Voices of Makers #5

Creators of handcrafted lighting and product design and AAS Member, Yellow Broom, is made up of Clare Waddle and David Robson. Clare describes slowly learning to ride the lockdown wave as they watched the impact on their practice, addressed feelings of guilt and selfishness, the challenge of finding the mental space to be creative and as a family adapting to a new life/work balance.

Our Voices of Makers blog is a space to share experiences, information and ideas to support and inspire each other, and is part of our Rethinking our Rhythms programme. Please tell us your stories and thoughts – get in touch via instagram, twitter or online form.

Rethinking our rhythms within this unusual time is something that brings many changes to the Yellow Broom table.

When lockdown was initially announced we mistakingly thought it would not have much of an impact upon us as a family and our practice, I even thought it wouldn’t be for ‘that long’….How wrong I was!

Let’s set the scene…two self employed designer/makers specialising in sustainable handmade lighting design , passionate about design and the creative industries, living rurally within the perfectly stunning Cairngorms National Park surrounded by piercingly loud bird song as nature delicately unfolds into the season of springtime. A work shop/studio sitting perfectly upon an acre of land adjacent to our restored croft just twenty five minutes from our local mill and main wood supplier with two school age children aged 11 and 16 . Sounds ideal right, so why are we so effected by COVID-19?

The initial days were shadowed by Scottish school closures and unknown SQA decisions and the pressure of having a teenager at home revising for her Higher’s that may not happen.…they didn’t! This was sea-sawed with the energy of an 11 year old delighted to have school cancelled yet not so delighted about the prospect of being home schooled by her parents and not hanging out with her mates .

Being disciplined individuals a new life/work structure was planned for Yellow Broom enabling us to continue with orders and commissions, this turned out not to go as planned. Slowly commissions began to be cancelled, stockists were closing, suppliers couldn’t get hardware out to us and the lockdown and the impact it was about to have upon our practice became very real.

People are dying, front-line staff work hard putting themselves and their family at risk for us while NHS workers heal many with inadequate protection. How can we be selfishly stressed about studio time, design and the production of lighting? Some days we feel guilty and selfish to be thinking about Yellow Broom. Some days our work feels irrelevant and some days it is fuelled with meaning, energy and passion proudly contributing to the Scottish design sector.

Social media highlights many home spaces adapting to accommodate innovative mock studios which is fantastic, for us it’s not finding the physical space to create but about finding a mental one. We now realise just because you are out of the house and alone in the workshop, now like many mentally we are not.

The amount of support from and for the creative industries right now is heart warming from financial assistance to virtual galleries, and the continual wee prompts to remind you that it is ok to keep making, it is your job.

We are slowly learning to ride the lockdown wave.

Rethinking our rhythms with…

| 1 | Studio time when your head and family allow and not be timetabled to do so.
| 2 |To realise just because you are not a front line worker it does not deem you or your practice selfish or unworthy.
| 3 |To realise it is still ok to make promote and sell your work , we are embracing the #artistsupportpledge this week.
| 4 | To accept that studio time will be shorter and not to feel ‘robbed’ of it by our children, they are adapting to lockdown also.
| 5 | To enjoy the fact that the whole family are around and not resent it.
| 6 | To embrace home maintenance, good things do come from it, last week a whole proposal for the Society of Scottish artists annual show came to us as we clad a roof in corrugated tin!
| 7 | To not feel guilty about escaping to the vegetable plot.
| 8 | To stop making sour dough bread!

Read the experiences of other makers: Voices of Makers #1: Carol Sinclair, Voices of Makers #2: Fiona Thompson, Janet Hughes & Kathryn Williamson, Voices of Makers #3: Jo Garner, Voices of Makers #4 James Donald

We are inviting makers & Members to get in touch via instagram, twitter or email with tips on how they are rethinking their rhythms, whether working patterns, things people are doing, or info to share.

We have also created an online page where you can talk about your experiences and share what matters to you.  We give you the option to be anonymous or to provide your name and you can also let us know if we can share it with other makers in our new ‘Voices of Makers’ blogs.  We can’t answer specific questions but if we can offer any suggestions about something we will try and do so.


Images: Latest work by Yellow Broom, hand turned light in local Sycamore with reused formica offcuts from varying furniture makers projects

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