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CoronavirusUnsung Heroes of the PandemicUNSUNG HEROES - Mask Makers


by Edith Cody-Rice 

I WEAR MY MASK TO PROTECT YOU, AND YOU WEAR YOUR MASK TO PROTECT ME   Paddye Mann’s grandaughter Lilah signs a poem in American sign language. Paddye Mann website

Internationally recognized designers Paddye Mann of Pakenham and Ingrid Hamster of Almonte have pivoted their studios to make protective masks for local organizations and individuals. In the case of Paddye Mann, she is also producing hospital gowns, warming jackets, scrubs and scrub caps.

Paddye Mann usually designs high end clothes for an international clientele. Ingrid  Hamster is an award winning costume designer. Both turned to mask making as a response to the Covid 19 pandemic and the shortage of protective equipment.

Ingrid told The Humm that it was her scramble to get aboard a flight to Toronto at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam on March 15 that alerted her to the need. No one had face protection in the close quarters of the plane, nor in the airport. She collaborated with a friend and a physician to choose the fabric and the design. Her design is available free of charge  at to anyone who wants it. Ingrid is also making masks herself at the rate of 4 masks per hour and for pickup she puts the masks in plastic reusuable bags on a front porch clothesline. She accepts donations in a container on the porch  to help cover costs. Ingrid said she initially distributed close to 30 masks to Carebridge to be worn by the volunteer grocery shoppers at Patrice’s and a dozen were purchased for their pharmacy. Several Ottawa Valley Interval Houses were supplied with a total of 120. Residents of Orchardview received 50 and the requests have snowballed from there.If you would like to order or distribute masks or to help in Ingrid in any way, could you please email

Ingrid sends a big thank you to sewers and to the friends driving, those finding supplies and more: Katrina Ayling, Maureen Dagg, Jeanne d’Arc Labelle, Jeff Mills, Ann Mason, Laurie.McCable, Paige Pugh, Cathy Yuill, Liz Rootham,Cathy Blake, Monique Renaud, Beth McKibbin, Glenna Watts, Kelly Church, Patty Carson, Nancy Dechene, Mary Ann Murray,  Judy Stanley and Paddye Mann for her pattern paper.

Paddye Mann and her team turned to making masks when they began receiving requests and became aware of the enormous need.To date her studio has made 700 masks  and by the end of next week she has promised 1200 masks. She does accept donations to cover the costs of materials but the masks themselves are donated to numerous local groups, first responders and individuals free of charge. Paddy’s father, a retired physician has told her how proud he is of this initiative. Paddye credits her team and her family for making this effort possible. Her relatives are assisting in the cutting of the masks and her brother, who owns the company Inter Aero, has made annealed aluminum nose pieces for each mask. Paddye also wants to thank

  • Claire Marson of Pakenham for kicking off this project with a substantial donation toward the purchase of material.
  • Colin White who has produced a cartoon sheet about how to wear and care for a mask for her website and
  • Vanda McLelland from Pakenham who put together an instruction sheet on how to make the masks.

It is important that masks be made from 100%  tightly woven cotton, available at Textile Traditions on Mill Street in Almonte and at the Pickledish Quilt Shop in Carleton Place. Masks of more porous material cannot be used.

Paddye’s website has a pattern and detailed instructions for mask making at home as well as a guide about how to wear and care for your mask.

Who are your unsung heroes of the pandemic here in Mississippi Mills — the people who continue to work hard to make this extraordinary time easier for all of us? Please send your nominations to and we’ll honour the invaluable work they do.





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