DIY’s Artwork Highlights Experiences of Lockdown

Photo: DIY’s Artwork Highlights Experiences of Lockdown

Together in Our Separateness
& Back Together

This June and July Eccles Community Art Gallery exhibited works which captured DIY’s responses to the Covid Lockdowns of 2020-21. The pieces were created by visual artist Claire Hignett with DIY. Claire has worked with DIY for many years and is currently running our visual arts course. The pieces are called Together in Our Separateness and Back Together and are complementary artworks. They  were exhibited alongside work by other Salford-based artists including  some of Claire’s other fantastic work. DIY members, David, Ange, Amy and Charlotte were very inspired when they visited the exhibition.

It was wonderful. We saw DIY’s pictures of what we did in the past and I enjoyed looking around at all the pictures and photographs at Eccles Community Art Gallery. I really enjoyed it”

Photo showing DIY's Co-Chair Martin with the pom pom he made. The photo was taken when DIY were just starting to meet face to face after lockdowns and is taken in Peel Park.


Close up of the artwork 'Together in our Separateness' which is made up of pompoms in mainly turquoise and dark blue wool with keys hanging from them on bright pink wool. They are neatly displayed in rows.

Together in Our Separateness

Together in Our Separateness was made as a response to Claire’s experience of the Covid-19 lockdown of 2020-21, and her relationship with DIY.

Claire used to work at St.George’s, the Day Centre where DIY Theatre Company began. A long time ago, when St. Georges was broken into, Claire collected lots of keys from a padlock that had been broken. During lockdown she made an artwork using 28 of these keys, adding pompom key-rings to represent all the people in DIY who were in isolation at home. The key was a symbol that one day they would be able to unlock lockdown and all meet up again.

I liked the keys with the pompoms because it stands out and it reminded me of Following Patient 36. I liked Claire’s shawl because it’s got all the DIY colours in it and during the pandemic it kept Claire safe”

As part of her own artistic practice Claire makes blankets and quilts to protect people, things and ideas. Claire made a fragile shawl to protect herself and everyone in DIY too. She used fabric and threads from previous DIY projects, or given by friends, and carefully matched the colours with the key rings.

I liked the keys and the shawl. I liked the exhibition we did because it stands out.”

photo of DIY staff member Mary with a facemask on. She looks happy and is holding up her colourful tassle which contains written down her thoughts about lockdown.

Back Together

Back Together is a piece of participatory art created by members of DIY Theatre Company working with Claire. It originated in the need to maintain hope during the long periods of isolation caused by Covid-19.  During this time Claire created activity packs for members which included small textile pieces. (In the close up below you can see cross stitched pieces based on DIY’s logo.)

When restrictions were relaxed, company members and a group of DIY freelance artists met with Claire in Peel Park. Members of both groups were invited to share what it meant to them to meet in person after such a long period of separateness. DIY members created drawings and wrote statements about how they felt. DIY freelancers created a giant tangle together and individual tassels containing personal text.

Claire then combined all these elements to create Back Together – a textile hanging celebrating the joy of reconnecting.

It was really interesting. I liked how DIY’s exhibition was like a spider’s web – it was like the doctors stopping you getting out during lockdown”

close up of the artwork 'Back Together' it shows pieces created by DIY members whilst they had to stay at home because of lockdown. These include embroidered pieces of figures in wheelchairs (from DIY's logo) and words and pictures.

Many thanks to the funders who supported the creation of this artwork:
• NHS Salford CCG
• Salford CVS
• Salford City Council.

The logos of the funders who supported this work - NHS Salford CCG, Salford CVS and Salford City Council