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Charleston Scene readers share their quarantine creations during social distancing

  • Updated

We've got another round of "quarantine creations" for you. There were so many thoughtful and creative submissions from Charleston Scene readers that we opted to offer one more collection, ranging from poetry to paintings to jewelry.

We couldn't publish every submission, but we've gathered together another robust sampling for you to enjoy. Here's the second edition!

2020 aka STFAH

Artist Matt Brooks says this piece is "a reflection of the exhausting, unprecedented scenario in which we find ourselves, our priorities during such times and the methods we use to cope."


"2020 STFAH" by Matt Brooks. Provided

Matt Brooks is an award-winning expressionist watercolor artist and combat veteran based in Charleston who has created work for Stan Lee and Dynamite Comics.

Matt Brooks.jpg

Matt Brooks. Provided

Pandemic & Isolation Bliss

Artist Simons Swanson said she originally intended "Pandemic" to be a light and fun piece and was going to call it "Pool Party," but the image began to take on a different tone as "news of people getting sick continued to get worse, the stock market began to crash and fear and uncertainty became the new normal."

"COVID-19 has derailed our meticulously planned lives, much like this beautifully put-together woman has lost her footing," Swanson said. "This image is a reminder that we can’t always be in control, and I think it’s relatable in a lot of ways." 


"Pandemic" by Simons Swanson. Provided

Swanson's second submission, "Isolation Bliss," comes with the following text:

"It reminds me that, even though these are dark times, the sun is still shining."

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"Isolation Bliss" by Simons Swanson. Provided

Simons Swanson is an 11th-generation Charlestonian who left a career in New York City to return to the Lowcountry and pursue a career as an artist. 

Simons Swanson.jpg

Simons Swanson. Provided

where spring enters you

if you took a second underneath

the magnolia’s sweet breath today,

you could almost forget all of this.

the way your fingers curl inward

now, like a flower blooming

in reverse. the next time you

turn on the television, you will

cringe at the closeness. the

handshake, the hug, the hand

coming up to graze the shoulder

with the rest of the body’s laughter.

so you watch instead the cars driving

back and forth in your neighborhood,

from home, to the other places,

the places that are not home,

but are yet so hard to pull away

from. habits like gum, sticking

their fingers to the wheel, to the

supplies they believe will help

them outstock their quietus, to

the old way of pretending.

pretending your life was not

reliant on nine to five. pretending

that the cracks in the ivory buildings

wouldn’t cause a crash. that it

would crush other people, and

not you. but it did, the bloodstream

broken and seeping across your

living room like a map of all

the people you can still be. inside,

you are your own name only,

no longer defined by the profession,

or the title, or whatever you

constructed out there with the others.

mainly scared of your own

body being pregnant with death, and

not being sure whose end if it was,

so you stay away, and i do too,

and that is the right thing for us both,

so i settle for hoping the petals

blowing away, little by little, will

reach you with their bit of life,

and remind you that beauty spreads too.

but when you sleep tonight, you’ll find

yourself in the middle of a circle of people

growing smaller and smaller, grubby

hands closing in, and you will scream.

they will just be trying to hold you.

Ellie Elrod is a junior attending the Berkeley Center for the Arts at Goose Creek High School. "where spring enters you" is about how we've developed a new, strange conception of touch — once a comfort, now a fear.

Ellie Elrod.jpg

Ellie Elrod. Provided

Virus pendants

These commissioned "virus" pendants are made of flame-worked soda lime glass.

"I was given one of the many electron microscope renderings and asked to come up with the closest likeness I could get to the COVID-19 virus," said creator Kate Rothra Fleming. 

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"Virus" pendants by Kate Rothra Fleming. Provided

Kate Rothra Fleming is a James Island glass artist and jewelry designer who served in the Peace Corps in Botswana, Africa, as an art teacher. You can find her glasswork at and on Instagram at @kateflemingartglassjewelry.

Kate Rothra Fleming.jpeg

Kate Rothra Fleming. Provided

They Don't Live Here Anymore

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"They Don't Live Here Anymore" by Eric Carnahan. Provided

Eric Carnahan, 39, is from James Island and owns a home repair business and a design business. 

Eric Carnahan.jpg

Eric Carnahan. Provided



"Isolation" by Audrey Singletary. Provided

Audrey Singletary, 26, is a Charleston native who teaches painting classes at Wine and Design. 

Audrey Singletary.jpg

Audrey Singletary. Provided

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miracle ain’t more than a parlor trick.

knew a man could turn his own tobacco spit

into whiskey. holy teeth black

as night is not. i let him kiss me

like a saint tongues a leper

& hopes his throat don’t rot.


we cough up gold molars

until we’re animal again.

we watch each other drink & think

we’re swallowing air.

same way houdini gasped

after unchaining underwater.


i know only two good tricks:

i can taste air & tell you

whether a tornado’s coming.

i can leave anyone who says “i love you”

& means it.

Derek Berry is a poet and novelist who co-founded the Unspoken Word, a literary nonprofit in Charleston. You can find Berry's literary works at

Derek Berry (copy)

Derek Berry. Provided

Quarantine comic


Quarantine comic by Steve Stegelin. Provided

Steve Stegelin is the long-running editorial cartoonist and illustrator at the Charleston City Paper. A West Ashley resident, his most recent accomplishment is actually finding toilet paper on a store's shelves.


Steve Stegelin. Provided

Linoleum block prints

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A linoleum block print by Emily McCutcheon. Provided

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A linoleum block print by Emily McCutcheon. Provided

Emily McCutcheon, 19, is a graduate from the Charleston County School of the Arts and art student at Winthrop. 


Emily McCutcheon. Provided

Coronavirus clay creation

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"Lost at Sea" by Marty Biernbaum. Provided

Marty Biernbaum has been a professional artist for 40 years. She is a potter, sculptor and painter. 

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Marty Biernbaum. Provided

The Way Clocks Live

The sun cracks through a window

uncleaned for far too long, a response

elicited from a clock forever turning,

clicking inside our chests, reminding

us that we are alive at this exact place

and time. That light touches down

onto Mother Earth’s damaged skin,

giving an effervescent burst of life

to her sullen children.

In the eyes of the world, no tower

is too high to crumble and no ending

too tragic to be undone. This is

the finality we attribute to human

misery, something seemingly amplified

while trapped in homes that act like

echoes ringing in our heads to the tune

of dying embers.

It is this phantasmagoric phantom that

seems to haunt the world we live in at every

breathing moment being dictated to us

from all corners of what we consider

reality. It is the creeping death

written about by poets past and present

driven forth about the human curse of

loneliness unleashed by hardship.

However, it is not yet time for the sun

to be bisected into a supernova, or

for a lifeless nebula to take the place of

a million burning stars. Not a seal has

been broken and every cornerstone

stands unwithered.

Even when bound to the confines of a place

where stained windows feel like jail cell

bars and every comforter feels like a bed of

nails with the knowledge of isolation, we still

remain, we still have faith the sun will

return and shelter our huddled bodies from

the cold night. The clock ticks on and life

continues forth. It’s just a matter of when.

Lewis Lee is a student at the Berkeley Center for the Arts at Goose Creek High School for creative writing.

Lewis Lee.jpg

Lewis Lee. Provided

Loneliness and Hope

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"Loneliness and Hope" by Bob Thames. Provided

Bob Thames is a local painter, watercolorist and sculptor living in West Ashley. 

Bob Thames photo.jpg

Bob Thames. Provided

Reach Kalyn Oyer at 843-371-4469. Follow her on Twitter @sound_wavves.

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