I just hopped off of Etsy, where I ordered a few more facemasks for myself. I figure the wearin' o' the mask will continue well into next year, and by then my store of masks will be looking pretty shabby. I go out for a walk every day, so I'm going through seven masks a week that I have to hand launder. The same drag we used to experience back in the day when we all wore pantyhose.
There are, of course, something like 42 billion facemask choices out there, but I decided to focus my search on masks for holidays. Coming my way will be a couple of Halloween masks (for covid, not trick or treat costumes) and a few Christmas ones. Come October, I'll have a candy corn mask and a spider web one. In December, I'll be sporting my new snowflake and holly masks, and this retro look one that's particularly cute:
Then there's the nice summery-looking mask I saw on a store window on Charles Street. I may stop by later today to pick it up.
I have a few fancy (i.e., not black or white) masks already - a Red Sox mask and a couple (butterflies, plaid) that my sister Trish made for me when we were just starting to mask up, and we were all beginning to panic. That was in the just after before time, and I was ratcheting back and forth between an old bandanna and something I managed to craft up for myself using a linen napkin and rubber bands.
Mostly this summer I've been wearing white cotton masks that look kind of like the bras I wore in high school. Before that, I was mostly doing the black mask thing. I've also got a couple of gaiters, and a package of disposable masks.
There's a pandemic on, don't you know, and I'm doing my bit for the common health and the economy by making sure I've got enough masks.
Admittedly, before I hopped on Etsy just now, I already had a decent number. But I've been getting sick and tired of the same old, same old, mask-wise, and I'll be happy to refresh my stockpile. Plus spread a bit of holiday comfort and joy, come the fall, come the winter.
Mask production, as it turns out, is one of the few economic bright spots of the pandemic economy.
There's a company in Chelsea, just outside of Boston, that was making those canvas-over-steel-frame carts used for storage in warehouses and on factory floors, and for shuttling things around on trade-show floors (which is where I've used them). Business slowing down, Steele Canvas retooled and began producing face masks. Because of this, they've been able to keep their entire staff on. They've even brought on a few new employees. Their masks are sold by Crate and Barrel, among others.
Steele Canvas is not alone.
With about half of U.S. states now requiring that masks be worn in public and most large retailers and grocery stores mandating them in their stores, masks are not just helping keep coronavirus at bay — they are providing a financial lifeline to many small businesses that might otherwise be looking into the abyss.Companies are stitching them on repurposed manufacturing lines in New England and 3-D-printing them at workshops in California. Hundreds of Etsy entrepreneurs have stopped sewing bags and table linens and switched to full-time mask production. (Source: WaPo)
Etsy is, not surprisingly, a treasure trove, a garden of earthly delights, for mask seekers.
When I was in mask panic mode in late March/early April - before masks were recommended, let alone required, but when the handwriting was on the wall and it said MASKS! - Etsy was everyone's go-to, but most of the masks on offer were utilitarian. Now there is seemingly infinite choice. (I've already gone back to look at the Christmas masks and - damn - except for the 1960's retro mask, I could have done better.)
You name it, you can probably find the mask of your dreams out there. Penguins (generic)? Check! Penguins (Pittsburgh)? Check! Hydrangeas? Check! Hot dogs? Check! Superman? Check! Super Mario? Check!
Okay. There's not one for everything imaginable. I came up short on Casablanca. But if you're a Sopranos fan, and you're willing to wear a mask with a cartoon of a naked woman on it - make that near-naked: she's wearing pasties - you can order the Bada Bing!
One vendor is even selling masks that she dyes with home-grown lavender and indigo.
The WaPo article also talked about Ministry of Supply, a way-cool techie clothing company that's based in Boston. I've walked by their store on Newbury Street hundreds of times, but I've never been in. Too techie. Too millennial. Too skinny girl. But they do sell hi-tech masks. I was thinking of dropping in and buying one, but I checked online and their masks go for $50/per.
Hmmm. I can get a handful of Etsy masks for that amount. Maybe I'll go back and look for something Thanksgiving-related.
I'm guessing we'll be wearing masks well into 2021, if not well beyond.
And buying those facemasks, I'm at least doing a bit of my bit to save the people, save myself, and save the economy. Looking so forward to my new stock of Etsy masks arriving.