Updated: Mar 26, 2020
The last week has been a time of massive upheaval for everyone. We were left in a state of confusion and fear since last Thursday. It looked like the uni was going to shut, but we had to worry about our toile review. To say we were stressed would be a massive understatement. Toile review is our chance to basically pitch what we want to make and how to our tutors. By this point in the semester you need to be working with designs you are confident in and are on the cusp of being able to make them for the last stretch of the semester. If toile review doesn't go well then it could mean revisiting the design stage and put you behind by a week or more. And then Coronavirus hit us hard.
Come the following Monday I think everyone in the university was on edge. we knew that discussions were taking place across campus as to what we would do, and at 4 pm we got the email to say that everything was to be canceled and that the uni would shut indefinitely on Friday at 5 pm.
So that was it. on Tuesday we packed our desks and came home. No more workshops, no more facilities, no more studio.
so... what now?
How does a practical sewing course get delivered online? It doesn't. we cant make anything, so all we can do now is develop, sketch and edit our work for digital submission.
It's a proper punch to the gut. I went into this semester with so much motivation for my new project. I wanted it so badly and I want to do it justice. One of my biggest regrets was not getting to make garments last semester, and this semester it has been taken away from me.
I know there is no one to blame, it's the best measure the university could take to keep us safe, but working from home has nothing on Grays.
At Grays we are surrounded by a community of creative and expressive people. I've never been somewhere more accepting and supportive than Grays, especially at this time of year when honors students are building up to the degree show, and we are all working for our end of year submission. Having a studio also works wonders for your work ethic and mental health, having a dedicated place of work where you can work in peace, or in the company of peers that know and understand your work.
I'm already missing Grays. I miss the buzz, the excitement when someone brings something new into the studio, the moring chatter and hour (or more) long lunches. But most of all I miss having a place I belong to.
My heart goes out to the honors year students who are having to complete their degree at home; I can't imagine the levels of stress you guys are under having to change your entire plan for the next few months at this hugely crucial stage. For some of you, Friday would be the last time you ever worked in Grays, I just hope that things get easier from here on out.
I for one cannot wait to get back in the studio, back on the knitting machines, back where I belong.