Getting Creative and Productive During Lockdown: Impact Interviews

Impact interviews Cheryl Li, a Biomedical student at UCL, who’s spending Lockdown embracing a new hobby and raising money for charity.

Lockdown might be going one of two ways for you:

  1. You’re doing nothing even with a tonne of Uni work to do, and staying in bed watching TV is your Lockdown hobby
  2. All this free time is allowing you to embrace new hobbies, routines and time for yourself as well as completing those final essays.

Most of us are probably a mixture of the two – personally I’ve avoided my essays for 5 weeks by rewatching Wizards of Waverly Place on Disney Plus and started drawing again for the first time in years. But student Cheryl Li has embraced her new hobby, embroidery, and turned it into a small business – people place an order and send her an image, she then stitches recreations of the pictures onto tote bags and donates the proceeds from the orders to charity! Impact caught up with her to find out more about how she’s gone from hobbyist to fundraiser with her newfound talent during Lockdown to hopefully inspire some of you to get creative!

“At the start of lockdown, I succumbed and downloaded Tiktok…”

What made you start embroidering and have you ever done it before?
For Christmas, I wanted to get my boyfriend a hoodie with an inside joke embroidered on it but all of the websites I looked at were charging ridiculous prices and I thought I could do it myself since I’m always up for a challenge! That came out really well but it was just a one off. At the start of lockdown, I succumbed and downloaded Tiktok. A lot of the videos recommended to me were of people embroidered their jeans and other clothing so I thought I’d teach myself how to do some flowers on my jeans. From there, I bought and embroidery hoop and 3 tote bags and found a website which had free embroidery templates and thought it would be a good way to pass the time and do something creative! I was also getting a little frustrated that I wasn’t really designing my own designs and was copying a template instead, which is when I was inspired to embroider photos instead.

Have you found taking up a new hobby difficult to balance alongside uni work even in the Lockdown?
My exams have only just started and the majority of them are coursework that I have 4 weeks to complete, so I’ve been revising pretty much consistently but not for long hours during the day. I’ll usually work from 9-3 and then that gives me about 2 hours to read or embroider or whatever I like. I’ll then workout for half an hour, have dinner and then the evenings are free to FaceTime my friends or keep embroidering!

“I hope I continue because I’ve been finding it really therapeutic”

What made you think of selling them to raise money?
It was actually my sister who suggested that I could sell them and raise money for it. I considered it and didn’t think I’d get as good as a response as I did!

Do you think you’ll carry on doing this even after Lockdown ends? 
I hope I continue because I’ve been finding it really therapeutic. It’ll probably slow down a bit but it’ll be nice to pick it up every so often!

Francesca Hadland

If you’ve picked up a new talent during Lockdown, let us know! Tweet us, tag us and like our Facebook page for more articles and information on how to get involved. If you just can’t get enough of Features, like our Facebook as a reader or a contributor.  

Featured and article images courtesy of Cheryl Li.


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