600 masks later... a reflection

Right now, I'm making the last batch of cotton face masks that I will have available. I'll have made 600+ by the end of this collection, and .... I'm tired. Making masks comes with a lot of mixed emotions. But I think it's important for us all to be transparent about how we are feeling in this time of crisis and talk about how we've been dealing with it. But not, you know, like how the car commercials on Hulu have been. We're not all in the same boat, but have been in the same storm.



When I first saw that folks were making masks from home, it didn't make sense to me. Why would we need to do this? Why would this labor fall onto women when capitalism falls short, leaving hospitals and essential workers without supplies? I couldn't understand why this was happening. I still don't. We live in a really strange and weird time, where nothing really makes sense... and we are learning that the government doesn't care for us much when it comes to adequate pandemic response and PPE and sufficient testing and and and and... you know.


COVID-19 hit the pacific northwest first, just over an hour from where I live with my family. February rolled by, and on the 16th I taught a class at Wyldwood Creative (my favorite quilt shop), and that's just about the last thing I did that was normal. Cases started to climb in the Seattle area, so I did my best to stay home. I had bronchitis and definitely didn't want to risk exposure to something that could wreck my lungs even worse. In the first week of March, I was working at Wyldwood again, and some of my friends came by for a crafternoon at the shop while I was working. We chatted about the state of the world-- and we were unsure of what exactly we were supposed to be doing, and how bad things were, and of course had absolutely ZERO concept of how things would escalate here in the united states. The weekend was surreal, and that was the last time I got to see my friends for more than a supply-drop off from several feet away. A couple weeks later, Washington state received the stay at home order. My husband started working from home, and continued for six weeks before going back to field-work only, with expanded safety requirements. We got lucky here. The pacific northwest isn't super densely populated except for seattle proper, so we were able to flatten the curve (not to say it couldn't rear back up if we stop being careful). The majority of us understand that this is super serious... even though there have been massive protests in my city, Olympia.


I floundered for a week or so after the stay at home order. I didn't know what to do or how to feel. Most of the time, I still don't. I didn't know what would happen with work, with family, with the country, any of it. A friend dropped off a punch needle embroidery kit, and I ordered some stamp carving supplies online-- that kept me busy for a little while. I took some time off work-- Sales is a huge part of being a working artist but, wow, I was not in a place of self-marketing or being able to advocate for my work much. As I'm writing this, two months later, it still feels strange to try to promote ponderosa creative even though it is my job.



The nature of being a working artist has changed. Like many, our economic opportunities have evaporated, with markets, classes, and art exhibitions being canceled. As creatives, and out of necessity, we have pivoted. Markets are now being held virtually, like with Valley Made Market and Full Moon Market. Myself and a few peers in the DIY industry were in the unique position to provide patterns and DIY kits for folks suddenly at home with time on their hands, so that was a blessing-- for us and for new customers. Art, in the time of chaos, and quiet chaos while we are safe in our homes, is so necessary. Art, I think, gives peace, gives meaning, and personally-- doing art, keeping hands busy, keeps my mind placid. I was honored to pass that on to others through providing embroidery kits, quilt patterns, and ponderosa thread gloss.



It feels like this quarantine has had several eras--- the DIY rush was the first, accompanied by Tiger King and whipped coffee and new bread recipes. I think in that early part of the stay at home order, we were all just trying to stay occupied in order to remain positive.


I don't know how many little eras have passed... because at some point, I realized that I had to start making masks. I realized it was the duty of every professional textile worker to pivot if possible, to provide supply. Even if it's completely inequitable to lean on the mostly women-driven skilled labor force. Even if it means depleting our own supplies of fabric that we were saving for other projects, even if it means we work long hours and push aside other, more professionally connective, projects. I couldn't just sit and listen to the news and try to do fun things. I needed to use my skills for good, in honor of the thousands and thousands of people who did not have access to PPE or who are essential workers or for folks who want to go grocery shopping and may be asymptomatic. The reality sunk in. We all need to be wearing masks. We need to stop transmitting this awful disease. We need to do everything in our power to protect other people, who will in turn protect us. I don't mean to spread fear... It's just a serious situation. We can't ignore it and just think that since we've passed the peak, we're in the clear. Another peak could happen at any time. At the same time, life has been filled with love and hope. I can speak for myself personally, I've been so incredibly fortunate to spend time with my husband and daughter. I do miss the world, I miss my friends, coffee, thrift shops.



There were (are?) elastic shortages, interfacing shortages, mail delays, internet trolls, and fabric shortages. My machine broke and I had to borrow one from a friend while it was getting repaired. It's been a long two months of making mask batches, punctuated with a few breaks for other projects while waiting on whichever supply was inevitably sold out between batches.



That being said. It's getting harder to procure supplies, so, for now, this is the last batch I'm going to make. I allowed myself to put some creativity into these, offering fun prints. If we have to wear these, might as well be cute.






Really, the last batch. The batches have been selling out so quickly that I haven't had a chance to email y'all about them or write a blog post or even get on instagram sometimes. I don't want you to miss out... because the way the last batches have sold shows how large the need still is.


Triple layer cotton face masks. Made with three layers of cotton and reinforced with fusible interfacing. Insert pocket.  


Ships within 1-3 business days. Please allow time for processing orders. Orders over $35 ship free. Made in Olympia, Washington in a smoke-free, pet-free sewing studio. Local drop-off currently NOT available. 

The current batch has a variety of prints. There are 100 available, with 5 different prints and, as requested, 4 different solid colors. This batch will ship on 5/18-21. 













about the current prints:  -egg: a black background, blue grid print with whimsical eggs, with yellow or blue lining.  -rust celestial: a celestial floral print in rust orange, on a natural white background, with  unbleached natural white lining -pecan symbols: a subtle print in pecan and brown tones, with an unbleached natural white or brown lining


-blue tie dye: hand dyed, dark blue and white, unbleached natural white lining -rusty scarlet, solid, unbleached natural white lining -forest green, solid, unbleached natural white lining -olive green, solid, unbleached natural white lining -sage green, solid, unbleached natural white lining -olive symbols, a print with tiny white block-print-inspired symbols, unbleached natural white lining. 

Make sure to protect yourselves and others with the upcoming reopenings. 



I would love to offer these for free, but I am not in the position to volunteer labor and materials. I am selling these at production value only.  If you are in need of a lower priced mask, I can point you in the direction of some resources or give you a coupon code. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for supporting a small business during this hard time.




I recommend ordering multiple, so that you can wash them frequently. Wash warm, in a garment bag. Do not iron over elastic, but you should iron after washing to maintain shape. Dry on LOW.  

Elastic varies between batches based on availability— some is garment elastic, some is 1/8”, some is 1/4”, etc. Update 5/8: this batch has all white elastic.





*** There are NO refunds if this does not fit you. It is one size fits most. I am not accepting returns, please donate to a local hospital. Keep this in mind before ordering. 


The CDC recommends that folks wear fabric masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). I do not claim that these masks prevent coronavirus.



Please use regular cautions such as social distancing, avoiding non-essential trips, washing your hands, and sanitizing surfaces. These masks are not an excuse to disregard these measures, it is an additional precaution to protect yourself and others. Let's flatten the curve together! 

For more info about wearing masks, please visit the following links: 

CDC

Thurston Talk


To shop, please visit ponderosacreative.etsy.com.

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Ponderosa Creative

400 Cooper Pt Rd SW Suite 27

box 12923

Olympia, WA 90508

ponderosacreative@gmail.com

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© 2019

 by Paige Anderson