Mask – Hat – Mask …

My first hat & mask sets have started shipping out. Every hat order this year comes with a free mask!

I even got to see one of my original hats from about 30 years ago – it was interesting to see that the seams and structure were intact, but the wools had completely worn through. I reproduced the original hat as closely as I could, and added a metal stud on each panel because i’m apparently incapable of letting a hat leave my shop without some form of ornamentation.

On the mask front, I have 50 in kid’s and adult sizes ready to deliver to a local food & mask drive this weekend. I have another 30 in production for the Anacortes/Camano Island chapter of Days for Girls. That will bring my mask donations to just over 500 so far this year.

Because our economy won’t regain its health until our community does. I’ve been trying to target my masks and other donations to benefit essential workers. Among our most essential workers are those who harvest our food, which is why I’m participating in the Food & Mask Drive at the Seattle Repertory Theater, in partnership with WashMasks.org. I’m donating food as well as masks to this effort and I hope you will join me. If you choose to donate masks, they need ties rather than elastics or ear loops, and no nose bridges. There’s also a list of preferred foods and supplies on their website.

Today I learned about the “Lipstick Index”- apparently when women want to cheer themselves up, they often buy lipstick, so it has become an informal economic indicator. But with the advent of masks, women have switched that ‘cheer up impulse buy” to nail polish instead…

I wonder why women aren’t buying or making new masks instead, to keep the focus on their face… Imagine a Mask Index as a new economic indicator as well as a socially responsible action : )

Mask #400+

July 3 starts my 4th month of home sequestering, and the 400th and something mask, all but 20 of which I have donated to individuals and local organizations who needed them, including Days for Girls and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. I’ve now turned my attention to Yakima, my birth town and a current hotspot in Washington State. I’ve sent 50 masks for distribution through a food bank and a women’s shelter, and this weekend I’m starting another 50 for WashMasks for distribution to agricultural workers there.

Proceeds from those other 20 masks have allowed me to donate cash to Feed the Frontlines and Off Their Plate – two programs that pay impacted restaurants to provide meals to medical workers. Although my website says that 50% of those sales would be donated, I’m actually sending closer to 90%, with the remaining 10% covering shipping costs.

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on here, Americans are now banned from traveling to the EU, UK and Mexico. Although my travel plans take me elsewhere (a US museum tour later this year, and Africa next year) I’m hard pressed to even get on a city bus at the moment. One of the places I post my travel photos to, and visit to travel the world virtually – Trover – shuts down August 1. The world becomes smaller with every passing day.

So I leave my house for groceries and not-often-enough walks, and spend my days with my cats and my sewing machine, making more masks than hats, and listen to people clamor for a return to normal, apparently not realizing that this is the new normal, at least for now.

Make the best of what you have. Use your resources to better the world. Show some love. Stay safe. That’s all I’ve got for today.

Fancy Face for Kids . . .

First off, I want to thank Liz and JoAnna for donating cottons from their stash to assist my mask making efforts for Days For Girls and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. In response to today’s reports out of New York regarding Covid-19 related illnesses that are now showing up in kids, I have put some of those cottons to immediate use.

Introducing “Fancy Face” Masks for Kids – triple layer cotton masks in colorful prints, with either braided yarn or cotton ties. These face masks have a lighter gauge wire nose bridge than my adult masks, with the ends curled into spirals to prevent them from working through the cottons.

As with my adult sized masks, I am donating 50% of your purchase of “Fancy Face” Masks to Feed the Frontlines in Sacramento, and Off Their Plate in Seattle and selected other cities, through the end of 2020 (or until there is no longer a need). Both of these programs team restaurants with medical facilities to keep hospital workers fed during these critical times.

Order your Kids Masks here.

Read about the new Covid-19 concern here.

Put on a Fancy Face …

Six weeks, sixty hours, 300+ masks donated. It’s time to put a new face forward.

