The art of the mask is craft artist Pam Doffek's latest challenge
Pamala Doffek was unfazed when Tallahassee’s stores first ran out of elastic material—the vital component sought out by DIY cloth mask makers. Instead, she turned to her decades of experience as a fabric and craft artist and adapted.
2020欧洲杯正规平台 “All the videos out there didn’t have fabric straps in four corners, so that’s our pattern,” says Doffek, who serves on Sustainable Tallahassee’s Rags2Bags committee.
After the annual Chain of Parks Art Festival was postponed, Rags2Bags pivoted from making their usual 1000-1200 reusable cloth bags, which they distribute at the festival, and began assembling masks for and with the community. Doffek, who also serves as President of the Board at LeMoyne Arts, was adamant to unite arts organizations across the city, sharing links to the pattern and working together to provide protection from COVID-19.
2020欧洲杯正规平台 Rags2Bags has an authorized mask drop-off and kit pick-up station set up from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on Thursdays at Faith Presbyterian Church’s Manna Cottage. Their goal is to provide materials for the community to make their own cloth masks, as well as a few extra to be donated to essential workers and organizations.
2020欧洲杯正规平台Arts and service have always been synonymous for Doffek. Her degrees in industrial technology, library science, and studio art have coalesced into her many leadership and arts positions. Doffek is the president of the Tallahassee Quilter’s Unlimited Guild and also served as president in 2016 and is a member of the Embroiderers’ Guild of America.
2020欧洲杯正规平台 She first learned to sew at age 13 at her local 4-H club and continued to make clothes for herself and her family. When Doffek graduated from high school, she attended college and then joined the U.S. Air Force and crafted throughout her many deployments and assignments. She recalls one winter making quilted, fabric Christmas ornaments by the light of her kerosene lamp.
“I like to use scraps and be freeform, and I believe we should use what we have,” says Doffek. “Sewing, quilting, art craft utilization. That is how I can give to my community.”
Doffek has made quilts for the NICU at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital and the Big Bend Homeless Coalition. She has donated fabrics to The Moses Basket Project that works with the Gadsden Correctional Facility and spends time knitting washcloths for elder care facilities and the veterans center.
When Doffek begins thinking through a new piece — whether it is quilt or embroidery —she’ll draw up a rough sketch, then head straight for her sewing machine. She works in bright, vibrant purples, reds, yellows and greens.
2020欧洲杯正规平台 She is the most proud of a piece she did for the Quilter’s Unlimited annual show titled, “Full Frontal Foliage.” Her quilt was a response to another member’s rejected art quilt the previous year that adapted Edvard Munch’s bare “Madonna.” In cheeky protest, Doffek carefully hid a hand-stitched woman among the luscious flowers, dragonflies and bees. She enjoys capturing serendipitous and culturally relevant moments in fiber and is always primed for a new task.
“I like the challenge of the thrill, the ‘can you do this?’” says Doffek. “It is from both my military background and my first bachelor’s in industrial technology. I have a process-oriented mind and industrial technology asks how do you lay out a factory so that it is most efficient. That is what I am doing with Rags2Bags. I know how to make a process work.”
In addition to providing 300 bags for elementary schools to collect students’ schoolwork and belongings, Rags2Bags has continued to meet every week for mask assembly. Doffek says they have made the process efficient and easy to replicate for the community with their sewing pattern. Doffek serves as a cutter in the assembly line. Other members surge the sides and tops of the masks before handing them off to the people who fold down the tops and make braided ties.
The mask pattern Rags2Bags is using is a variation of a template used by The Turban Project, which creates turbans and masks for cancer patients. Doffek recently released a YouTube video on Sustainable Tallahassee’s webpage to demonstrate the process.
2020欧洲杯正规平台“It is all straight sewing and the video shows how to do simple mask with four fabric ties,” says Doffek. “The pleats aren’t difficult, just go slow.”
Doffek says Sustainable Tallahassee is also offering mobile drop-off and pick-up services on Wednesdays for those who are unable to leave their home or travel to the Thursday location. She advises that a mask is simply the first line of defense and that the community should continue to follow distancing orders, hand-washing protocols, and wash their masks regularly.
Even in these difficult times, Doffek continues to be motivated by the Tallahassee art community’s support of one another. She is hopeful to keep the synergy and momentum going between many organizations.
2020欧洲杯正规平台 “Art has always been a need for the human whether they knew it or not,” says Doffek. “Art has proved over and over throughout the centuries that it’s part of the healing process. It keeps people’s spirits buoyed and brings us together as a community.”
Amanda Sieradzki is the feature writer for the Council on Culture & Arts. COCA is the capital area’s umbrella agency for arts and culture (www.tallahasseearts.org).
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