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Interview with Frieda Strachan

How long have you been a part of the Northern Arts Club and what made you eager to join?

It was my 1 year anniversary of joining the NAC studio space, while in lockdown! I was making bigger work and acquiring more materials and had no dedicated space at home. I just wanted an escape for me - somewhere devoted to my practice and somewhere I could get messy!

How has the pandemic affected the routine of the club, as well as you?

I work full-time, which means my creative practice comes into play in downtime, so I've been unable to attend meetings. I used to spend most evenings in my studio until the wee small hours. Now I have a few materials at home which I use at my work/creative space in my room. It's difficult making the shift back home simply because everything takes place here now, which makes it hard to adjust between work, rest and "play".

Have you found that you have had more time to focus on producing artwork during lockdown?

There has definitely been more time, but I don't know that I have been as busy in terms of making. I work with fibre which means I would ordinarily have a few pieces on the go requiring a lot of material. I don't have that luxury of space at home, so have been trying to focus on other things like branding, website, marketing and planning new ideas and collaborations. I have also decided to try out completely new things instead of pressuring myself to do the stuff I am supposed to be "good at". Finding motivation can be hard in lockdown, so I'm being kind to myself and taking each day as it comes. If I feel inspired to create, that's great.

Have you been producing and sharing work with group members on a regular basis? If so, how have you done this?

No, but this is something I need to start making more of an effort with. Being a full-time worker and part-time maker with quite a busy schedule can make it hard!

What have you taken inspiration from when producing your pieces?

My inspiration comes from myself and how I am feeling. But my motivation has definitely come from other creative people I know, sharing their work online. It can seem quite passive browsing social media, but it makes me feel I can relate and be part of something. It's important and I have felt linked to the creative community in Aberdeen, simply because we are all looking for the same connection in lockdown.

Do you focus on particular theme or use certain materials when producing your fabric art? If so, what?

I make most of my work depending on how I feel at the time. It drives the textures and colours I choose - the sizes and shapes. Sometimes I get inspired from being outdoors, that all comes from the feeling I get being out in the wild. Recently I have been interested in basket weaving. The exercise time has been a great opportunity to think about how I connect this with the outdoors, how to do this in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.

Has creating your artwork acted as a coping mechanism during the pandemic?

Certainly the creative aspect has. It's provided a task, a tool for mindfulness, a reason to push onward and get out of bed at the weekend! It's motivated me to connect in other ways like vlogs, being part of the #indiereliefraffle and doing my own 90's quiz in aid of CFINE and VictoriArt Road. I needed to move my Doric Dwams collaborative project online during lockdown and was very glad to sell all the pieces in aid of Rape Crisis Aberdeen. We are planning to hold some online weaving workshops soon - so I'm happy to share my coping mechanism at a time like this.

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