Calgarians Share the Stories Behind Their Locally Made Face Masks

Many of them made their own face masks, but there are also some masks by local designers in the mix.

If you’re going to wear a non-medical face mask as a preventative measure during the global pandemic, you might as well wear one you like. Recently, Avenue‘s staff photographer set out to capture some Calgarians wearing locally made masks and we asked them to share some thoughts on them. Their answers are below.


Photographs by Jared Sych.

Carl Abad, stylist and jewellery designer: “My mask was made by my mom, Stella Abad [pictured below]. During this pandemic my parents are staying with me, and I decided to get my mom to start making masks to keep her busy. We gathered all the cotton fabric we could find in the house and off my mom went! My mask is made from some traditional Filipino batik fabric that my parents bought back for me from the Philippines years ago.”


Photographs by Jared Sych.

Stella Abad, retired: “I started making masks to keep myself busy during quarantine. Word got out amongst family and friends and the requests have been coming in. Knowing that I am helping minimize the spread of COVID-19 and keep my family and friends safe keeps me smiling.”

Photographs by Jared Sych.

Jeff Dabreo and Sarah Lemon, adult English language facilitators: “I [Sarah] made both masks along with a bunch of others for friends and family. Jeff’s was one of my first attempts from some leftover cotton I had from making beeswax food wraps with my colleagues. My mask was put together with an old bedsheet and some hand-printed fabric with a tea bag on it I had been given a long time ago. As a huge tea drinker, this is now my favourite homemade mask.”

Photographs by Jared Sych.

Kate Husted, ceramicist, and Marc Rimmer, partner and designer at Bamff Studio: “When COVID-19 hit [Kate and I] were just over a month away from welcoming a baby. Medical advice and health care procedures were changing by the day, and we wanted to take extra care to keep ourselves, our midwives and future baby safe during such an uncertain time. We made a couple three-layer masks out of some leftover fabric we got to make some baby clothes and a maternity jumpsuit [pictured on Husted], and picked up some hockey shoelaces to make the ties.”

Not long after this photo was taken, Husted and Rimmer welcomed a healthy baby named Timo to their family.


Photographs by Jared Sych.

Lourdes Juan, founder and CEO of Fresh Routes, Hive Developments, Leftovers Foundation, Moonlight Market and Soma Spa: “The mask is from a local Calgary designer, Lisa Arcega, who was one of only two Canadians to present designs for Princess Diana’s maternity wardrobe in the ’80s. I love that it’s animal print and colourful, it helps bring some style and friendliness to an unprecedented time.”


Photographs by Jared Sych.

Yujin Kim, student, artist and model: “I hand-sewed my mask using a t-shirt. All my friends and relatives in Korea think that a mask is essential while WHO says it isn’t. I honestly don’t know what to do.”


Photographs by Jared Sych.

Anna Niemczewski, owner of Chinook Optical and Modern Legacy Eyewear: “The mask was made by local artist Tiffany Wollman. It’s a handmade, washable, silk mask. I love that it’s full coverage and soft.”

Photographs by Jared Sych.

Shannon Norberg, gallery director of Jarvis Hall Gallery, and Jarvis Hall, founder and director of Jarvis Hall Gallery: “Both masks were made by the artist and creator at Sun & Moon, Tiffany Wollman,” says Norberg. “Once you start thinking of a mask as a seat belt, it makes more sense to wear one. They might not prevent you from getting into a car accident, but if worn properly, they definitely better your odds of surviving the crash.”

Photographs by Jared Sych.

Darrell Richardson, personal trainer: “My mask’s got awesome shark teeth. It feels like I’m making the best of a terrible situation. Hopefully, it gives someone a good laugh if they’re having a bad day.”

Brenna Pladsen, graphic designer: “I started sewing masks when the CDC started recommending them. I made both of these and it feels like a proactive thing I can do when the general guidelines are a list of things not to do.”

Photographs by Jared Sych.

Marigold Santos, artist, and Yarko Yopyk, furniture maker: “These are masks [Yarko and I] made from upcycled chambray and canvas fabric. We made them the first week of quarantine and they have been coming in handy for grocery and supply runs.”

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