That Kindness Again: Making Face Coverings as Gifts

When we were first asked to wear face coverings I wrote that it was a kindness to wear them. It shows that you care about other people. I'm still struck by this feeling, and lately felt both struck and stuck. It's a familiar experience these molasses days, going down into frustration and sadness then suddenly surfacing in bouts of exuberant creativity.

Many people I know had occasions to celebrate recently, and while I felt stumped thinking of a card to make, after some thought I decided to make each a mask. As I considered each friend I tried to imagine what they might like to wear.

My original mask design, for which I posted instructions here was quick, but my edges were fraying, so the process now involves seam binding, much like for quilt making. Some people like ties, others like elastic ear loops, others like elastic around the head. Each has a use: the one with ties for grocery shopping when it must stay in place; the elastic or gaiter style for when there are fewer people, you are outdoors, and you want to take it on and off easily. We each are developing preferences, like we do with many other things.

Some revisiting of my originals:

Raven stencil on hand-dyed cloth with ties. I forgot to take a full picture before I sent it away, but I had scanned part of it to make a folded envelope.

Hand-stenciled Tortoise-shell cat with metallic fabric paint on hand-dyed cloth with shibori ties.

Gaiter made from Cotton Spandex Jersey, sewn by me, printed by Spoonflower from a photo of a family member's dog.

Then I found a quicker, and easier pattern from sweetredpoppy online, and started making the two-piece masks. I also ordered some stoppers to put on the elastic for adjusting, and some nose wires from PennySupplies on Etsy. I got black and white elastic from usafabricshop, also on Etsy. Etsy has many options for all kinds of supplies, and I like to support small businesses, if possible.

Hand stencil of jasmine vines and swallows.

It was made from this larger piece that I stenciled with silver and gold metallic fabric paints.

One for me from my barn owl, "heart owl maroon" Spoonflower design. More of a heathered berry color, it turns out. My shop there is everbird. I made this from their Organic Cotton Knit, leftover from making a skirt with a pocket. They print on many kinds of fabric.

Spoonflower is also making two different kinds of masks and one mask kit from any design. Here's a link to mine as masks. And one to my friend Dianne's shop. Her designs are quite elegant.

I like making this kind of art as a personal gift, one at a time. Although I'm an printmaker, edition maker, and multiples maker at heart, I am just not really interested in production of masks. Spoonflower already has done that, so I'll likely just keep uploading designs there at everbird. If you like designing things, it's free to sign up and upload, although you do have to buy a sample before you can release your design to the public.

Face coverings. It's a kindness, a necessity, and can be an accessory. Even a gift.

For something I found soothing: if you like color, watching fabric drying in the breeze, or Japanese processes, here's a video about dyeing from natural materials with Sachio Yoshioka, a Master Dyer.