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Holladay Journal

Homespun creativity thrives during the quarantine

Apr 29, 2020 11:08AM ● By Sona Schmidt Harris

During this “creative quarantine,” Sheryl Gillilan works on her “Apocalypse Quilt.” (Photo courtesy Sheryl Gillilan)

By Sona Schmidt-Harris | [email protected]

The Stay Safe, Stay Home directive from Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is challenging to most people who like to be out and about. However, there are some hidden benefits, one of which is the ability to stay home and engage in creative activities, a “creative quarantine” if you will.

Executive Director of the Holladay Arts Council Sheryl Gillilan has been busy since the Governor's directive. “I'm working from home, but when I'm not doing that, I've turned into a face mask factory. I've got lots of great fabric because I'm a quilter, so I've been making masks for family and friends. It meets my creative need and I feel like my skills are particularly useful right now to the community. I'm also planning to donate masks when I get through my current backlog of orders.”

Executive Director of the Holladay Arts Council Sheryl Gillilan makes useful masks during the current COVID-19 crisis. (Photo courtesy Sheryl Gillilan)

Gillilan continues to quilt as well. “I'm using fabric I've had stashed away from two different trips to Amsterdam, and the rhythm of the sewing and visible progress is very soothing to me. I'm calling it the ‘Apocalypse Quilt’ (the ending of one thing and the beginning of another). There's an old quilter's saying, ‘When life hands you scraps, make a quilt!’” 

Though always the creative type, she said that her creative energy is “definitely different these days.”

Gillilan is also relying on her creativity to ground her and provide comfort. “I turn on my music and let my brain process life while I'm humming along and sewing. It's very Zen-like,” she said.

Sofia Glaittli, a student in the Multidisciplinary Design Program at the University of Utah, also continues to express herself.

“I’ve been making bread, jam, pasta, watermelon drinks, sourdough pancakes, dyeing Easter eggs with red cabbage, and (making) lots of other new yummy things that I never thought I had time for,” Glaittli said.

 “I converted the downstairs kitchen/movie area into a spare bedroom by refurbishing/painting the kitchen cabinets, moving all the random junk out and putting in all my furniture that used to be in my apartment,” she said.

She did all this to prepare for her cousin moving in.

Photography is also one of her pursuits. In one of her images, she is taking a picture of her mother wearing a mask in the car. At the same time, there is a reflection of herself in the window taking a picture of her mother—a perfect image of all that physically divides us during this pandemic.

Glaittli is also picking up old creative pursuits. “I’ve been painting in watercolor again too, sculpting things in clay and taking care of my houseplants.”

What is your “creative quarantine” activity? Feel free to leave a comment or a helpful suggestion as to how others might create during this strange time in modern history.




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