The world has been turned upside down on its head. Doctors and nurses are resorting to using bandannas to protect themselves as supplies dwindle. This, in the richest country in the world! I’ve decided that I can help as I have a huge network of creatives and textile artists online and we can sew. Our Facebook group is already finding patterns, making prototypes, discussing fabrics and logistics… We are international and welcome anyone who wants to work on making masks for the medical community and for those in need: Project Coronavirus: The Handmade Hub Facebook Group
We need to make thousands of masks if we want to make a difference. Factories are stepping up into producing industrial masks and other things our medical community needs and hopefully they will get them soon. Meanwhile, our handmade masks can be distributed to people in our communities.
Important points to consider about home made masks:
- The best ones are 80% effective in preventing coronavirus infection. Vacuum cleaner filters are the most effective and can be inserted into a pocket inside a fabric mask.
- Masks are very effective at preventing an infected person from spreading the virus. This is a huge reason to encourage use.
- Masks help prevent the user from touching one’s face. It’s so easy to forget to keep your hands away from your face! If you are out and about with a mask, it helps.
- Once a mask is worn in public, it is contaminated and needs to be washed. This means each person should have several masks so that they can wear a clean one every time they are around other people. The coronavirus lasts for three or four hours on soft materials but up to 3 days on shiny, hard surfaces. Used masks should be washed in warm, soapy water and can drip dry. Wash hands immediately after handling a used mask.
- Re-usable masks are good for the environment. Already, the disposable ones are starting to become huge polluters, ending up in the ocean along with straws and all the rest of our plastic crap.
- Masks might be especially useful in high risk situations where there is crowding (IF they can keep them clean): shelters, homeless camps, low income housing…
Our group is collecting patterns, sharing samples, discussing the best way to make them, documenting requests as we see them online, and any other related issues that come up. My hope is that we can organize ourselves to address the needs in our local communities while we inform and support each other. This pandemic has been predicted for a long time and we may see many more coming. Climate change and the imbalance we have created by over consumption, pollution, deforestation, fracking and everything else we are doing has upset nature’s balance, releasing bacteria, viruses and other pathogens that can take us down. Hopefully, we will wake up and make some drastic changes.
Bill Gates predicted in 2015 that we were not ready for the next global pandemic. He gave some sensible measures that we need to put in place to be ready. What he did not predict was that our doctors and nurses would resort to wearing bandannas as they treated people. Who would have thunk?
Now This makes lots of great videos about society. In 2017, they looked at the history of viruses and bacteria and cast a warning about our upside down approaches: anti-vaccers and over-use of antibiotics. We have had plenty of warnings and finally, we sit up at full attention. For now.
Why are we spearheading this effort through Artizan Made? We are selling beautiful products that nobody really needs. (Although I argue that creativity, skill, and decoration are innate needs humans have developed since they painted on cave walls…) We depend on a healthy global population who has disposable income and likes the arts. We want this to be over so that we can be about community, art, expression and all of that good stuff that makes life so fun and interesting. And, some of us just feel better when we are working to making a difference. I know I do!
Right now we are focused on masks, but if that need is met by the big factories, perhaps we will move on to something else we can do. All are welcome to join our Project Coronavirus: The Handmade Hub Facebook Group and we will also give occasional updates here on our blog. Sign up in the sidebar if you would like to get new posts by email.
“Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson