Although I no longer consider myself a mask maker, I believe it is a part of my creative story. In March of 2020 when our world was shut down, I wanted to do something to help in a time when many of us felt helpless and unsure. I had only sewn a few simple curtains and lots of fabric key fobs but never anything like a mask. With a small supply of fabric in my house, I pulled out my sewing machine and got to work. I printed all kinds of templates online, made mock up after mock up until "MY" mask design was created. I chose to make a mask that was comfortable and went over your head and neck, not pulling at your ears. I also wanted something that was layered for effectiveness but not suffocating. I put a lot of thought into it, but initially not knowing why. I literally sat at my machine from 7 in the morning to 11 at night day after day. When my machine broke from overuse I went on YouTube and learned how to clean and repair it. I knew I couldn’t stop.
My masks evolved over time. I made multiple sizes for women, men and children. To keep up with demand, I did eventually make over the ear styles. Once I had supplied family and friends, I went to Facebook and offered them for sale from my front porch to anyone who needed them. For weeks I lined my porch with bins filled with labeled baggies, staggering pick up times for clients to avoid human contact. Eventually I went back to my office and sold my masks out of my storefront until they were no longer needed. I marketed the entire process through Facebook posts. That was a game changer for sure. Little did I know that I would make and sell over 10,000 masks in just a year's time. Completely crazy. I bought lots of colorful and unique fabrics in addition to using standard blue and black. They were not perfect but they worked. I truly believe they worked because my family didn’t get Covid despite moving about and spending a significant amount of time in New York City that year. My repeat business also convinced me that I helped A LOT of other people as well.
My take back from this is that I helped. I made a difference. I brought smiles to little girls and boys faces when they came in to see what new fabrics I had for their masks. I helped parents find masks a kid would wear all day in school without complaint. I donated masks to a local shelter and schools. I even somehow made the front page of my local newspaper twice that year. Just because I couldn’t sit idle while home and I wanted to help my world come back. This too was a testament to myself that I can do it. I can make something out of nothing. I marketed, created and succeeded. This to me, was great for my girls to see. As we grow sometimes we get caught up in the pattern of life and not taking chances. This was a good chance for me. I will always be proud of what I did for so many. As much as I am glad that phase of our lives is over, I do miss the purpose and all the lovely people I met along the way. That is what I now am looking for in 2023 with my art.