I am launching “Fancy Face” Masks today! My new line of upscale masks are now available in the following Collections from my online store:

These collections are a result of me ‘never being able to throw a textile away” which has resulted in a collection of brocades, some of which are too small or not workable for hats, but are too exquisite for the trash.

Costco will require shoppers to wear masks in their stores starting May 4. According to the New York Times, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines will start requiring all passengers to wear a face covering, with a tentative compliance date of May 11. Other airlines and mass transit systems are expected to make similar announcements in the coming weeks. Wearing a face mask is a socially responsible thing to do. Why not make it part of your personal fashion statement as well?

It’s not just about the fashion. I am donating 50% of your purchase of “Fancy Face” Masks to Feed the Frontlines in Sacramento, and Off Their Plate in Seattle and selected other cities, through the end of 2020 (or until there is no longer a need). I plan to continue donating utilitarian linen masks to non-profits (Days For Girls in Stanwood-Camano Island and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance) and to individuals in need (albeit on a limited basis).

Thank you for your continued support of my work, and for helping me to pay it forward into our communities! ~ Heather Daveno, Artisan Hat & Mask Maker

A Wardrobe of Masks …

Fabric masks in large, medium and the new child size (with soft, braided yarn ties)

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.

The 100th Mask …

The Hatter’s Decameron, Day 25: Completed my 100th linen mask last night. Production stopped at the next mask when my sewing machine needle had an unfortunate encounter with a finger …

Hatmaking in the time of COVID19 is not what I expected it to be. I have been self-sequestered since March 10, 2020 and expected to use the time to focus on making hats. But after shipping the Purple Phoenix hat (detailed in my previous post), that focus completely dissipated. Instead of creating, I spent my time monitoring the never-ending news, and sleeping and eating between periods of anxiety and anger. Of those news reports, the shortages of PPEs (personal protective equipment) for health care workers – especially masks – made me especially angry.

Anger is a useless state of being, unless you can transform it into motivation.

So on March 24, I set my hat business aside, and joined the army of home sewers and small businesses who are now channelling their resources into making cloth masks.

As with my hats, my masks are made from recycled textiles. For several years, Historic Enterprises had sent their cutting room scraps to me instead of their local landfill. I’m now working my way through my “linen closet,” pulling the softest remnants from those boxes of scrap, sorted by color, and cutting out masks, 1-2 panels at a time.

I quickly worked my way through my entire stash of ribbons, soutache cords and elastic, and am now making ties from 2-3 yards of linen that was printed in a grid, but off-grain. It was useless for hats, but perfect for handmade bias tape.

The customer who had purchased my last hat, turned out to be the director of a non-profit in the Stanwood/Camano area of Washington State, and asked if I could make 450 cloth masks as part of their current efforts. I have shipped 80 masks to that organization so far. The rest of my masks have gone to friends and family, and the staff at my local UPS Store, who received my 100th mask. I am now well into my second set of 100 masks…

My work on this project is pro-bono, as I refuse to profit from a pandemic and I have other sources of income. If you are looking for masks for you or your family, there are several makers who can be found via a Google search. If they are charging a fee, it’s because they have families to support. If a maker gives you masks for free, please consider paying it forward by making a donation to a food bank.

A new Phoenix rises . . .

I received a commission late last year from a customer (whom I shall call Lady C), for a phoenix hat in purples and blues – the first of its kind in this color scheme, as up to this point I have only made this style in shades of red. After months of delay, this hat finally took flight and shipped out today.

Set against a deep purple wool background, this phoenix is crafted in a deep blue wool, which I padded for some added dimension. The wings are lavender leather and blue wool applique, held in place with navy yarn and silver cord. It has a cobalt glass beady eye : ) The hat is cuffed with a chocolate brown karakul, and has lavender linen lining and a silver-tone button at top. All materials in this hat are reclaimed except for the sewing thread and the silver cord.

Because this was “not the customary” custom order, I sent progress shots to Lady C to make sure my work was meeting her vision and expectations.

