May 29: Being quarantined at home because of coronavirus crisis can’t stop these students from pursuing Victorian-era hobbies

A+student+models+Christian+Aguirre%27s+painted+denim+jacket+to+advertise+his+growing+business.+Reprinted+with+permission+from+Christian+Aguirre

A student models Christian Aguirre's painted denim jacket to advertise his growing business. Reprinted with permission from Christian Aguirre

Hanna Oltman

LIVING UNDER THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS

This is part of a series of columns from The Accolade staff about their various experiences during the school closure because of the coronavirus pandemic. If you would like to submit some of your experiences, please email us at [email protected].

Since California’s stay-at-home order mid-March to avoid the spread of COVID-19, the lockdown hasn’t been easy. 

Not only can it be stressful to stay cooped up in close quarters with family members, but it’s also easy to get bored after being home. I can only watch so much Netflix movies or shows and contact my friends via Facetime for so long before that gets boring.

Upon digitally reaching out to some of my friends, I’ve noticed that some have picked up new hobbies to pass the time. The New York Times in an April 30 online article titled, “People Have Gone Full 1800s,” also addressed a similar trend.

“Some are turning to virtual versions of their favorite pre-pandemic activities: digital dance raves, game nights and exercise classes have all popped up since lockdown began,” according to the article. “But others are cutting down on screen time by pursuing old-timey crafts of a bygone era: namely the Victorian times of 19th-century England, when greater wealth and industrialization afforded the privileged upper class more idle time to hang out at home. The new leisure class filled their down time with activities like fern collecting, flower pressing, scrapbooking, board games and playing chamber music on their own instruments.”

For Sunny Hills students, it’s like a Victorian rebirth, too, as many are picking up some arts and crafts of their own.

“I first started painting toward the beginning of senior year because I’ve always enjoyed videos of people customizing their own clothes and shoes,” senior Christian Aguirre said. “Due to quarantine, though, I’ve had a lot more time, so I decided to paint my own denim jacket.”

But what started off as a fun diversion soon turned into a small business for Aguirre as he has decided to start selling them on Instagram after some friends offered to pay for custom designs. 

“I don’t always have a ton of time to paint, so it takes a few days to paint a jacket,” Aguirre said. “Once I’m done painting, I have to wait 24 hours so I can iron the jacket and let the paint take its shape into the jacket.” 

After the design is finished, Aguirre sells his creation for about $50. This way, Aguirre made himself a side job that brings him and his customers joy, and even now he safely drops off products to his customers.

“My favorite part about painting clothes is seeing the design come together little by little with every detail, and watching the enjoyment as my friends get their customized clothing,” Aguirre said.

Meanwhile, another friend of mine, junior Leoni Nguyen, has turned her attention to sewing. 

“I started sewing over winter break but restarted at the beginning of quarantine,” Nguyen said.

Since then, she has made eight tops and five skirts.

“It takes me about two to four hours depending on what I make,” Nguyen said. “Most of the designs are entirely my own, but I watched plenty of YouTube tutorials before getting started.”

By using unwanted fabrics and clothes, the junior is able to recycle old material and turn it into brand new stylish outfits. Not only is she creating fashionable clothes for herself, but sewing is keeping her busy and giving her a creative outlet while staying inside.

“I love when everything comes together, and I get to model the outfits I made for the first time — that’s my favorite part,” Nguyen said.

In the meantime, another of my peers, junior Harbinder Dhariwal, has taken up singing to add to his pre-COVID-19 song writing hobby. 

“I started writing songs about six months ago when I got into playing guitar,” Dhariwal said. “But I didn’t sing before this other than occasionally in the shower.”

Now, Dhariwal plays guitar and composes songs as a hobby while in lockdown.

“It takes me about two weeks start to finish to completely write a song that I’m happy with,” he said. “It takes a week to get the chords down and then it’s all about finding a topic and writing about it in the next week.”

Since discovering his unexpected passion, Dhariwal has written about seven songs and plans on continuing this hobby in the future.

“My favorite part of all this is basically seeing the progression from an idea to a legitimate song,” Dhariwal said. “The fun part about this is having my friends look over the song and giving their take on how it should sound, seeing their artistic sense mold my rough song into a fully developed one.”

Finally, my friend, junior Peyton Rushing, has taken up old-fashioned embroidery to keep herself entertained.

“After seeing a family friend embroider, I wanted to try it out myself,” Rushing said. “Together my mom and I embroidered about 30 napkins, which took about three months.”

Rushing has always been a fan of crafts, including knitting and crocheting, so it was only a matter of time until she got into the world of embroidery as well.

“It’s fun learning all of the stitches and making things with my hands and I definitely plan on continuing this hobby,” Rushing said.

So although social distancing and isolation can get boring, it doesn’t mean we should rely only on 21st-century technology to entertain us. It’s worth taking some time to explore new personal interests that can turn into healthy diversions.