I made this: Lockdown projects by Irish Times readers

We asked you to show us the hobbies, crafts and projects that got you through the last year

Aoife Hester’s Lego figurines

Aoife Hester’s Lego figurines

 

Aoife Hester, Co Wicklow

Last year, while spending a considerable amount of time at home due to the restrictions, I found myself feeling creative and I decided to look at the objects surrounding my home desk area. The Lego figurines were sitting on a shelf and I started to imagine funny little scenarios with them interacting with human objects and food.

These ranged from the little figurines running away with a giant (real) doughnut, watching a movie (on an iPhone), climbing up a guitar, pouring coffee etc. These images formed a lockdown Lego series of photographs (and can be seen on my Instagram: @ahphotos_ie). They definitely helped to pass the time and kept my mind feeling creative and fun during a very strange and often worrying year.

Betty Furlong, Wexford

Betty Furlong’s mosaic
Betty Furlong’s mosaic

Since the mid-1800s pieces of pottery from a shipwreck have been washing up on a two-mile stretch of beach in Rosslare Harbour. Like many people in the locality, I have been collecting them over the years and decided to do something with them during lockdown.

I created a mosaic on a wall in my garden depicting seagulls and waves. It was such a rewarding and therapeutic project that took my focus away from the constant negative news and helped me express my creativity in a new way. I look forward to making more in the coming months as friends and neighbours have asked me to help them create similar work.

Mary Nohilly, Greystones, Co Wicklow

Mary Nohilly’s three generation lockdown project
Mary Nohilly’s three generation lockdown project
Some of Mary Nohilly's grandchildren enjoying their new play house
Some of Mary Nohilly's grandchildren enjoying their new play house

This is our three-generation lockdown project, built by my son, painted by Grandma (me) under the watchful eyes of three grandchildren who love their new ice-cream hideaway. We had so much fun sharing this experience – all at safe distance of course. Hence, the following:

The Little House made with Love
Each plank of wood, each nail we used
Was chosen with such care
To make this special little house
For our three kids to share.
An Ice-cream Parlour was the brief
With lots of flowers around
Some Little creatures hidden there
Just waiting to be found
Our Lock Down Project has been fun
All hands on deck to get it done
It took some time to get it right
But has brought us all much joy & delight.

Layla Kenny, Dublin

Layla Kenny’s ring
Layla Kenny’s ring

I was doing my Leaving Certificate this year, which was naturally stressful, so I decided I would start making rings and earrings over lockdown to sell on Depop as I found it’s a really fun and creative way to relax. The orders coming in from my Depop account means it’s not a hobby I can just drop when I become demotivated which I think is really important. It also keeps me off my phone, which I have become increasingly attached to over these times.

Fiona Cooke, Arklow, Co Wicklow

Fiona Cooke Macrame backdrop. Photograph: Magda Lukas
Fiona Cooke Macrame backdrop. Photograph: Magda Lukas

I discovered a hobby called “Macrame” during the first lockdown – and it turned into a business. During lockdown I created this Macrame Wedding Backdrop which was used on a professional wedding photoshoot. Macrame-making is simple to start and yet really therapeutic and meditative. I would recommend it to everyone. With a few simple knots, you can create something great in no time.

Over time, I got lots of queries from people wanting to start the craft and make plant hangers and pieces for their homes. So now, I help other people to get creative with Macrame. I have spoken about it on radio and hosted a free workshop to university students on the craft. I am also starting a blog with all the information you need to create. You can find me on www.macrame.ie.

Rob Tobin, Dublin

Rob Tobin’s craft beer
Rob Tobin’s craft beer

My interest in craft beer was primed in the late 2000s by the emergence of exotic tap handles, bottles and cans among the counters and fridges of Dublin’s bars and off-licences. After seven years living in London, and travelling all over the world tasting beers, I returned to live in Dublin in 2017.

I had feared my cravings might go unsated here but to my surprise I discovered a growing market catering to varied tastes. At the onset of the pandemic I experienced a wistful longing for days spent seeking out impossibly obscure brews in even more obscure glassware and so sourced several varieties of hop seedlings from a nursery in Germany to embark upon my own microbrewing expedition.

