Pandemic Creativity

Things have moved so fast. An outbreak of a flu like illness in China late last year has now become a global pandemic that has changed EVERYTHING. From midnight last Friday, virtually everybody in Ireland has been asked to stay at home, only go out for necessities or limited exercise and, well, that’s about it. Except that 46 people in Ireland and over 33000 globally have died to date, close to 750000 have been infected worldwide and it’s hard to know when it will end. It WILL end, that’s for certain, but the cost in human lives and human misery will be enormous.

My arty crafty stuff provides a very effective refuge from the pandemic-related uncertainties that every so often threaten to do my head in. I’m so grateful that I have it. Even so, few people can be unaffected emotionally by this unusual situation. It creates a constant level of anxiety and I am drawn perpetually to dip into the news, scroll though online sources and register the latest lockdowns, death tolls, bizarre pronouncements from some of the world’s key political figures, and so on. Like the red weed in War of the Worlds, the spread of the virus has been inexorable and there is a growing sense that it’s only a matter of time before it seeps under your own door or that of someone you love.

While a lot of my time is spent working out how to adapt the Irish Board of Speech & Drama and the Irish Board of Dance Performance to the physical distancing rules that are now in place, the very fact of not having to organise exams means that I have more time on my hands. Newspapers and social media are full of advice and suggestions as to how people can occupy their time under the current restrictions. I actually still don’t have enough time to do all the things I’l like to do so, in a way, I’m fortunate. I did quite a lot this week. I’m not going to show you all of it but here are the selected highlights …

I resurrected my cutlery carving and made some more progress on it. I’ve been at this since November 2018. I’m not really one for long, complicated projects. I like to get things done quickly but this one is complex enough and so it gets put away a lot. I started it on a very thick piece of wood which meant that there was a lot of wood to shave away. Also, I never had a clear idea about whether I was creating a trivet or an objet d’art. I think, at this stage, the latter. It’s not the right sort of wood (lime wood) to handle hot things. I’m not too far off completion now but I need to work out how I can represent the tines of the fork without the wood snapping off.

And while I had the knives out, I carved this. It’s much better than last week’s effort.

And then today, I carved all these out of one avocado stone.

I put them in the hot press to speed the desiccation process. It didn’t improve the look of them to be honest so I won’t show you the result.

And with some lovely multicoloured hemp yarn that I had left over, I did this … just to see how it would look. I think the way the colours change is interesting and I might well have a go at a more extensive project with it.

That’s it for now. Stay safe. Stay at home. Wash your hands.

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