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COVID-19 creativity

Retirement Living Connectedness Community Positive Ageing Stories

Our lives continue to be influenced by COVID-19 so we talked to residents about how it’s shaping their creativity.

23 April 2021
IRT The Palms poet Col Blane.

Still a poet

Col Blane, the self-confessed event poet from IRT Palms, has now completed his series of COVID-inspired poetry with a recent cancer diagnosis giving him pause for thought.

The prolific poet featured in  The Good Life (Issue 3, 2020) at which point he had written 23 COVID-inspired poems. By early December he had written more than 35, but a throat cancer diagnosis in mid- December changed his plans.

Col started penning his weekly poetry in April last year and he was aiming to write 52 poems, which would represent a year. However, since his diagnosis he has written four more poems and the last, which completed the series, was publish on 9 January. He has now written an incredible 42 poems about COVID, isolation and its impact on daily life.

Col posted his poems onto his Facebook page and onto a blogger site for people who write personal stories. “The blog site was happy to publish my weekly poems and I feel privileged about that.”

Col feels hopeful for the future. “But COVID is still so much a part of our lives,” he says.

He feels fortunate to live in Queensland. “It was easy to isolate when we had to and we’ve had our fellow residents around us for support.”

Col says he remains positive while he undergoes treatment.

IRT Links Seaside resident Doreen Bryars OAM has been enjoying making paper tole.

Keeping up her creative spark

In 2020 Doreen Bryars OAM switched her conductor’s baton for paper tole as her music activities were put on hold due to the pandemic.

Doreen is the driving force behind a male choir known as the Lamplighters and the mixed singing group known as the Minstrels. Unfortunately COVID put paid to the groups’ rehearsing and performing. The Minstrels usually perform at aged care centres once a week but have been unable to do so. “And we are missing all that,” she says. “The Lamplighters miss their rehearsals and big concerts.”

So Doreen has channelled her energy into the art of paper tole, also known as 3D decoupage, where multiple layers of paper are cut, shaped and layered.

“The very first picture I learned to do was of a little girl playing the piano and I’ve played the piano all my life,” Doreen explains.

Doreen learned how to make paper tole several years ago but in 2020 she made so much that her framed creations now line the halls of her IRT Links Seaside apartment complex, much to the delight of her neighbours.

“It takes you into another world, you have to concentrate on your picture, the best thing is when it is coming to near fruition and you’re getting ready to put it in a frame,” she says. “The hard thing is to sell them and give them away.”

As COVID restrictions continue to ease, Doreen looks forward to performing with the choirs in the future.

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