But in mid-March, the Covid-19 pandemic hit the ship Holland America and the journey began unexpectedly.
After a 60-day stalemate at sea that suffered multiple quarantines, closures across the ship and the outbreak of coronavirus symptoms among hundreds of passengers and crew, Perrie finally disembarked in the Netherlands and embarked on a long journey by air, Australia.
Back in her hometown of Perth, Perrie was subjected to another mandatory quarantine in a hotel room for two weeks, without any physical interaction with the outside world.
To keep her mind active and engaged in this strange time, Perrie decided to get creative.
Each day, hotel staff delivered three daily meals in paper bags. A long time ago, a bunch of them gathered and an idea started to emerge.
Perrie would make fashion clothes out of paper bags.
“But I think it’s just the paper bags that keep coming and coming that are really the inspiration.”
Ashleigh Perrie made this amazing outfit out of paper bags.
Courtesy of Ashleigh Perrie
First, first Perrie needed to collect enough bags to put together her intricate costumes.
“The first design that came to my mind was a robe, I wanted something very extravagant, very formal and as detailed as I could get with the items I had,” he says.
“But the first one I actually made was a tutu, in the end it was“ Bag-erina ”as I called it, because I needed bags to stay in shape for that and for a lot of other costumes, I had to cut out bags and use different shapes . “
Perrie created himself creative while quarantined in a hotel room.
Courtesy of Ashleigh Perrie
In addition to the ballet costume, Perrie created tennis-appropriate clothing that included a racket, a tennis skirt and a visor she called “The Maria Paper-pova,” a catwalk she called the “quarantine queen,” and of course the extravagant dress she first envisioned, called “Origami Diva.”
She constructed the costumes using everything she could get — paper bags, of course, napkins, biodegradable containers, and disposable utensils — and using just a pair of scissors, duct tape, and cotton. As the project teamed up, Perrie shared footage of her creations and small video clips with her mother and sister.
Quarantine, Perrie says, wasn’t easy, but it was fun, creativity and excitement.
“It was hard after being at sea for so long, and apparently we already had three quarantine periods on board,” he recalls.
“So coming back and facing another two-week quarantine and not being able to know you know, finally hugging family and friends at the airport when you arrived was hard mentally, just thinking,‘ Oh, there comes a little disappointment. Home.'”
But Perrie also said she appreciates the time to come to terms with the situation – and because of her artistic career, time has passed.
“It was time for the wind to come down. It was time to just cool off and take care of myself after everything I’ve been through,” she says.
Around the storm
Symptoms spread, four guests on board died, and others tested positive for the virus.
As the ports closed the gates of Zaandam, Holland America deployed another ship, Rotterdam, to offer help and pick up healthy guests, but eventually both ships became infected.
The passengers eventually disembarked at Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on April 2, but the crew were not allowed to leave. Instead, Holland America had to return workers across the Atlantic to the Netherlands.
“It was definitely an extremely challenging experience on board,” says Perrie, who came down with Covid’s symptoms.
“The whole ship fell into jail, the company put up with it incredibly. It was a very difficult situation that no one has experience with handling. Our captain was great. They did everything they could to stop the spread and make sure all the guests were kept.” “
Perrie calls this experience “a real test of mental resilience.”
“On board, we believed in each other a lot. Obviously you had to stick with your colleagues and push each other through the crisis. It was hard, but I think it was a very, very strong character-strengthening experience, I think.”
In late May, Perrie’s hotel quarantine ended and she finally reunited with her family.
Before she left the hotel room, Perrie filmed herself modeling each of her creations – and tried her best to pack a little into her luggage.
She squeezed some inside, but had to leave most for recycling.
When Perrie shared a video of his creations on Facebook, enthusiastic friends and family started sharing it online and it soon spread.
“I had great answers from everyone, only people appreciated how creative it is and how amazing it is to be able to do that when you’re locked in a room for two weeks and have nothing else to do.” “says Perrie.
Perrie hopes her project will make people laugh.
Courtesy of Ashleigh Perrie
Did that experience break Perrie off cruising life?
No, he says, he likes how working on a cruise allows the crew to travel the world.
However, Perrie hopes that events in the last few months will lead to a re-examination of how the world reacts to the crisis at sea.
“The biggest problem we faced was many countries closing their borders. The cruisers tried to do everything they could to bring us home. And they just faced the difficulty of not having any kind of humanitarian aid to let us go,” Perrie says. .
“So it would be interesting to see if something more positive can come out of that experience out of it – and maybe some policies can be put in place to deal with such things.”
Meanwhile, Perrie is just glad he made people smile during hard times.
“I think a lot of people perceive that as positive throughout the Covid pandemic and something nice to look back on,” she says.
She has been contacted by a number of different organizations interested in her work – from museums and art galleries, to an organization working with women suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
In addition, Perrie has managed to pull out a few paper bags that will just transform them and squeeze them into her holster, so keep an eye out for additional potential creations in the coming weeks.