The silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic has been seeing people’s creativity emerge and thrive. According to the Washington Post article on April 20, 2020, “From cooking to calligraphy, people stuck at home are finding new space for creativity” by Michael Brice-Saddler, “The novel coronavirus’s spread across the globe has caused seismic disruptions to everyday life. Daily activities rarely extend beyond the confines of one’s home. Social distancing often feels more akin to social isolation…With fewer distractions and increased downtime, some have found space to start new projects or complete those long forgotten.”
The team at Attraction magazine wanted to share with readers how it has been expanding its horizons over the last 11 months – finishing projects, renewing hobbies, and overall rekindling our creative spirits. The result has been a more balanced feeling in our lives. Using different parts of our brains and cultivating our spirits can’t help but improve our moods and give us all hope.
“I’ve always been a pretty crafty person and I like having little projects to work on. During the lockdown, I decided to teach myself how to knit. Thank goodness for YouTube! I’ve mastered hats and scarves, but would like to take a class in person someday to work on something harder, like a sweater,” states Allison D. Rogers, Publisher/Owner.
“I also enjoy painted projects and this year for Christmas I bought an unfinished wooden nutcracker and painted it for my husband, Paul. We enjoy watching the show ‘Outlander’ together, so the nutcracker was based on the main character Jamie Fraser, a Scottish Highlander.
Recently, Paul and I completed another painted project – a birdhouse designed to look like our own home. Paul did the woodwork and I did the painting. Being at home so much during the pandemic has also allowed me to do some house projects. I wallpapered a bathroom and also painted my kitchen’s tile backsplash.”
Harriett Slaughter, wife of Richard Slaughter, Attraction’s previous owner, mother of Allison, and the magazine’s proofreader, has been prolific in her craft projects during the pandemic. She comments, “When COVID had me house-bound, I needed a craft to keep me busy. Rug hooking small 8-inch by 10-inch pieces and then turning them into decorative pillows was the perfect new hobby! In six months, I created 22 pillows and they made great Christmas gifts for my friends and family. I even found labels online and each pillow has “Handmade by Harriett” on the back. Now I’m HOOKED!”
“After 22 pillows, it was time to find another new craft to try. I am finding my new hobby – basket making – to be really fun, too. I have ordered several books and a couple of new easy basket making kits to try. My next basket project will have me attempting to dye a few of the reeds and turning the basic basket into something I have designed myself. It’s all about keeping busy and learning something new while staying safely at home during COVID.”
Our creativity may also spring from being in our homes more than normal during the pandemic and seeing projects that need doing. There has certainly been a surge in interest in home decorating. For Jennifer Latham, Executive Editor, she noticed her bathroom sink looked really dingy. She recalls, “The ideas just started coming. Replace the sink. Turn an antique into a vanity. Paint an old mirror to match the new/old vanity. Paint the bathroom. I became a bit obsessed with chalk paint.”
“When that project was done, I started on repainting a blanket trunk, utilizing a new painting technique and new colors. After that, I painted the peacock side table. I just finished painting some old platters that needed re-plating using a technique I had never used. I took a class at The Treasure Chest in Oxford to learn how to chalk paint and Joan has been a wonderful resource. Now, I want to repaint everything in my house! It’s been a great way to stay busy and repurpose some family heirlooms.”
Others of us on the team found old hobbies to revisit – some unfinished projects that needed to be completed or new projects involving favorite pastimes. Graphic designer Ryan Jacobson found staying home more in 2020 gave him a lot of opportunities to work on many different kinds of projects. He states, “I got back into drawing pencil portraits through commissioned pieces and to give as gifts. I haven’t worked in pencil in many years and it was fun to jump back into it again.”
“I also started using a jigsaw to make and paint wooden signs in different shapes. One of these projects was for a local personal trainer’s gym. Being a graphic designer, I spent a lot of time on the computer reworking old sketches and new illustrations to use in future projects, like T-shirts and stickers. Many of these drawings are also being used in custom coloring books I’ve been making for my young nephews.”
For me, as a contributor to Attraction, it has been a combination of revisiting hobbies I have always had a passion for, but not had the time to do. I bought an embroidery kit on my birthday in March, using vintage fabrics in a fabric collage. The project incorporated my love of embroidery as an embellishment to the fabric. I found myself consumed for eight hours one day, getting the fabric cut out, placing it, and gluing it into the shape of a magnolia flower. It was so refreshing.
My husband and I also tackled an ambitious home project and chalk painted our kitchen cabinets. Like Jennifer, we had never used chalk paint. The project is ongoing as we needed to replace all of the hardware and hinges on the cabinets, so only half of the kitchen has been completed.
It may seem odd to be enjoying these winter months to finish up projects and engage in new ones, but I think the pandemic has taught us all a few things. After all, the proverbial saying, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” has become more relevant today. I believe our newfound hobbies and crafts can transform us and enrich our lives. We meet new people, find out about our hidden talents and skills, and maybe even smile a little more at the finished creations we have made.
Go ahead – try something new in 2021. You may be surprised by the changes it makes in you.
~ Written by Amelia Steward.