Mask maker

MASK MAKER — Healdsburg resident and former teacher, Denise Feldman, has been making masks for community members and giving them away for free from her front porch.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, many people in Sonoma County and around the world have taken to creating masks for healthcare workers, frontline personnel and community members. Longtime Healdsburg quilters Denise Feldman has put a pause on her quilt making to join the cause. She now makes between 15-20 masks a day, which she distributes from her front porch to community members. 

The Healdsburg Tribune chatted with Feldman over the phone to learn more about her mask making and what she’s offering.  

When did you start making masks?

About a month ago right after everybody had to have masks. The sew-ers and the quilters were making masks for the hospital, but nobody was making them for the community, so I decided that I would make it for the community and just put them out on my porch and let people come get them.

How many have you made so far?

Close to 400. And we’ve raised $250 for the food pantry. Because they (the masks) are free, people kept wanting to pay me, and my husband thought of giving it to the food pantry, so I put a box out there and told people to put money in the box.

Do you make them at home or have a work space that you use?

I use our guest room, which is also my sewing room.

Where do you get the fabric from? What type of fabric is it?

I’m a quilter, so I have lots of stash and then people have donated it. I was using the donated fabric first and then I ran out of that so I took some out of my stash. I’m glad I have it so I can do it. It has patterns, all different kinds. Right now I’ve got a lot of Asian-inspired fabric. I buy remnants a lot. Fabric stores will pack up remnants, and I’ll buy those because I do a lot of appliques so you use a lot of little pieces of fabric.

Can you put these masks in the washing machine?

Yes, I use a non-woven, fusible interface inside the mask and that takes care of needing a filter, so mine don’t have filters, so they can go right in the washing machine and right in the dryer. I hear that some people are also sterilizing them with a hot steam iron. Everything is pre-washed before I even make the masks.

People can pick them up in front of your house?

Yes I have a box, and I have a sign up that will say, “Sorry, no masks today,” if I have to take a day off. I put them out at 4:30 p.m. every day, usually 20 (of them).

Are you retired or not working or still working?

I was a special education teacher in Healdsburg and now I’m retired. I taught in Healdsburg, and I taught in West Side; I was the garden teacher at West Side.     

Have you lived in Healdsburg for a while?

Over 30 years. I am a master gardener; I’m a beekeeper. The reason I started making masks is that I am way too hyper to be sitting still, and I can only do so much housework, so making masks was a no-brainer because it gives me something to focus on and why not do something that helps other people?

How should people get in contact with you?

Have them go to the NextDoor neighborhood website for Healdsburg, and my address is there. I’m very well advertised there. 

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