Wednesday 10 June 2020

Grasp the Arts!

I came across the #GRASPTHEARTS campaign a few weeks ago, and have been thinking and talking about it since. In a nutshell, it is a "participation and support campaign in solidarity for Ireland's prolific creative industries across all genres, during the COVID-19 pandemic". Personally I think the campaign is a good one regardless of the pandemic, but coronavirus provided the impetus. For further information on the campaign have a look at this. Essentially, artists in any genre create a sculptural "grasp" and share a photograph of it on social media, along with a series of hashtags. It can be seen by wide participation just how large and varied the cultural industry is.

COVID-19 has certainly made more people realise how important the arts are as entertainment of all sorts (music events,visual arts exhibitions, theatres, cinemas) has been shut down or postponed. Lots of events have gone online - music gigs on facebook, free theatre on youtube, poetry readings on instagram, and visual art exhibitions, talks, and workshops - and most are freely available. Artists have been stepping up to keep people busy and sane during lockdown. I finally dedicated some time to participate in this project. I decided I would use salt dough to make my "grasp" and a simple recipe for salt dough is given here. It takes all of about five minutes to make and form a hand-sized tube.

I took the plunge and grabbed the dough firmly.

Following instructions, I placed the "grasp" on a parchment-covered cookie sheet.

I almost forgot to pierce holes at top and bottom of the "grasp". One hole is for a tag label and though I wasn't sure what the second hole was for, I did it anyway! The recommendation is to bake in an oven on its lowest setting for about an hour and a half. Admittedly, mine seemed a bit moist still so I microwaved it for a few minutes more, again on the lowest setting.

 Since I had used self-raising flour, I thought my "grasp" strongly resembled a loaf of bread. The socialist in me immediately thought of the phrase "bread & roses" and I decided to take my photo in the front yard with a wild rose in bloom. I think this is appropriate to the campaign too - the necessities of life are thought to be food, shelter and clothing but these are not enough to sustain the soul. Art is a necessity to life.

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