Harnessing your COVID creativity

By Gordon Lambie

Although it hasn’t been the case for everyone, spending the last month in isolation has prompted some interesting ideas among creative souls across the Eastern Townships. Whether it is steering a project that was already in the works towards a new goal or taking on a whole new challenge, Townshippers who find themselves with more free time all of a sudden have found all kinds of inventive ways to put it to use.
It is undeniable that the agricultural fairs of the Townships are an annual outlet for handicrafts of all kinds, but with the news earlier this month that the fairs are cancelled for this year, the idea that quarantined crafters would be able to shift into high gear for fall production fell by the wayside.
It took Janice Harvey-Picken about a day to come up with another plan.
“I have been entering in the fair for at least the past 15 years. Following in my mom’s footsteps,” she said. “When I found out that Brome Fair would not be happening this year because of the covid-19. I was very disappointed as I enter my knitting items into the handicraft building at the fair. So in my disappointment, on April 11th I was ­looking at my knitting facebook pages and saw a post a woman made of hats using rainbow colours.”
Inspired by the beautiful hat design and the significance of rainbows right now, the knitter decided that she would start making these hats for women who will be giving birth this year.
“It is to give them hope that everything will be ok. Knowing that these mothers might be faced with giving birth by themselves or being afraid to go into a hospital during this pandemic,” Harvey-Picken said. “At the same time once these children are born, these hats will be worn by them and will give hope to anyone who sees them.”
As she shared the idea on Facebook, the knitter said she was struck by how many mothers and grandmothers placed an order or two.
“Some mothers-to-be have also told me that this will be a commemorative item that will represent this covid-19 pandemic of 2020,” Harvey-Picken said, explaining that at this point 19 of the hats have been made, all free of charge. “I made it clear that I did not want any money as this was my way to give back to the community and to share a little hope to these frightened moms to be,” she shared. “Many are so grateful that they wanted to give something, so one person said they would make a donation to the food bank, another will make a donation to the Heroes’ breakfast program and I mentioned the BMP hospital. One lady is going to sew a mask for me, which reminds me of many moons ago when the community would help each other out.”
Where the rainbow hat project takes knitting that Harvey-Picken was already hoping to do and gives it a new purpose, Vicky Comeau’s family turned their creative energy and talents into something brand new.
“A friend suggested our families have a little challenge and create videos to help pass the time in isolation,” Comeau said. “Our family had lots of fun with it.”
The result of that first challenge was an eighties themed lip sync mix featuring songs by Corey Hart, Eurythmics, Journey, Bon Jovi, Doctor and the Medics, Simple Minds, The Outfield, Bryan Adams, and Rick Springfield.
“We love music and our children, Caresse and Cazian, are both performing arts students at Galt, so we made the first video in one afternoon,” Comeau said of the initial post, which was shared on April 5. “We have not left our home in weeks so all wigs and costumes are items we’ve dug out of our closets. Once we put the video on Facebook, we were quite amazed with all the positive feedback we received. So many people were thanking us for giving them something to smile about and laugh at during this difficult time, and we had so many requests for us to make another video.”
Drawing on that success, the family put together a seventies mix this past weekend and published it on Monday. This time drawing on the work of Carl Douglas, ABBA, Queen, Gloria Gaynor, The Jackson 5, The Village People, The Bee Gees, Olivia Newton-John & John Travolta, and The Knack, the family can be seen dressed up again in a variety of contexts.
“We realize all these songs are copyrighted and have acknowledged the original artists in our Facebook intro,” she said. “We are just making the videos for fun and to make people happy.”
If you have a creative project going on right now that you think it would be interesting to tell The Record about, feel free to call 819-569-6345, or send us an email to newsroom@sherbrookerecord.com

Published in the April 24 edition of The Outlet.

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