"Floods, like the poor, will always be with us." Michael Hanlon writes in The Telegraph, where he offers no solution bar deal with it. For this reason, it was particularly important that I created an illustration which was considered and respectful to those who've had to deal with the effects of climate change. To draw on the obvious - that there are floods - and ignore anything else about the subject would maybe mean that I condone Hanlon's tone. To draw something humorous means to potentially put myself with the politicians who were laughing during the debate about flooding in parliament.
I started this project (not professionally, but as part of my degree) once I recovered from a 26 hour journey traveling from Fermanagh to Hereford through storm Frank. It was my first time being personally caught up the annual holiday travel chaos, and gave me a lot of time to think about the impact of bad weather. Although my own photography over the past few years gave me decent source material to expand ideas from, it's a bit inappropriate to only consider this romanticised view. I think the experience of getting off the ferry at 2am in Holyhead during what felt like the apocalypse was more relevant.
After mind-mapping, glumly looking out the window and checking up on my mates up north, I honed in on three key ideas.
All three had pros and cons. I particularly liked the swan at the window, as it would work well in the space given, but I felt this took too light a view on the issue. I communicated this to the person I had selected to choose the idea to go forward with. Although they felt that it was the strongest idea, they understood my concern (that said - would someone commissioning an illustration for the article in reality think the same?). The idea they chose was the flooded wind turbine. Many turbines are found at sea, but if the flooding aspect isn't understood by the audience, then the wind turbine is still strongly linked with an awareness of climate change. Wind turbines are one of many solutions we can use to lessen our impact on the planet.
A major part of these floods were the impact it had on people's homes and businesses. For this reason, I chose a medium that has a connotation of being homely. Embroidery was at times relaxing, at times soul destroying. I'm not sure I'd feel confident using the medium in many other time-restricted circumstances.