This is part 1 of a three-part series where we asked PRA staff: What have you been working on?

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has left us all with an abundance of free time to cultivate hobbies outside of work to rest, recuperate, and recharge. Stay tuned each month to see what our multi-talented coworkers have been making!

Aly Feye

My mom and I love being outdoors and have come to really enjoy birds. We have birdhouses and feeders all around our backyard and love watching all the different types of birds that visit the backyard. Bird watching in the backyard became an even bigger joy this past year during the pandemic, as we were home during the day more often. This prompted my mom to make a comment that she wanted to paint birdhouses for the backyard. My partner was thoughtful enough to pick up on this comment and purchased a few plain wood birdhouses and some paint so that my mom and I could paint together.

Please note that both of us are not the most talented in the artistic realm…nor the most creative. However, it was a fun (and safe) activity for us to do together. It infused our love for nature with a creative twist, and now when we look out in the backyard, we will see the birdhouses we painted. I can’t wait to get these outside and see what birds come to visit us this year!


Dazara Ware

I have always been creative. In my youth, I painted graffiti on tee shirts and jeans for the cool kids with aspirations to be rappers. Now I paint images to inspire women and girls and perform at spoken word events. No real difference among the mediums—rap is spoken word, and graffiti is a visual reflection of ourselves. Gotta love where life takes you.

I am inspired to create because painting and poetry provide another way to communicate without worry about how others will receive my message. There is no need to explain or over-explain—it just is because I created it. Creating reminds me that my voice is enough—even with the silent, gentle stroke of a paintbrush.

Check out more of Dazara’s work in her blog Unkempt.



Pam Robbins

I usually like to have a list of projects going…and usually there is one creative thing on the list (although sometimes it’s just jigsaw puzzles).

I’ve been thinking a lot about the beach lately, probably because I can’t go there now or be in the sun.

I signed up for a little painting class with the Women’s Club of Albany (all remote—they dropped off supplies and we spent 2 hours on Zoom), which had me painting a beach picture. That made me think about the beach even more and took me down another craft trail of “using” some of what I’ve picked up on the beach over the years.

I’ve gathered sea glass (even the coveted blue, but no red yet) and seashells (scallops are my favorite) over my many trips and many seasons to many beaches.

So I decided to use some of the sea glass and shells from my collection to make a couple of little tree creations. First, I boiled everything to get it clean, painted some cones, sorted my items, and then used my little glue gun to create. I tend to do craft projects like this, where I move from one to the other now, unlike what I used to do with regular weekly pottery.

This project only took me a few days. Still, it felt therapeutic between thinking about something I love and doing something (a little) creative.

I think my next project will involve pictures…


Tess Edwards

I’ve always had a creative spirit since I was a child. However, I lost touch with it during my undergraduate years when life got busy. After graduating and embarking on a journey of self-discovery, I began painting again in the winter of 2019. By May of 2020, when the quarantine was in full effect, I decided to expand my skillset and begin making resin art. It started with coasters and has blossomed into a small but budding home décor business called Aesthetic By Extesci! I always have been the type to try do things myself when I can, and resin art caught my eye while browsing through social media. What first began as quickly making myself coasters soon turned into receiving several orders weekly from friends and associates! Resin art truly excites me, and I love that the pieces that I create are both beautiful and functional. It truly warms my heart to know that there are folks with my art pieces in their homes. It also has given me an outlet to harness my creative energy that constantly challenges me and inspires me to try new things—something I’m not always good at pushing myself to do.