52 Bowls 2020

The 52 Bowls project arose from a series of discussions between Jo Ladd and Nigel
Leighton towards the end of 2019. At the time, any thoughts of an imminent
pandemic and the devastating impact it was to have on life, was far from their
thoughts. Working from their respective background disciplines of Ceramics and
Textiles both artists decided that a collaborative project would provide an interesting
means of exploring new ideas and establishing a ‘dialogue through making’ initiative.
In order to satisfy the requirements of both artists and maintain a realistic timescale
for producing each piece of work, it was decided that the focus for a collaborative
conversation would be to make a ‘bowl’ for each week of 2020.
In order to provide a consistent platform for sharing each week’s work it was agreed
that each of the bowls would be posted through their respective Instagram accounts
and via #52bowls2020 at the same time of day at the end of each week.
The decision to develop an individual response to the bowl form, provided a simple
means of expressing an idea and establishing a visual conversation between the
artists through making. It was agreed from the outset that the bowl would serve less
as a vessel of domestic utility and more as a vehicle through which creative ideas
and personal thoughts might be expressed.
As the early weeks and months of 2020 began to unfold, culminating in the global
pandemic of Covid 19, it became increasingly apparent that the work of each artist
would begin to reflect the reality of such an event. In the new world of social
isolation, distancing, lockdown and the tragedies that began to emerge, the weekly
challenge of responding, conceiving, making sharing and posting work provided a
very different experience and meaning to the collaboration. For the majority of the
project, neither artist would see the work of the other until it was shared in the weekly
Instagram posting.
The exhibition at Allanbank Arts centre is the first opportunity since the project was
completed at the end of 2020 that all one hundred and four bowls have been
presented alongside each other.