While the summer sun went to work on my seedlings another crucial piece of the homebrewing jigsaw was placed when Ailbhe – my wife and seasoned fellow brewhunter – purchased a 25-litre brewing kit for my birthday. Our evenings and weekends are now punctuated by the donning of aprons and our rigorous sterilisation of brewing equipment, precise weighing out and combination of wort ingredients, intermittent measurements of gravity, siphoning, bottling, clearing and cooling until eventually, after 33 days or so, we crack open a fresh one.

For the indulgence of fellow beer nerds, our first brew was a US West Coast-style Chinook IPA, while our second was a UK Kentish Challenger IPA. The latter made an excellent stocking filler for family as well as good barter in the neighbourhood WhatsApp group in the lead up to Christmas. Our third and most recently ingested brew was a warming barley wine which was perfect for slow sipping on colder evenings.

What does the future hold? I’m looking forward to seeing how my young hops will fare and the addition of a young rescue dog – who is hellbent on destruction – into our modest Rialto garden. With a suitable yield of hops in the autumn I would like to brew some more single-hop IPAs, perhaps a German sour and a winter ale. Sláinte.

Jim Keeler, Hurricane, Utah, USA

Jim Keeler’s model car
Jim Keeler’s model car

I’m a builder of model cars. I’ve been doing it since I was a kid. I like to design a CB model and then execute it with detail and precision. It’s important that the details are realistic and the paint job is well done. I have won several national model building contests.

Ann McQuillen, Arklow, Co Wicklow

Ann McQuillen’s blanket
Ann McQuillen’s blanket

Over the last number of years during visits to the Lake District in Cumbria I have been buying beautiful wool from the local Herdwich sheep and adding this to my wool stash for future use. During lockdown I finally decided to use it and designed and knit my first blanket.

John Browne

John Browne’s art sculptures
John Browne’s art sculptures

Art has always been a passion of mine. Since retiring last September after 52 years in the catering industry, I knew with another lockdown looming it was time to get back out to my shed and get creative. I have always appreciated all forms of sculptures, and a new avenue I wanted to explore was creating life sized animals, using as much recycled materials and textiles that I had lying around the house.

To create these sculptures, I used a wood base skeleton, newspaper to make a paper mache body, hessian sacks to create the textures on the outer skin/furs. To bring the sculptures to life, I finish using acrylic paints to mimic the pigment of the animals coat. The first dog I sculpted took a few trial and errors. Many long hours went into the making of him.

I was delighted with how life like he turned out. I got great satisfaction watching the reactions of my grandchildren, when I showed them our new pet sculpture Roly. In the most recent lockdown, I have created more detailed sculptures. It has helped me stay positive, keeping my mind occupied and therefore the days never felt long.

Tony Mahony, Bray

Tony Mahony’s fairground caravan
Tony Mahony’s fairground caravan

At 82 years old I had little choice but to cocoon and my wife and I did so since last March (bar the weekly trip to get the messages). To keep myself busy I’ve done a number of jigsaws but they didn’t scratch my creative itch. So I downloaded images of carnival and fairground caravans and worked out all the measurements. Between the bits and bobs of wood I had lying around the shed and some old broken toys I’ve been able to make a reasonable representation of one of them.

Lara Hill, Dublin

Lara Hill’s cards and masks
Lara Hill’s cards and masks

During the first lockdown I was living on my own as my partner was under lockdown in Oslo and couldn’t travel home. As I couldn’t visit family or friends I started a project of making cards and masks and posting them to family and friends. I made these linocut cards as I could repeat the print many times and send out messages to the people I was separated from. I enjoyed every aspect of this: cutting the lino, making the print, writing the cards, posting them out into the world and then hearing from people when they received them.

Clement Moylan, Galway

Clement Moylan’s collage
Clement Moylan’s collage

My name is Clement Moylan. I am a 62-year-old living in Galway in semi-independent living. I want to show people my art work because I am so proud of what I have done. Since lockdown I have discovered that it is not easy passing every hour of the day. So, with the support of my art teacher Lilly, I came up with the idea of using any recycled material.

I had to think about what I can do, sitting in my apartment. Normally, I attend an art studio twice a week but not since lockdown. I have been working with paint up until now so this is all very new to me! Lilly supplied me with stickers and off I went. There are many designs but my favourite is the “Mug and Coaster” I did. The picture behind me has already been sold. When I am in my apartment, on my own, it makes me feel happy doing my collage. We all need to find something that makes us feel happy.