This week in Covid-19 Craftivism, we focus on ventilators, face shields, and protective masks. Homemade manufacturing is on the rise. I’ve curated samples of how the stewards of art studios and craft rooms are stepping up to help the front line.
Ventilators are the breathing aides that are in critical demand. These machines provide the mechanization of breathing air into the lungs of a patient. Glassblowers, like Josh McMenamin of Orbital Glass in Colorado, are offering their skills to the medical field by creating glass ventilator splitters. These devices can split the air delivery of a single machine to provide ventilation for up to four patients. While providing one ventilator for each patient is ideal to offer adequate oxygen intake per individual, having alternatives to support life is of utmost value in this crisis. This technique of splitting air supply has not been tested on humans, but offers an option to sustain more lives. This fourteen year old study provides more information on this option. If one machine can help up to four patients, this can aide in the most dire situations.
Friends from around the world connect with me daily to share the newest maker information. We find 3-D printing communities participating in medical supply aid for Covid-19. Zaragoza Maker Space in Zaragoza, Spain has provided printing files to produce protective visors with 3-D printers. Bot Camp has another version of a healthcare face shield. Using 3-ring binder plastic sheets, a barrier of protection is made available to emergency and medical professionals. Makers who are preparing these items are urged to share their progress on social media with the hashtag #coronavirusmakers.
If you followed any social media over the past few days, face mask shortage is the constant conversation. Last night, Arnot Health put out a call to local news outlets asking for makers to sew protective face masks. Sewists everywhere are revving up their sewing machines with another facet of making for the medical field in our country. Solidarity to protect our medical and emergency personnel has risen the frenzy to make face masks regardless of the implications that they offer no value of protection. After countless communications with friends and family in the emergency medical fields, the idea that our country has been depleted of a simple personal protective elements is absurd. Making these items out of fabric seems even more ridiculous, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
If you own a Cricut precision die cut machine, or have the inclination to make these masks with a paper pattern, Jennifer Maker provides a perfect tutorial. This variation includes a pocket to insert a HEPA filtration fabric, which is the only way to protect from vapor inhalation. These masks are not medically approved, but offer a stop-gap at the very minimum. They also provide peace-of-mind, but that is a false sense of peace. This is what local manufacturing looks like and may continue to grow. As mass production has been sent overseas in cost-saving efforts, capitalism is proving to be a failing financial model for sustainability. Art and making continue to prove valuable to every community.
All of this stewardship is impressive, but I have this need for peace. I find a need for more personal time and am taking life at a slower pace. My favorite radio station, WFMU reminded me of a seemingly simpler time with John Lennon and Yoko Ono. I would love to have a moment of peace from all the fear. Let’s trust in abundance and focus that everything is going to be alright. Let’s put fears aside and see how a simple Bed-In can help us all to Keep Calm. It’s always hopeful to think we can Give Peace a Chance.