At Handmade Arcade headquarters, we are following what is going on in our community very closely. Many members of Pittsburgh’s Crafty Community have quickly pivoted their businesses to support immediate and crucial needs during this challenging time. Keep reading for several uplifting stories from our community of makers using their skills and showing their capacity for kindness while we stay home, safe and healthy.
MAKERSPACES CREATING SOLUTIONS
Pittsburgh nonprofit maker space, Protohaven has created the Proto Shield — an open-source, low-cost, quickly produced face shield made of durable plastic. Devin Montgomery, founder and executive director of Protohaven, along with Mat Thorne, Protohaven member and maker, co-designed the 3D printed shield that can be made for less than $1, under one minute by anyone with the right tools and materials. The face shield is designed to be functionally equivalent to the Prusa face shield and be compatible with its parts. The shield can be worn all day and disassembled for sterilization and reuse.
Have a 3D printer, and want to see if you can help? Visit Protohaven’s Proto Shield detailed instructions online.
Protohaven is a nonprofit makerspace located in Wilkinsburg. Make a donation today to support their mission to serve the public good by providing space, tools, knowledge and community for creation and innovation.
FABRIC MASK MAKERS IN PITTSBURGH
While handmade face masks cannot replace the protective personnel equipment (PPE) worn by health care workers and those on the front lines of this crisis, they can protect the public when going out for essential needs. The Pennsylvania Department of Health and the CDC recommend that everyone should wear a mask in public — and remember this helpful saying: “My mask protects you, your mask protects me.”
Below lists a few of the volunteer groups who are making fabric masks for those essential workers who do not have access to PPEs.
OPERATION FACE MASK PITTSBURGH
Operation Face Mask Pittsburgh is a “collective of volunteers, including professional stitchers, working to fill Pittsburgh’s need for safe, washable, reusable masks.” Directed by Jenn Gooch, long-time Pittsburgh artist, musician and maker, Operation Face Mask has a team dedicated to safe making protocols, how-to videos for mask making at home, directions on wearing and washing, and more. This industrious creative collective has thought through all of the challenges for production, distribution and information sharing as safely and as nimbly as possible.
They are looking for volunteers and donations to keep this movement going as long as it is needed. Have supplies you’re not using? Want to make a monetary donation? Visit their website to see a list of current needs and to donate.
(mask) MAKERS PGH
(mask) MAKERS PGH is an alliance of local small businesses and nonprofits who have teamed up to help combat the global mask shortage. They have posted mask-making instructions online and are looking for more volunteers.
Cut & Sew Studio, a member of the (mask) MAKERS PGH, is actively posting how-to videos on their Facebook and Instagram accounts, and HA vendors Knotzland (Nisha Blackwell) and Otto Finn (Rona Chang) are also producing masks as part of this effort. Follow along for new tutorials and tips on how to make your own face mask at home.
ACTS OF KINDNESS: VOLUNTEERING
Allison Butka and Joyce Swope, owners of Etna Print Circus, heard the call from 412 Food Rescue for help delivering food. As luck would have it, they are the proud owners of a decommissioned school bus named PriZilla. So what did these two generous and kind makers do? They used PriZilla to help distribute 500 free meals at six different school bus stops in the South Side and Hilltop neighborhoods for children who do not have easy access to food provided by their school districts during the COVID-19 pandemic. Find out more about the great work 412 Food Rescue is doing and make a donation today.
Want to support Etna Print Circus during this time? Check out their latest creative collaboration! Always thinking of fun and colorful ways to share social messaging on their t-shirts, Etna Print Circus has teamed up with soap makers Dragonfly Lake Scents and PghLesbian Correspondents to create a Pittsburgh-themed self-care package that includes a t-shirt that says “#WarshYourHands” and a bar of soap. You can purchase your shirt and soap today at pghlesbian.bigcartel.com/products. While there, you can donate a bar of soap and tip the makers too!
A FREE WAY THANK DELIVERY WORKERS
Want to thank all of the delivery people who are allowing you to stay home and safe? Now you can! Matthew Buchholz of Alternate Histories has created a series of six signs you can download for FREE and print at home. Display the eye-catching signs in your window to let those delivering mail and packages to your home know that you appreciate them.