PEI

Islanders show and tell their pandemic creations

With time on their hands, many Islanders have tapped into their creative sides. Some people who are artistic had more time to create and try new things, while others discovered untapped potential as makers. 

Check out what your neighbours have been making while stuck at home the last couple of months

P.E.I. artist Monica MacDonald has created an arresting series of work on the theme of isolation. This one is called Waiting. (Submitted by Monica MacDonald)

To paraphrase Charles Dickens — it was the worst of times, it was the best of times. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit P.E.I. in early March, many Islanders were thrown out of work and told by public health officials to stay home. Once the house was cleaned, the bread was baked and Netflix was watched for endless hours — then what?

With time on their hands, many Islanders have tapped into their creative sides. Some people who are artistic had more time to create and try new things, while others discovered unknown potential as makers.

I asked people on Facebook to share their creations, and the response was huge: jewelry, knitting, sewing, woodworking, baking, music, writing and more.

(Please note that usernames are not necessarily the names of commenters. Some comments have been altered to correct spelling and to conform to CBC style.)

Jenny Richard of Charlottetown is a hotel events manager who started making family doodles during the pandemic.

"I'm not very artistic usually in this way, but started playing with some fun things with my Apple pencil and found a fun hobby/little side hustle," Richard said. 

'I’m not very artistic usually in this way, but started playing with some fun things with my Apple Pencil and found a fun hobby/little side hustle,' says Jenny Richard of Charlottetown. (Submitted by Jenny Richard)

Jason Doucette of Charlottetown started making these tiny wooden picnic tables for squirrels. 

"Made a couple for gifts," he said, "Going to make a few more to sell. Watching squirrels can be fun!"

'The time on my hands made me a little squirrelly and I went a little nuts and sort of put it out on the table,' says Jason Doucette, who created tiny wooden picnic tables for squirrels in his yard. (Submitted by Jason Doucette)

Amanda Axworthy tried wood burning for the first time, using a kit she had purchased a while ago but hadn't had time to try. 

"It took about six hours to do. I will do more and hopefully get faster. I sell paintings at Christmas time in local craft fairs so if more of these turn out I will include them," she said. 

Amanda Axworthy wasn't going to let the pandemic get her goat. She turned to wood-burning to blow off some steam. (Submitted by Amanda Axworthy)

Daniel Basiletti is from P.E.I. and now lives in New York where he is the sales manager for a company that sells modern design to museum and design stores. He shared he's been playing with paper houses during the pandemic.

"I started with a paper tiny house kit that I received for Christmas but then started making my own furniture! The couch in this photo unfolds into a Hide-A-Bed," he said. "I have always been attracted to miniatures and model making!"

Daniel Basiletti has been enjoying creating tiny paper houses and furniture, he says. (Submitted by Daniel Basiletti)

"Kitchen table turned into art centre during pandemic," wrote Gretha Rose of Souris. "I never considered myself artistic. Wanted to be playful and experiment at a time when needed for mental health!"

Gretha Rose made this mixed media piece embellished with crushed sea glass for sparkle. (Submitted by Gretha Rose)

Rosemary Hill of Charlottetown and her fiancé built a new garden with a mini hothouse, in which they plan to plant beans, peas, tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, lettuce and lots of herbs.

"Not concerned about food supply, more pride of harvesting our own and it's a wonderful stress relief at this strange crazy time," she said. 

Rosemary Hill and her fiancé built this new raised garden for vegetables. (Submitted by Rosemary Hill)

Kathy Corbett of Charlottetown was also turning her creativity into sustenance.

"Started food to eat from seeds, first time in years," she said. "Basil, which will get planted out in June to make lots of pesto for freezing to eat over winter, several lettuce types started mid-March all grown indoors just in windows and now eating as a salad."

'I am learning so much about seed starting,' says Kathy Corbett. (Submitted by Kathy Corbett)

George Stewart is a travel agent who's seen his business drop to almost zero. He said he's been having fun in the kitchen, making artistic focaccia to give away.

Bread as art from the kitchen of travel agent George Stewart. (Submitted by George Stewart)

'This song brought me some peace'

Many musicians have been incredibly busy and inspired during this time. 

"I wrote and recorded three EP's (17 songs) and put them on Bandcamp," said singer-songwriter Dennis Ellsworth.

"I made a lyric video for my new single," said Rachel Beck, sharing the link for Stronger Than You Know. "I have never really dabbled in video editing before, but I decided to give it a try since I couldn't afford to hire someone to make it (given the fact that all of my tour dates are cancelled for the rest of the year)."

P.E.I.-born and Toronto-based Noah Malcolm wrote this song to express what he was feeling during the pandemic, dedicating it to front-line workers. 

"It's a turbulent time; it's easy to forget, but we need to actively allow ourselves to receive and experience joy and peace in situations like this," he posted on Facebook. "Writing this song brought me some peace and I'm sharing in hopes that it might do the same for you."

Quilters, sewers and knitters were also keeping their hands busy finishing up long-forgotten projects or stepping outside their comfort zones, trying new designs. 

P.E.I quilters have been busy during the pandemic. From left to right, quilts from Betty Boyles, Roberta Giddings and Tami Martell. (Submitted by Betty Boyles, Roberta Giddings and Tami Martell)
Lacey Koughan's mother embellished this denim jacket with a Gucci backpack for a one-of-a-kind designer look. (Submitted by Lacey Koughan)

More from CBC P.E.I.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sara Fraser

Web Journalist

Sara is a P.E.I. native who graduated from the University of King's College in Halifax. N.S., with a bachelor of journalism (honours) degree. She's worked with CBC Radio and Television since 1988, moving to the CBC P.E.I. web team in 2015, focusing on weekend features. email sara.fraser@cbc.ca

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