Photo: Glove Story: A Tale of COVID-19

On my government mandated lockdown health-walks, I noticed a change in the local litter: fewer bottles and take-away cartons, more disposable gloves and masks. I started to photograph these finds as a way of documenting the crisis: twisted, discarded gloves on pavements and in gutters. Some looking still occupied by hands, others forming gestures or shadow puppets: All telling a story. When the rain came, the gloves were washed towards and caught up in the drainage grids.

I am using these photographs as a starting point to develop mixed media works as a way of capturing the crisis. Eventually, I want to explore using my usual technique of combining embellished and embroidered textiles with cement cast within gloves. The textiles will represent the spread of infection. The solid mass of the sculptures signifies that although the gloves are disposable and the current crisis will pass, the ramifications of the Covid-19 pandemic will be long lasting. The fact that these will form hands links to the human toll. These may have to wait until I have access to the sculpture studio again rather than casting in my garden.

In the meantime, I have started to develop pieces combining manipulated textiles and cement cast in plastic packaging with suitable texture as the way the gloves are caught in the grid echoed my “No Man is an Island” series that looks at how local and individual actions have a global effect particularly in regard to plastic pollution and climate crisis.

These works reflect my observations but also represent the disregard for key-workers and resources and the lives lost. The manipulated fabric is entombed in the concrete: the disposable glove a reminder of the permanence of loss.