The Water Replies – completed journal

Today I finally handed in my journal for the Water Replies project, to Metal Southend. This has turned into a project that has been so defined by the events of this year.

As detailed in a previous blog post Journaling fun – back to our roots, SEVEN were eager to participate in this project when it launched back in March. There was a series of workshops in journaling and poetry writing planned, and it all sounded very exciting with new creative possibilities and explorations.

And then the world as we know it stopped.

Walking by the estuary

The spring lockdown meant that we could only exercise outdoors for an hour each day, with no stopping permitted to sit and look at the view. And also how can you be creative in a pandemic? Some of the workshops went on-line, but I seemed to be unlucky that the ones I signed up for got cancelled, and I just got very despondent about it all.

So my journal sat neglected for months. But gradually as the restrictions were slowly relaxed, and with encouragement from the other artists in SEVEN, I relooked at it, and just decided to go for it. Take the pressure off myself to produce a perfectly artistic and thought out journal, but to just use it as a record of the extraordinary summer we were experiencing.

When it was possible to go for longer walks, to escape the crowded seafront and beaches, like many other people, I spent more time exploring Two Tree Island and the seawall walk from Leigh-on-Sea station to Benfleet. Appreciating that the Thames Estuary is not just where the tide appears twice a day on the beach at Chalkwell, but how it creates and influences the marshland and the bio-diversity of nature it supports there.

Walking between Leigh-on-sea and Benfleet

Like lots of people I did (eventually) find it very therapeutic to be creative. So my journal isn’t full of wonderful drawings and poetry but is a snapshot of this summer and how important the Estuary has been to me, and also how sitting and being creative has been a great way to escape from ‘doomscrolling’ the news.

Two-Tree Island

Estuary 2020 will now become Estuary 2021 which will be happening from 22 May to 13 June where all our journals will be displayed (full programme to be announced later in the year)

Check out SEVEN’s instagram posts for some previews of our journals, and also the hashtag #thewaterreplies to see the great variety of journals from other artists.

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