Couch Curator Online Exhibition

  • Ann Garth, Sugar
  • Brian Ward, Model Railway Construction
  • Cat Scott, Shrooms
  • Elaine Nash, A Glass Collection
  • Elaine Nash, A Glass Collection
  • Eleanor Stanton, Ronnie's Stone Collection
  • Grace Ellis, Mint Collection
  • Jean Dagg, Study of Orchids
  • Jeanette Kilner, New work
  • Jeanette Kilner, New work
  • Mandy Ridding, Haberdashery Treasures
  • Mandy Ridding, Haberdashery Treasures
  • Rev Sue Bradley, Lockdown Finds
  • Rev Sue Bradley, Lockdown Finds
  • Oonagh, Sculpture a Day
  • Oonagh, Sculpture a Day
  • Clare Beverley, Lockdown Origami

This online exhibition is a celebration of the creativity and ingenuity that thrived in homes around the UK under lockdown.

At the peak of lockdown in the UK, The Collection and Usher Gallery asked members of the public to send through their photographs of creative projects and collections that they were undertaking or working on while confined to their homes. Taking inspiration from J.W. Usher's watercolour paintings of his decorative art and jewellery collections, the call went out for people to submit pictures, videos, paintings or drawings of their favourite objects and how they were displayed; this could include for example, a tomato plant in the garden, a prize collection of pottery, or a favourite game played on the xbox. The aim was to create an online exhibition showcasing how creativity is not limited to traditional arts-based materials or practices. In a period where not everyone had access to all shops and resources, people were finding creativity and inspiration in unusual places.

The photographs and videos included in this online exhibition, combined with the words and descriptions provided by participants, illustrate the breadth of contemporary creativity and culture.


Ann Garth


'I started collecting 50 years ago when I found a 'vogue bingo' sugar wrapper in the garden. As a family we sometimes had a drink out and cafes had their own sugar packets and cubes so my collection grew.
Add to that a small collection of old Dutch ones given by a friend's mum and my imagination was fired up to collect worldwide sugars.
I worked in an office after school and friends and colleagues brought ones back from holiday adding to my stash. I began to display them in photo albums, moving to using stamp hinges and recently plastic pockets. Now I work in a shop and customers sometimes surprise me with their holiday ones.
The history of the packets is interesting as you can see the evolution of sugar cubes to the shaped packets and sticks of today. I have round ones, heart shaped ones and pyramid ones. Plus for example, my McDonalds collection tracks the changes in their designs over many years.
During lock down I purchased 2500 different old Dutch ones!!! All for the price of just a few cups of coffee. They age from one dated 1951 through to the 80s. I even have a wrapper from a crematorium! It has taken many weeks to sort them!
Foreign bags tend to be more colourful than British ones but there are thousands to be found. I have probably about 13,000 now. I belong to the British Sucrology Club where some people have over 125,000!!!!so I have a long way to go.


Brian Ward

Photos of model railway construction during lockdown.


Cat Scott

3D Printed Mushrooms

3D printed Mushrooms, hand painted during lockdown, as part of a Steampunk project- hopefully for 2020s Asylum festival!


Elaine Nash

A Glass Collection

Initially, Lockdown was spent painting the bright colours and textures of flowers in gardens. Varied brushstrokes and marks were used to portray the variety of textures and light effects.
In complete contrast, a delivery of a cocktail and glasses, from the Strait and Narrow in Lincoln, inspired me to explore entirely different subject matter: the depiction of glass .The versalitiliy of acrylics ,watercolour, a limited colour palette, lost and found edges and understating the detail were used to suggest the transparency, patterns and sparkling surfaces of the glassware.


Eleanor Stanton

Ronnie's Stone Collection

My five year old son Ronnie wanted to send a picture of his stone collection. He arranged them and photographed them himself. The collection is three years in the making and he always seems to have stones in his pockets.


Grace Ellis

Photographs of mint collection: Ginger mint, Black peppermint, Grapefruit  mint, Chocolate mint, Basil mint, Pineapple mint, Variegated apple mint, Curly mint


Jean Dagg

Study of Orchids

I took part in a challenge to draw every day in May. I drew plants around the house and ones that I had seen on my daily walks in lockdown. I really enjoyed drawing my orchids in ink and began to understand their structure and differences more clearly! Drawing and painting in lockdown kept me sane, giving me joy and focus!


Jeanette Kilner

New work

Before lockdown I had started a series of work based on collections of things in nature. This has continued during lockdown with these pieces/ experiments.


Mandy Ridding

Haberdashery Treasures

These are some of my haberdashery treasures.
I collect them from junk shops and charity shops.
I love them and make patchwork stories on old pieces of blanket using old pieces of linen and lace.


Rev Sue Bradley

My lockdown finds

In lockdown I opened a chest from the attic belonging to my great grandmother Rachael Alice Wood. Rachel moved with her parents to Petrograd( now At Petersburg) in Russia around 1878. Her father was a cotton miller. She was married in 1884 to a young farmer also English born William Stickney Hoe. These photos show part of her porcelain collection. The family left in 1916 photo byre revolution and lived in Louth. 2 of her 4 sons were already farming in Lincolnshire, John at Hutt Farm Stewton and Albert at Abbey Farm Stixwold. John was my grandfather.
1. China mark
2. Dancing and music



Oonagh created a sculpture a day and sent us these images of her new work via twitter during the lockdown.


Clare Beverley

Lockdown Origami


Simon Le Boggit


ISOLATED CLOUDS of Stale Dried Milk in my Coffee

Year: 2020