Face masks in support of KWAG

Update (12 August 2020): Judith has renewed her offer to supply face masks with a new ordering process in place. This blog post has been updated to reflect these changes.

Are you in need of a reusable, washable, homemade face mask? 

If you do, here’s an opportunity to get the face masks you need and support the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery at the same time.

After making face masks for family, friends and for staff at a long term care home, KWAG Board Vice-President Judith Stephens-Wells has extended a generous offer originally posted to Facebook to make face masks, in return for donations to the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery.

Face masks laid flat in three arcing rows to show range of colours and patterns

What began as a modest effort to be helpful from her basement sewing room has become a regular occupation for Judith, who has sewn over 250 face masks on request since she began. When one of her friends offered to make a donation in exchange for receiving two of her masks, Judith saw the opportunity to draw on her mask-making to direct support to KWAG – which, like many cultural institutions, has seen our revenue sources decline dramatically since closing our doors in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I would be remiss not to note that homemade face masks are not a substitute for N-95 masks,” Judith points out. “However, as we all know efforts are being made to reserve N-95 masks for frontline medical workers, and many public health officials have recommended that people wear home-made masks when venturing out into public settings.”

Judith’s masks have a layer of non-woven interfacing between the outer fabric and inner lining to enhance the filtering capabilities of her masks, with a pocket for additional filtering material if desired. These masks also include wire pipe cleaner inserts (with rounded ends) along the top edge of the mask to enable the wearer to contour its fit across the nose and cheeks, and can be made with your choice of four fastener types shown below:

Line drawing showing four types of face mask fasteners on a head in profile - from left, elastics around the ears, tied at the back of the neck, tied at the back of the head, and elastics around the head and neck


Judith hopes that filling orders for face masks in return for donations to KWAG will provide much-needed revenue to KWAG at this challenging time.

Thank you Judith for this unique initiative that both responds to community members' need for face masks and supports KWAG!

Update (19 May 2020): Thank you everyone for your enthusiasm for Judith's fundraiser! We've seen an incredible number of orders come in since publishing this post and while Judith remains committed to fulfilling your orders, we hope we can count on your patience as she works through the backlog of requests that have come her way as some additional delays are now to be expected. Please be assured that Judith is working through these orders as swiftly as her one-woman operation allows, and she will be in touch via email when your mask order is ready. 

We continue to welcome your voluntary donations to KWAG in exchange for the gift of Judith's time, materials and labour, for which we kindly suggest a minimum donation of $20 per mask. 

Update (21 May 2020): With nearly 200 face masks to complete from new orders in the past week, Judith is unable to receive any further orders at this time. She will continue working to fulfill all face mask orders received so far and thanks you for your patience.

Update (12 August 2020): Having caught up on back-orders and sewn a new reserve supply, Judith is now able to receive new orders for face masks. She has updated her sizing to offer two sizings for both adults and children, and is now able to take requests for specific fabric types as shown in her Google Doc file linked here; folks are asked to indicate size, fabric and fastener when placing their orders by email. 

To request face masks in return for a donation to KWAG please contact Judith at jstephenswells@gmail.com.  Please be sure to indicate, for each face mask requested: 

•       the size (Large Adult, Small Adult, Child age 7-12;  or Child age 3-6)
•       the letter-number code for the fabric  for that mask; ( e.g. L-10,  S-23, BK-2,  K-4 etc.)  
•       the fastener selected for that mask.  (#1, #2(a), #2(b), #3), and 
•       please also include your mailing address 

Please note that face masks will now be delivered via Canada Post regular mail or by occasional drop-off to KWAG where masks can be collected after delivery. For those who require more urgent delivery, please contact Judith to discuss additional costs of delivery via Express Post. 

Download complete face mask ordering information (PDF)