An artist in Edinburgh who documented the Covid-19 pandemic with an award-winning artwork made of hundreds of porcelain tiles has described the piece as “cathartic”.
Susie Dalton’s creation symbolises the changing of seasons, and the number of porcelain tiles (459) equates to the number of days from when lockdown was first implemented in Scotland to restrictions easing in June 2021.
The 30-year-old decided to produce the artwork after moving into a new apartment just before the pandemic and noticing how much the sunlight would keep her company after lockdown was announced.
459 porcelain tiles, one for every day since lockdown began, treated with chemicals which turn blue in sunlight. Placed all over my flat, each one now has an irreversible record of the light and dark that touched it during this time. pic.twitter.com/AepEprA7G7
— Susie Dalton (@susierosedalton) September 17, 2021
Ms Dalton’s process involved putting cyanotype printing chemicals, which turn different shades of blue when exposed to varying levels of sunlight, on tiles and placing them in different parts of her flat.
“It felt very cathartic to me to process this time through making something tangible, and it felt fitting that the process took place in my flat,” Ms Dalton said.
“My lockdown experience was one of profound isolation and my life had been full of people and travelling before the pandemic, and suddenly I was in my small flat, alone, for days on end.”
Ms Dalton’s unnamed artwork was recently awarded the 2021 Wasps Award, which celebrates contemporary and emerging artists based in Scotland, and the tiles will be displayed at an exhibition in Glasgow next year.
“I’ve been really overwhelmed (with the response),” she said.
“It’s made me think about all the shapes and forms loneliness can take, how invisible some people’s experiences have been, and how profoundly we have all been affected by this time.”
Ms Dalton added: “I don’t have any formal art education, so I’m very much learning on my feet about how all of this works.
“It’s not easy but I’m very grateful for the opportunities and recognition I’ve had so far, and I’m excited to keep making work.”