Zest

Darian Joyner

Quarantine left a lot of people with plenty of time to try out new hobbies. Some people learned how to bake bread or make soap, while others picked up roller skating or gardening. One quarantine hobby that flooded people’s For You pages was tufting. 

Darian Joyner first learned about tufting through her Explore page on Instagram. She was looking for a handmade abstract rug to put in her house. After scrolling through Pinterest, she didn’t find many that caught her eye, but she kept coming across tufting tutorials. She was looking for a rug that didn’t exist, she said, so she saved up and bought a tufting gun in June. 

Even though she found out about tufting through videos and tutorials, Darian decided that she wanted to learn from her own mistakes. 

Darian is majoring in graphic design and minoring in psychology. She describes herself as spiritual and introspective, which inspires a lot of what she creates.

“I think that sometimes our ideas don’t come from us,” she said. “I think they come from somewhere else in the universe.”

Darian says entered a flow state during this project, and that she feels as though focusing on the process more than the final product made the rugs turn out better. 

“It’s almost like the process of making them was more important than making them,” she said. 

Along with the process, Darian put a lot of emphasis on the environment in which she worked. Her goal was to let the environment influence the final product, and the atmosphere she worked in, from the music she played in the background to the candles she burned while tufting, played a huge part in this project. 

Avery

Like a lot of people, Avery Guyer started painting when she was a little kid. She spent her Saturday mornings watching Bob Ross and for Christmas one year, she got an oil painting set. She saved an episode of “They Joy of Painting” on DVR and, with her supplies scattered all around the living room, she gave oil painting a shot. That’s when she realized that oil paints weren’t for her — she had a great time, but she’s messy and oil paints are particularly messy to deal with. 

That didn’t stop Avery from painting altogether. Up until this semester, she created a lot of still life pieces and focused on “purely aesthetic” subjects for paintings. Recently, she’s been experimenting with abstract designs. It’s new to her, but it’s also exciting. 

Avery experiments a lot with colors and textures in her paintings now. She creates the textures by applying modeling paste or sand with palette knives and icing bags. Her recent paintings are marked with song lyrics and quotes from her journal. 

“I love art for the exploratory parts of it,” she said. “Like, if I get bored with X type of painting, then I can try a new type whenever I want with limited consequence.”

Painting isn’t Avery’s only talent, though. After taking a throwing class last semester, she got into making ceramics. She mostly makes dinnerware, but coffee mugs are her favorite things to create. 

“Seeing the different ways that a mug can be decorated is kind of what got me into making them when I started throwing,” she said. 

To Avery, the most fun part about creating mugs has been getting creative with the handles. A cup is a cup, she said, but unconventional handles like the curly ones are “more dynamic and make you want to pick them up.”