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Nicola Hardy

This work is part of a bigger body of work exploring with the inner critic. What began as a crowd of hand-inked and painted comic faces and speech bubbles, became singular voices, both positive and negative: the two sides of the coin. All feeling is based on your interpretation and attitude towards it, so sometimes the negative voices dominate but we need the positive voices to get us through - even if they sound too cheery and false and superficial.

During lockdown, the voices of the inner critic were amplified; sometimes cheering me on to create, other times putting me down and telling me to get a haircut and a real job. I need a tool of encouragement so I made these 'tiles' to become part of my EDC (everyday carry). In pendant form, these pieces also solve the problem of communicating with strangers when they can't see your masked mouth or you don't want to talk or you're feeling agoraphobic - the secondary symptoms of COVID-19. Choose your mood and communicate non-verbally - FUCK OFF or FUCK ON! LET'S PARTY vs LET'S STAY HOME! Turn the pendant to the side showing the message you want to communicate. - I have never worked with air dry clay before and during the pandemic I desperately longed (and still long, because this shit isn't over yet) for a tactile experience and I thought clay would be the solution. Air dry clay is low mess - perfect for my living situation. It's also a kind of lowly regarded material, often for kids' crafts but I found it to be surprisingly responsive and endlessly creative, and really satisfied my craving for tactility.

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