Creative Chat ‘n’ Blog – Genevieve Rudd

Fenland artist Genevieve Rudd reflects on her podcast chat with interviewer David Johnson and fellow artist Marion Savill. As part of a podcast series of 8 regional artists discussing the challenges that they have faced during Lockdown and what they have learnt as a result.

June 2021

Listen to Genevieve’s podcast episode here.

On the day I spoke to David, with Marian Savill, it was the one year anniversary of the first Lockdown. Whilst it wasn’t timed to be the start of the blog series, as far as I’m aware (!), it did shape the drift of our conversation. But then again, has anyone been talking or thinking about anything other than COVID-19 for the past year? It has felt completely all encompassing, but the conversation with the three of us reminded me that taking the time for social connection can help put things into perspective.

A photo of artist Genevieve Rudd smiling with a Waveney & Blyth art trail leaflet.

As an artist, I have lots of ways to keep my mind occupied, but Lockdown has been universally energy sapping. Despite this, the lack of usual habits or access to resources gave way to inventiveness. This is something that chimed with Marian too. Both of us thrifty at the best of times, it was inspiring to hear how she also found new life for unwanted stuff, and how this connected with her wider lifestyle values around veganism and reducing waste.

Lockdown has encouraged more ‘localised’ thinking on the whole – such as doorstep clapping, mutual aid groups and window rainbows – we’ve all been forced to re-consider our relationships to our immediate environment. For many, this has been a suffocating experience, and for others, it has given a sense of freedom from their daily slog. Whatever the situation, it’s brought us all face-to-face with our own domestic reality in very close detail. For me, that detail has shown me the value in simplicity. 

Marian was inspiring to talk to; I’d never heard of ‘doodads’, but she has been doing #A100DaysOfDoodads. These mini sculptural pieces are made from tomato puree tubes, scrap fabric, threads, leaves, wire, stones and all sorts of things she found around her home over the past few months! I love this ethos and in my own practice, I have been exploring approaches with foraged, edible and recycled materials, and in turn, making my practice more sustainable. This explorations have predominantly been using Cyanotype and Anthotype photography, using plants and compost from my garden. 

‘Soil Circles’ 1 of 6. Cyanotype photographic print made using collected rainwater, home-made compost, recycled paper and sunlight, 5th-6th March 2021. Copyright Genevieve Rudd.
‘Soil Circles’ 1 of 6. Cyanotype photographic print made using collected rainwater, home-made compost, recycled paper and sunlight, 5th-6th March 2021. Copyright Genevieve Rudd.

This year has been many things, but one silver lining has been the time spent exploring and treasuring the small overlooked details of life, particularly in relation to the natural world. This year, I’m running an Arts Council England funded project, Yarmouth Springs Eternal, in partnership with original projects; in Great Yarmouth. We’re nurturing relationships with the natural world found in overlooked places through walking and art-making. If there is one thing I’ll keep from this last year, it’s to embrace simplicity, and from Marian, it’s the ‘use what you already have’ mentality! 

Written by artist, Genevieve Rudd.

Links:

Listen to Genevieve’s podcast episode here.

Read about Genevieve’s project Lets Take a Walk here.