This hat has a beautiful and mystical back story …

A phoenix presented itself to Lady C in a dream, and when she said: “what is your name?” the phoenix replied: “rue de attar”. When Lady C returned from her dream, she googled the name and discovered a 13th century Persian Muslim poet – Farid Ud-Din Attar, commonly known as Attar of Nishapur.

Rumi, another 13th century Sufi poet, referred to Sheikh Attar as ‘the spirit’ and himself as ‘its shadow’, saying “Attar traveled through all the seven cities of love, while I am only at the bend of the first alley”.

Attar’s work, The Conference of the Birds is a poem he based on a passage from the Qur’an, where two men are said to have been taught the language of the birds. It is considered a significant work of Sufi literature. The work reminded me of the story of the Crow King and his Ministers from the Khalila wa Dimna – a 14th century Arabic fable that inspired my Three Crows Cap. So I was thrilled to bring yet another bird from literary legend to wearable art piece.

Thank you Lady C! I hope your new hat brings you more happy dreams and enlightening journeys …

Yreka!…

These are among the caps shipping out this week to Nature’s Kitchen – an organic bakery and gift shop in Yreka, CA. These are all hand sewn and crafted from recycled wools and found objects. (The tiger faux-fur is the only new textile in this grouping).

This trio of custom orders is for one of my collectors and is also scheduled to ship out this week. I hope you like them, Charlie : )

I’m still recovering from the killer cold I’ve had since January 5, but am back in the shop, catching up …

A Game of Duck Duck Goose …

For those of you who may have missed them, here’s a selection of custom and gallery works that I shipped out during Fall / Winter 2019:

Over the holidays, after the last custom orders have shipped and my galleries are catering to their customers, I turn to my ‘turn of the year’ tasks – updating inventories, photo collections, blogs, websites – mostly the mundane behind-the-scenes stuff that helps keep my business going.

It’s time I spend getting my “ducks in a row” for the fresh new year…

This year, stuff happened, timelines got skewed, and my focus shifted to family matters. My diversion over the last few weeks has been in building a family history blog to honor parents, now passed…

During that process I discovered how useful tags can be – they’re like the new Search Bar but more visual. As a result, I figured out how to add a tag cloud to my online store. I also tagged my best sellers and deleted styles that weren’t of interest according to my analytic tools. If your favorite hat got deleted, let me know and I’ll add it back in. I also updated my Portfolios to include recent custom works, and added my UPS / FedEx shipping address to my Contacts page. Give the page a whirl and see what you think!

I’ve now racing to catch up (hence the Duck Duck Goose analogy), including eight customers patiently waiting for their hats, and three galleries waiting for restock. Soup to make, taxes to prep, cats to pamper, and all the other little birds of-a-yellow-feather hiding in the corners. Perhaps my cats can help with that…

“…here, ducky ducky ducky…”

In Memorium…

It’s been a month since I have written here. It’s been a very long month…

Family matters. Anyone who has moved a parent and taken over the management of their affairs, knows that other things get set aside. Because family matters.

As the eldest child, I took on that job when we moved our mother from her home of 50+ years in Yakima, to a nursing home in Seattle in August 2018. We had settled into a routine of weekly visits and mid-week phone calls to manage her finances and health care, when things turned sideways again late last year. She had not felt well over the holidays, and by Twelfth Night entered hospice care. She succumbed to pneumonia on January 15, just three months shy of her 90th birthday.

Creating hats during this period became evasive, so I turned to creating other things. As I did when my father passed in 2008, I dived into old family photos and journals as a way of keeping my focus on that parent during their final days.

The result is a new blog – Daveno Historica – which will be an ongoing project, in addition to Daveno Travels and of course, this website and its hat catalog. Obviously, I have more to say than a single blog will hold …

To those who have hat orders waiting and quotes pending, thank you for your patience. I am now getting back into my studio. To those who are waiting to see new works, I hope to meet those expectations in March-April.

My mother’s favorite hats.