Creating a way through lockdown with art

A LOVE of art, photography and the desire for a challenge has led two unlikely friends to make creative pieces to combat isolation during lockdown.

During Durham County Council’s The Weardale Tub art project last year, 15-year-old Harry Short attended a glass making workshop at Killhope Lead Mining Museum with his mum, Lindsey.

A keen photographer and artist, Harry is home schooled due to a number of serious complex medical challenges but is passionate about photography and is involved in an art club which he set up in his local area.

While at the workshop at Killhope Lead Mining Museum, organised by the council’s Community Arts team, Harry met the project’s documentary photographer, local artist Elaine Vizor, and began talking to her about his own photography and art.

Since the workshop, with support from his mum, Harry has kept in contact with Mrs Vizor, who also teaches photography at Greenfield Arts in Newton Aycliffe, and the pair talk regularly about their love of creativity.

However, at the beginning of lockdown, Harry was placed in the ‘shielding’ category and was worried about being even more isolated than usual when not being able to leave the house during the coronavirus outbreak not knowing how long it would last.

To help combat this, Mrs Vizor invited Harry to join her in her ‘TWELVE WEEKS’ project to create art to represent each week of the initial self-isolation.

For the duration of the project Harry and Mrs Vizor have been challenging each other to create a different piece of artwork each week and they share their unique creations with each other.

The duo have now completed 12 weeks of creative art through lockdown.

Harry has created a variety of different pieces of art, from clay sculptures, felting and paintings to drawings, photography and other forms of creative art.

The Northern Echo:

Meanwhile, Mrs Vizor has been creating Cyanotype images, using the vintage, cameraless photographic printing process that produces cyan-blue prints, relating to different aspects of lockdown.

A further challenge to both Harry and Mrs Vizor was to only use resources they had to hand already or saved from the bin as the weeks went on, strictly no buying in of new materials.

Throughout this difficult period caused by the pandemic, Harry, Mrs Short and Mrs Vizor have helped each other through some tough times and their art challenge has given them focus and a connection despite being apart.

The Northern Echo:

Cllr Joy Allen, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for transformation, culture and tourism, said: “Supporting each other during this pandemic is vitally important for our communities, and also our physical and mental health, especially for those who are vulnerable or shielding during the coronavirus outbreak. I am pleased to see that a project set up by our Community Arts team has played its part in starting Harry and Elaine’s friendship which has been able to grow through their support for each other during lockdown and through their shared love of art.”

Yorkshire Evening Post