Pandemic House

By Rebecca McGee Tuck | December 16, 2020

On March 15, 2020, we learned that our studios would close because of COVID-19. We had one day to go in and collect what we needed, but for how long—no one knew. I grabbed my sewing machine, various fabrics, yarns, wires, glue and other collage materials. My dining room table became my pandemic studio. It was smaller, in full view of my family, and it lacked the freedom to be as messy as I needed to be! As a found object artist, the virus made me have to rethink the objects that would inspire me. I started collecting from within my house, sewing collages with whatever I could find. The drive to keep working and my need to visually journal what was going on around me, is how the Pandemic House came to be.



Rebecca McGee Tuck “Once Upon A Time: Pandemic House.” Found and collected objects from within my home, steel, and paint. 82″ x 58″ x 74″ 2020


Rebecca McGee Tuck “Once Upon A Time: Pandemic House.”  Me inside the welded steel frame of the house.


Rebecca McGee Tuck “Once Upon A Time: Pandemic House.” Detail obituaries cut from The Boston Globe in April and May, thread.


I came up with the idea for the first panel one Sunday when The Boston Globe published more than twenty-five pages of obituaries. I spent the day reading each one, then sewing them together like a quilt. This was my way to honor those who died.

I kept thinking of the movie “Groundhog Day.” Every morning was the same as the next. I love my family, but it was getting claustrophobic in the house. Online school, disappointment as important life events were cancelled, cooking, cleaning, and worrying constantly—it was taking a toll on all of us. The coffee filter panel represents that feeling of the days all melding together and the clothing panel has the representation of each family member who was with me during quarantine.


Rebecca McGee Tuck “Once Upon A Time: Pandemic House.”Right side of “Once Upon A Time:  Pandemic House.” Hundreds of coffee filters, clothing from each member of my family, thread.


Rebecca McGee Tuck “Once Upon A Time:  Pandemic House.” Detail of clothing from my daughter, middle son, oldest son and his partner who were quarantining with us.


When George Floyd was murdered, I put my anger and disgust to work on a new panel. The United States was breaking apart before my eyes–riots, protests, racism, division. “Hate Has No Home Here” and the frayed American flag collage came together in a fury of anger and fear!

Rebecca McGee Tuck “Once Upon A Time:  Pandemic House.”  Left side, pieces from my collection of retired American Flags, bed sheets, curtains, and various fabric pieces.


The house shape for this sculpture made sense to me. We were all living through all these events within our homes. My welding equipment is housed in my garage, which made it convenient to fabricate a structure with the scrap metal that I had accumulated.

The final title for this piece is “Once Upon A Time: Pandemic House.” I long for the day when this name is part of the stories we tell about a time gone by.




Copyright © 2020 Rebecca McGee Tuck
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  1. Ben on December 17, 2020 at 5:09 pm

    This is great.

  2. Dianne Jenkins on December 30, 2021 at 5:10 pm

    I just found this and am In awe. What an inspiring response to all we have been through and how beautifully you articulated it. Thank you

    • Rebecca McGee Tuck on December 31, 2021 at 8:00 am

      Thank you Dianne. I really appreciate that you took the time to read the story behind this piece. 🙂 Rebecca

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