Art Masks by Shelley Dyer-Gibbins

Art Masks by Shelley Dyer-Gibbins

Shelley and some other volunteers from her village have got themselves bit of attention over the past couple of months by making masks for their community, using fabric printed with her award winning ‘cinegirl’ artwork (available at Heart of The Tribe). We are very proud to be associated with such a generous artist and are delighted that she has managed to raise money for our neighbours at the Gallery, Glastonbury Methodist Church, who offer free meals for the homeless 3 times a week.

Shelley talks a bit about the whole process below.

“Whilst watching the news one day, the fear of the virus and hearing continual repetition stating lack of PPE, initiated the search for fabric in my cupboards to try and make my own masks.  Amongst all the bags of old wool, felt and ribbons and I discovered some material I had had printed around 3 years ago of an artwork called cinegirl. This particular artwork won me the NOA Original Print prize and for the award ceremony, my plan then was to make a retro style 50s dress from it. However, the dress was never made and the fabric remained in the cupboard until I re-discovered it and started making masks from the material.

Initially the Art Mask, as I was then referring to them as being, were for my family and friends, but i then responded to a post on a village FB page.  A neighbour called Ryan Evans who works for Westfield Medical Ltd (One of the largest providers of PPE in the UK)  was offering for free, access waste of a fabric called SMMS which is used as a surgical grade material in Hospitals up and down the land in order to make face masks for the village. Myself and  6 other members of our village volunteered to make them and we soon had  a stockpile of masks which were free to villagers. Alongside this group,  I experimented with adding a liner to the Art Masks from the SMMS fabric which worked well and gave these out to our community within the village also.

Word soon got out about the Art Masks, the volunteers and our community.  Before long, I appeared on the front of the Journal newspaper. But, It didn’t stop there. We were then contacted by BBC Points West to ask if we would be interviewed and run a news article about the masks in the community of Croscombe. This sparked an interest with a photographer from the Press Association and within days, myself and some of the recipients of the Art Masks where part of a photoshoot around the village.  Over the next 48 hours hours, the story reached all regional UK papers. Then on VE Day, my phone wouldn’t stop pinging…. we had made the National papers, The Guardian, The Times and The Telegraph, BBC radio 2, radio 4,  Getty Images and had turned into a Global news story. In between all of the media coverage, people from across the UK were now starting to contact me to ask if they can buy an Art Mask. Reacting to the demand, they were quickly uploaded onto my website and can be now be purchased from there. The sale of the Art Masks are Not for profit, employs a local seamstress who has not worked since lock down and gives a proportion of sales to a local food bank in Glastonbury.”

You can buy your own ART MASK, by visiting Shelley’s Website.

The Times