Crafting phenomenon of 2020

This post was never published when it was supposed to be, back in October. I suppose I ran out of time? I felt it was worth sharing, something I will always reflect back on when I hear the number ’20-20′.

It’s funny how at the beginning of lockdown, way back in March, I had all the time in the world. But I soon found myself so busy I had no time at all.

Granted, I have spent around 6 months home schooling so that took up most of my time, but I also had heaps of creative inspiration so I also spent every spare moment I had working on all my new ideas. Housework took a back seat, not like we were having visitors anyway.

My last post was April 21st and I mentioned I was 30 days into (the first) lockdown. It’s really weird to look back on that. I’m in Metro Melbourne Victoria, Australia, and for those who don’t know, we have only just started to lift restrictions from our second lockdown, which was much more severe than the first.

In a nut shell, we went into lockdown back in mid March through April, to late May. Restrictions began to lift, through June, but by July 9th we were back in lockdown again. Less than one month in and the restrictions were even harsher including a curfew and 5km limit.

As an artist, who sells pretty things, I figured my work was over. Markets were closed, retail was closed, and all I had left was my online shop. People were losing jobs, no one knew what was ahead, and it seemed everyone was spending their money on toilet paper.

I bought my first face mask in July and thought I could make my own. I gave it a go, made a few masks and shared them online.

BOOM. The mask making frenzy began.

Orders came pouring in and overnight I found myself sewing masks full time. I had never experienced anything quite like it. I had a constant stream of emails, orders were stacking up and I found myself cutting, pinning and sewing until the wee hours of the morning. Buzzing on Irish coffee and listening to podcasts. It was really exciting, but also a tad overwhelming. One day I felt like a helpless artist, the next I was in high demand.

A few days later, masks became mandatory, and the madness continued.

Of course, I wasn’t the only one. Craft stores soon ran out of elastic and black fabric. Lines were huge and only got bigger. I was part of a crafting phenomenon.

In the stores, behind the fancy custom patterned masks, fellow crafters would give a ‘nod’ of understanding to one another in line as we waited to be served. We were all there for the same reason.

To the people who bought handmade masks from local artists, thank you. You gave us income and a purpose. The feeling of being needed in a time like this, and be able to support our families in such an uncertain time, was empowering.

The mask making lasted over two months, then just like that, it came to an end. The break was welcomed. I was exhausted but also very proud of what I’d achieved.

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