Sep 24, 2021
The coronavirus pandemic is alive and well. We’ve been incredibly fortunate in Brisbane to be able to go about our lives relatively normally, painting and sipping in studio with our Brisbane guests, but for Melbourne and Sydney it’s been a different story. It’s been months of lockdowns, and although vaccination rates are climbing there’s still no clear end date in sight. Lockdown blues, and fatigue, is the real deal. It’s hard to stay jazzed on life during these times, when it’s impossible to plan ahead and have things to look forward to. We spoke to some of the team in Melbourne and Sydney to find out what they’ve been doing to keep their heads above water, and how they’ve turned to creativity to help them beat the lockdown blues.
Eddy Tait, our Head of Content and Culture in Melbourne, says that when it comes to beating the lockdown blues, being silly helps. She says, “Incorporating humour into each day keeps the blues away”. Eddy also likes to beat the blues by going for a run or walk, getting off social media, taking a break from the news, cooking delicious things, and putting on music and having a dance. When sadness strikes Eddy likes to work on one of her projects, such as crocheting, or simply focus on doing nothing.
“I feel more relaxed when I am making—it helps me zone out and my mind just wanders,” Eddy says. “I find creating, making something from scratch, super rewarding. Working through the ups and downs of the creative process is challenging, and therefore fulfilling to see it through.”
For Eddy, keeping creative during a lockdown is important because self-expression is such a big part of being human. “It’s important that we continue to express ourselves when we are in lockdown so we stay happy and sane,” Eddy says. “Many of our usual channels of expression are no longer accessible, so we might have to find new ways to be expressive.”
Eddy is currently sewing a tennis dress that she designed herself, and can’t wait to wear it once the courts open up again. She is also working on crocheting a jumper out of colourful patchwork pieces.
Mia Manalo, our Studio Lead in Sydney, likes to combat the lockdown blues by taking on bigger crochet projects and breaking it up with smaller painting projects and sketches. She also loves keeping herself occupied with really long TV series.
For Mia, keeping creative during lockdown “Helps to relieve some of the stress and anxiety around not knowing what is happening or what might happen”. She agrees with Sai-Wai from Making It Australia‘s sentiment: that crafting is cheaper than therapy!
Mia has just finished crocheting a bubble sleeve jumper—just in time for summer, she jokes. She’s planning to start another one soon, which she hopes will be ready for next winter.
For Chloé Newby, our Head of Brand and Projects in Melbourne, the lockdown blues have hit harder than ever during Melbourne’s sixth lockdown, but she is encouraged to see the vaccination rates climbing. For Chloé, “Beating the blues, in what feels like a hopeless cause sometimes, usually looks like painting (when I carve out the time), making something or taking neighbourhood walks with my babe, family or friend Sally. We live along the Yarra trail, which is a beautiful, natural escape in the inner city.”
Chloé says keeping creative during lockdown is important to her because it balances out the noise, which at times can feel inescapable. “Painting or making with your hands forces you to be present”, Chloé says. “At most, you can sort out your thoughts or those big feelings, but you always come back to the flow at hand.”
At the moment Chloé has a work in progress on the easel, and a commissioned painting in the pipeline. She is also making her son a pom pom jacket for his first birthday. Chloé says: “If you have to celebrate such a wonderful milestone, you may as well do it in style!”
Lockdowns are not for the faint-hearted, and aren’t much fun, but it’s our reality for some time yet. It’s natural to feel a bit blue with so much uncertainty around what’s to come and when. All we have is right here and right now, and if we can lean on creativity during this time, whatever that looks like for you, it may help you to relax, focus on the task at hand, and make your here and now just a little bit brighter.
BY ERIN CORSTIAANS