5 print projects to kickstart your creativity in quarantine

the-meaning-of-home-cover

When you're spending most of your days in the same place — maybe wearing the same sweatshirt — it can be hard feel inspired. But it's worth making time to be creative when possible: studies have shown that art can boost mental health and even reduce trips to the doctor.

As we head into a new year that so far feels very much like the last, we're focusing on ways to keep our minds active. To start, we love Julia Rothman's idea to draw your 2021 resolutions. We've also been delighted by the many ways our customers are using newspapers to explore new practices and connect with their communities.

From a quarantine cookbook to a collection of zero waste crafts, here are 5 projects responding to the pandemic that encourage us to stay creative.

The Meaning of Home lockdown photography zine

The Meaning of Home lockdown photography zine

The Meaning of Home lockdown photography zine

 Letters from home

After spending the better part of a year at home, it's all too easy to start ignoring our surroundings. But Kim Agnew and Jillian Hanson of Blue Sky Black Sheep, a writing group and independent publisher, prompted writers and photographers to instead take a closer look at where they live.

The meaning of home was something they'd wanted to explore before 2020, says Kim, but the project "took on new resonance" after months of lockdown.

"Working on the newspaper gave our days shape and focus. It was such an engaging process and one of the highlights of an otherwise challenging time."

Having published on newsprint before, Kim says they knew a digital tabloid would be a good fit. "There's something fun and offhand about the format. It feels like there's more license to experiment," she says. "When the finished piece arrives, it feels like a revelation. It's as if we're seeing it all for the first time. Each time you turn the page, it's a surprise!"

Working on The Meaning of Home provided "a through-line of inspiration, meaning, discovery, and creative engagement," says Kim. "This year it often felt like one week blurred into the next, so working on the newspaper gave our days shape and focus. It was such an engaging process and one of the highlights of an otherwise challenging time."

House Specials illustrated lockdown quarantine cooking zine

House Specials illustrated lockdown quarantine cooking zine

House Specials illustrated lockdown quarantine cooking zine

Quarantine cookbook

With dinner parties on hiatus, friends Mia Radic, Sarah Belfort, Jess Bidgood and Siobhan Battye created "a heaving table in book form." From well-loved family recipes to ambitious kitchen experiments, House Specials documents what over 40 contributors from around the world were eating while sheltering at home.

"[The cookbook] gave us an exciting project to occupy the time and a reason to connect with more friends."

The friends asked for drawings to go alongside each recipe and Siobhan, a professional graphic designer, laid out the text and illustrated the cover. They printed the zine as a digital mini and sent a copy to everyone who took part.

"It gave us an exciting project to occupy the time and a reason to connect with more friends," says Mia, whose dog June makes an appearance on the cover of the zine. "And thanks to Newspaper Club we have a lovely keepsake to share!"

Virus Diary: 54 Days of Pandemic Lockdown by Federico Marin printed by Newspaper Club

Virus Diary: 54 Days of Pandemic Lockdown by Federico Marin printed by Newspaper Club

Virus Diary: 54 Days of Pandemic Lockdown by Federico Marin printed by Newspaper Club

Stay-at-home sculpture

During Italy’s lockdown in March, photographer Federico Marin built a new installation from household objects every day. From a pineapple balanced on a stack of books to strands of spaghetti dripping from a shower head "each one is freestanding with no Photoshop or hidden supports,” he says of the 54 structures he created.

The photos are collected in Virus Diary, a digital tabloid designed by Ottone Studio. Federic says newsprint was the perfect format for a project made in response to the pandemic, "which is already on 'real' newspapers everyday."

No-waste-craft-group-1

no-waste-craft

no-waste-craft-zine-3

Comforting crafts

From corn husk dolls to water bottle wind chimes, this digital mini documents projects from the No Waste Nature and Craft Group based at the Bernice Fonteneau Senior Wellness Center in Washington DC.  The group's ethos is summed up in the introduction to the zine: "Zero waste is about less. Our group is about more: more human connection, more textures, more colors, more thrifty ingenuity."

"Creating print objects and receiving them in the mail feels like a treat, especially during the pandemic. The newspaper offered a break from digital content production."

Created with Erin Segal and Julie Cho of Thick Press, the project was originally published as a digital book by Loam magazine. The group decided to turn it into a print memento so that members who don't have the internet at home could enjoy it, too.

Erin and Julie say that the best part of turning a digital book into a physical newspaper was imagining how much the seniors would enjoy flipping through the pages and reading it.

"Creating print objects and receiving them in the mail feels like a treat, especially during the pandemic," they say. "The newspaper offered a break from digital content production, an object-oriented reminder that our group and our press do creative work together even though it may have slowed down over the last year."

I Hope This Finds You Safe and Well lockddown photography project by Phil Hill

I Hope This Finds You Safe and Well lockddown photography zine

I Hope This Finds You Safe and Well lockddown photography zine

Community connection

Photographer Phil Hill has lived in the English town of Watford  for 7 years, but it was only in lockdown that he was able to have "a proper dialogue with this place through photography."

The title of his mini newspaperI Hope This Finds You Safe and Well, is a reference to the phrase that so many of us have been writing lately. "The project was a way of being able to continue to talk and interact with people from a distance," says Phil. "Since I was unable to use many of the resources I have access to under normal circumstances, it was great to able to turn to an online platform like Newspaper Club and see this project realised as a newspaper."

"The project was a way of being able to talk and interact with people from a distance."

Phil adds that the newspaper has been well received by those he's shared it with, including Out Of Place Books — he's now working with the publishing house to create another publication featuring images from the newspaper alongside new work.


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