Wirral artists’ work on display as part of Williamson exhibition

The Covid Chronicle exhibition is currently running at The Williamson Art Gallery and comprises of 140 textile panels created by people from around the world.

During lockdown, Wendy Bliss came up with the idea and set out to reach textile artists around the world through social media, and was delighted to receive panels from 15 countries by the end of 2021.

The panels show first-hand experiences of each artist during the pandemic.

Three Wirral textile artists contributed to the project and birkenhead.news had a chat with each of them.

Alison Bailey Smith

Alison Bailey Smith explained why she chose a nature theme for one of her panels: “At the time that I created this, I was working on the COVID response for World Council. It was coming to the end of my contract and my garden was my retreat to get away from all these terrible stories.

At the the centre of one of Alison’s panels is a piece of jewellery that she designed to represent the virus and the circular shape is echoed by four alliums around the edge of that and then there’s little forget me nots weaving through the design.

“My mother, who has Alzheimer’s, also caught COVID So it was quite depressing. So creativity and gardening was my thing that got me through,” she said.

Helen Cooper

Helen Cooper also chose flowers for the subject of one of her panels. Helen chose poppies as a way to remember those from the medical profession and other key workers who died during the pandemic.

She said, “I used to be a nurse, and I wanted to do it in remembrance – not just of nurses, but of all the key workers. It’s ‘remembrance’ that the poppies represent, but it’s not just that it’s also about passion and love; all the things that they gave during the pandemic.”

Mary Bryning

Mary Bryning made a panel that depicts a map of Birkenhead Park. She said, “I live in Oxton and we go to Birkenhead park a lot, and particularly during times of the lockdown.

“This was related to our memories of the pandemic, certainly the first lockdown. Nearly every day we walked around Birkenhead Park.

“I felt it’s a very significant park for the people who live here. Particularly the people who live roundabout who don’t have their own gardens. It was a place that people could go and I did find so many people using it at that time.”

The Covid Chronicle runs until Saturday 17 December at the Williamson Art Gallery, Slatey Road, Birkenhead

Main image: (L-R) Helen Cooper, Wendy Bliss, Alison Bailey Smith, Mary Bryning
Images: www.fotopiaimages.com

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