Zoe Brand is a jeweller and object designer living in Canberra. Using a plastic alphabet stencil and pencil, Zoe traced out her response to isolation in her journal.
We asked Zoe three questions about her experience of isolation, completing this journal and her hope for the future. These are her responses:
Describe the experience of the period of isolation for you.
For my family and I, lockdown came only a few weeks after an extremely hard summer of bushfires. For months we had fires coming at us from three directions. Daily trips into town to the cafés and supermarket were where you could get the most up to date local information and being within the community was a comforting place to be. It was a period of heightened alert and numerous evacuations for my 9-month- old daughter and I, while my partner stayed to prepare, fight and mop up. It was time where being away from your home was deemed safest place to be. This in stark contrast to the pandemic where being at home has become the priority, the only way to stay safe. Going to the supermarket became a once a fortnight chore, with the community suspiciously eyeing off anyone who might cough or sneeze or stand to close. With the cafes shut and the half an hour line up just to get into the supermarket, it was strange and jarring feeling to find these were no longer the safe and comforting spaces they were only weeks before. The thought of the coming summer is heavy on my mind.
What does your book represent and how did you approach the challenge?
I completed my book over a number of nights, taking the time just before I went to bed to muse on some texts I had used in my past works. They seemed more relevant now than ever; THIS IS IT, IS THIS IT, IS THIS ALL THERE IS... I used a plastic alphabet stencil and my favourite pencil to trace out the shapes that become letters that became the words that became the phrases. I would meditate on the texts while I filled in the outline of the traced shapes; I WANT THIS, I WANT THIS MORE, I WANT MORE THAN THIS, WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THIS...
What do you hope will change in Australia as a result of the pandemic?
The political landscape is so corrupt and barren and devoid of decent humanity, it often makes hard to believe that real positive wholesale change can happen. I hope for so much, I want for so much good to happen; there is so much work for us to do on so many fronts. I just hope that the “new normal” is brighter, better and more hopeful existence.
Zoe Brand completed an Advanced Diploma in Jewellery and Object Design at Design Centre, Enmore, TAFE NSW – Sydney Institute. In 2014 Brand completed her Bachelor of Visual Arts majoring in Gold and Silversmithing at the Australian National University. 2015 She finished her Bachelor of Visual Arts with First Class Honours at the same university. Brand has exhibited in many group shows in Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Germany, France and Estonia and her work is held in a number of significant private collections. Brand was also recently the Director of the Personal Space Project, a gallery located in her bedroom. She lives and works in a small village outside of Canberra.
View Zoe Brand's journal here:
Image: Zoe Brand, Design/Isolate Journal (detail), 2020.