these she included in this project, while others will be part of future planned projects.

On the strength of this project, Hope has sold some prints of her photography, and has decided to take art in 3rd year, and perhaps for Nat 5. Many people are impressed by her remarkably mature sensibility.