As I was finishing my first child-sized mask, I mused on the things I’ve been waiting for during the Covid-19 lockdown – visiting friends, going to movie theaters and restaurants, restocking my art galleries, shopping for new shoes and thrift store finds. Like a slew of other anxious humans, I’ve been filling my non-telework hours with eating and sleeping, and reading repetitive news clips late into the night when sleep becomes evasive.
And of course, sewing masks, 260 of them so far. It’s the thing I have chosen to fill my hours while waiting for a “return to normal.” And then this morning, it suddenly occurred to me:
“You’re waiting for yesterday.”
That out-of-the-blue thought spurred me to put down my sewing, put on my linen mask, and go for a walk and a think. A long, meandering, no-destination walk – something I’ve rarely done since I retreated to my apartment studio on March 10. I retraced the route I used to take when I was still visiting my mom, not only in reminiscence of those visits, but because that route takes me through the cemetery and on to neighborhoods that are filled with flowers. I hadn’t realized how many things were in bloom – the forget-me-nots growing wild among the graves, and yards & gardens filled with tulips, japonica, lilacs, and wisteria starting to burst their buds. I made myself pause to admire every blossom. The things you miss when you never leave your house …
On the way back home, I realized that while waiting for a “return to normal” I had also stopped making any future plans. I stopped designing hats for galleries, and have several commissions that I put aside in the urgency to make masks – a project that turned out to be the proverbial marathon rather than a sprint. So I will be rebalancing my projects, splitting my time between mask making and hat design / commissions starting May 1.
I took the rest of the day to start a wardrobe of masks for myself. Once the stay-at-home restrictions are lifted, I will want to dress up. I also expect masks will become not only normal, but socially responsible street wear. And I definitely won’t want to visit people and businesses in the grey utilitarian mask I wear when I take out the trash!
After testing my first brocade masks, I decided to launch a couture line which will be available soon in my online store. If you order a hat (or currently have one on order), I will include a couture mask with your order at no additional cost. Like my hats, these masks will be made from recycled brocades, laces, and beads and will typically be one-of-a-kinds. I also plan to offer options suitable for weddings, since no pandemic bride’s “something blue” should be in the form of a surgical mask.
I plan to continue offering utilitarian linen masks to those in need who request them (albeit on a limited basis). In keeping with my ethos of not profiting from pandemics and social causes, I plan to donate proceeds from stock masks (excluding custom couture) purchased from my website, to local food banks through December 31, 2020.