Quarantine Craze

Students share hobbies they picked up over quarantine

Siri Chevuru, Design Editor

At first, quarantine was viewed in a negative light, but as time went on, people began to adapt to the extra free time and began utilizing it to learn new skills and hobbies. With an extended summer break and a delayed start to school, students had more time to focus on their hobbies and pick up new skills.

Senior Bailey Bowles refined her jewelry making skills and began her own business. In fact, through this new venture into the hobby and a business on Etsy, she said she’s planning on making $2,500 net profit by the end of the year.

Senior Bailey Bowles writes a note expressing her gratitude to a customer for buying her earrings.
Photo by Siri Chevuru.

Bowles said the reason she picked up this hobby again was solely because she had extra time to do what she wanted.

“I never really had time for it because I was balancing school and everything,” Bowles said. “Whenever I [start,] I really had to take a while just to sit down and learn again. And I never really had time to do that. And so a quarantine allowed me that time and now I just do it in between school and work.”

Bowles said she began making jewelry because she had nothing else to do. With everything shut down, she was stuck at home and was forced to find an enjoyable way to spend her time.

“I was so bored during quarantine that I just wanted to try something new,” Bowles said. “I thought why not make earrings that I would wear today, so then I just started making them.”

She said she first began to make clay jewelry when she was about 8, however she forgot most of the techniques and how to do it when she looked into starting again. She would repair her jewelry, but she never touched clay in recent years prior to her jewelry-making endeavor.

“I just learned the basics from YouTube, but you kind of just learning as you go,” Bowles said. “There’s not really any stone rules to it.”

One challenge she came across was the holes. She initially punched out holes before she baked them, but the clay pieces would shatter when she tried to put the earring together. Learning from her mistakes, she now drills the holes after the clay bakes.

Bowles makes everything by hand and with simple tools. She said she doesn’t use molds.

“Flowers I mold together myself, and things like that. But I use cookie cutters to cut out the things,” Bowles said. “If I wanted to have a ton of flowers on it, I would lay out the clay … and then I would pick a cookie cutter and cut out the earring shape from that design.”

Out of the many earrings she has made and listed, Bowles said her favorite by far is her leopard print earrings. She described it as a leopard print on a small circle inside a larger black circle.

“It’s my first video to go viral and got like 150,000 views [on TikTok]. It was just fun,” Bowles said. “There’s a good memory to it.”

Bowles is one of many students who took advantage of the time. Junior Faith Steiner spent her time learning to play the ukulele. Steiner is not new to playing instruments. She said she has already learned how to play the clarinet which has helped her in learning notes for the ukulele. Steiner said learning how to play the ukulele is a stepping stone to learning guitar.

Junior Faith Steiner plays a few basic chords on her ukulele. Photo by Siri Chevuru

“I’ve kind of wanted to do it for a little bit,” Steiner said. “I’ve always wanted to learn how to play guitar, and that’s a little step toward that.”

Steiner’s ukulele is no ordinary instrument; it holds a special meaning to her. It was gifted to her on her birthday a few years ago.

“My grandparents got it in Hawaii for me and I love it because of the little dolphin  [design on the guitar],” Steiner said.

She said she began playing a few months ago and only spent 20-30 minutes learning how to play it.

“Some songs only have like three chords, so it’s pretty easy,” Steiner said.

Despite how easy it is, there are still some difficulties she encounters while playing the instrument.

“Sometimes the note you have to put your finger [is] all the way around the neck of the instrument, and sometimes my fingers can’t reach because I have small fingers,” Steiner said.

Steiner said she is still in the practice of perfecting her craft. She practices two days each week. She said she usually does practice with junior Kyra Tatge.

“I usually just try to do it with Kyra because she knows more, and I don’t really know many chords,” Steiner said.

Steiner said she enjoys having the opportunity to learn how to play a new instrument.

“I think it’s cool, it’s like a mini guitar and it’s just fun,” Steiner said.

Senior Matthew Claar also took up a new hobby. He began engineering numerous machines and tools, with his latest project being an Iron Man suit. Claar engineers and creates things from flame throwers to knives. He described the things he makes as “kind of all over the place.”

Senior Matthew Claar showcases a burst of fire from his flamethrower that is wrapped across his arm. Photo courtesy of Claar.

“It just kind of depends on what I’m feeling,” Claar said. “And what I have the tools to do.”

Along with his current Iron Man suit, he’s made a shield, flamethrower and has already planned a future project of a rocket propeller. However, not everything he does is toward the violent and dangerous side.

“It’s not always weapons,” Claar said. “Those tend to get the most attention, [but] I’ve done things and learned a lot about audio systems. Over quarantine, I’ve installed a new audio system in my car, and while it doesn’t shoot fire, it does shoot fire in an auditory sentence.”

Compared to the numerous things he has built, Claar said nothing tops his Iron Man project so far.

“I think [the Iron Man-style flame thrower] is one of the most fun, and also thrilling creations ever made,” Claar said.

Claar said nearly everything he makes is an original idea that he plans and constructs.

“Ninety percent of the stuff that I make is original; [I] take some inspiration and some ideas that work off of others,” Claar said. “The general concept is something that I either design in CAD or write on a notebook or just ideas that I brainstorm.”

Claar said he draws inspiration from places, but he refuses to copy another person. He likes to make whatever he makes his own.

“I hate looking at something online and saying, I want to build that. Just because someone hasn’t seen the video of it doesn’t make it yours,” Claar said. “I built [the flame thrower] and part of the reason is I want it to be my idea I came up with”

For Claar, only finishing the project does not mark it successful. He said he needs to know the ins and outs completely or else it goes “stale.” With knowledge of the process, he said he can use the basics and implement it into anything.

“I want to get the recognition when I blow up seven times and I come out with a flamethrower suit the eighth,” Claar said. “It does not happen on the first try. I’m glad it doesn’t. And you know, I’ll keep failing.”

Claar said his adventures in creating these objects could be a silver lining to the pandemic.

“I probably would not have had time for [making stuff] if quarantine wasn’t a thing,” Claar said. “I’m actually really grateful that we’ve had that.”