Object StatementCollection of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) masks and patterns, COVID-19 pandemic, cotton / PM2.5 filter / (HEPA 1035) textile, masks designed and made by Ronda McCallum, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 2020, printed textiles by Mary Shackman, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1980-1989
Physical DescriptionCollection of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) masks and patterns illustrating the experimentation and design evolution behind a range of mask designs made by Ronda McCallum for use by veterinary staff and the general public.
1. Three pleat mask: The first mask Ronda McCallum designed was made in response to a request from staff working at a veterinary practice. The rectangular design is a traditional style based on the surgical masks worn in hospitals with three expanding horizontal pleats and two sets of ties fastening around the back of the head. Made in a pink and grey recycled remnant printed cotton fabric with a cotton interlock lining and removable vinyl nose wire. The fabric is a recycled cotton print by Mary Shackman.
2. First Olson pattern trial: Plain white cotton pattern for mask with fitted shape running from the bridge of the nose to under the chin, curving over the nose and mouth and across the cheeks to the ears. Ronda received further requests for masks and began to experiment with washable mask designs for everyday use by the general public. She discovered a pattern for the Olson mask, designed by a nurse Lyla Mae Olson in the 1930’s. Finding it difficult to fit a wire McCallum altered the original pattern by flattening the angle across the bridge of the nose which made it easier to make the casing and allowed the wire to sit flat and have better contact with the face.
3. Olson pattern masks - design revision 1: Two printed cotton masks showing construction cross section and finished mask using design based on the Olson mask. Both masks have a fitted shape running from the bridge of the nose to under the chin, curving over the nose and mouth and across the cheeks to the ears where they attach to the face with elastic loops threaded through casings. Fitted with a PM2.5 filter which sits inside a filter casing. To make the filter sit comfortably McCallum flattened the front of the pattern slightly and added short rows of guide stitching to make the filter casing. The fabrics are recycled cotton prints by Mary Shackman.
4. Olson pattern masks - design revision 2: Two printed cotton masks, adult size, showing inside and outside construction for masks based on the Olson mask. Two printed cotton masks, children’s size. All masks have a fitted shape running from the bridge of the nose to under the chin, curving over the nose and mouth and across the cheeks and attaching around the ears with elastic loops. Responding to feedback about the PM2.5 filters feeling heavy as well as being hard to source Ronda McCallum moved to using HEPA 1035 cloth and custom made the removable filters. The filters proved to be lighter and the stiffness of the filter cloth also had the advantage of helping to hold the shape of the mask. McCallum was also finding good quality cotton fabrics were becoming increasingly hard to get with the cotton interlock she uses as a lining selling out almost as soon as it arrived in store. She switched to using Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) t-shirts from India for the lining along with remnant printed cotton fabrics by Mary Shackman.
5. 1st summer mask - Vertical pleat design: One printed cotton mask in white with black spots. Mask has a loose shape running from the bridge of the nose to under the chin and across to the ears with a large expanding vertical pleat running down the centre front. The fabric is a recycled remnant cotton print by Mary Shackman. In warmer weather the cotton interlock lined masks were too hot to comfortably wear and McCallum began experimenting with designs more suited to summer weather. This was her first summer design but was soon abandoned as she found it difficult to fit a nose wire and in wearing the pleat would start to close over time making it uncomfortable.
6. 2nd summer mask pattern: White cotton pattern for mask with fitted shape running from the bridge of the nose to under the chin and across the cheeks with central horizontal seam. With this design McCallum found the rounded front made fitting the filter awkward so cut the front straight with a bevel each side reducing the width at the elastic casings. The mask still didn’t fit very well and was putting pressure on the bridge of the nose so McCallum added a short, narrow dart in the wire casing at the nose and a longer wider dart under the chin. This made the mask sit more comfortably on the face.
7. Two pattern pieces, one for the 1st Summer mask and the other showing the alteration to allow for a filter in the 2nd Summer mask.
8. 2nd Summer pattern mask showing construction cross section
9. 2nd summer final mask: Two printed cotton masks, one in white cotton with black cross, Asterix and zig zag print, the other in blue cotton with a darker blue wave print design. In these masks for summer McCallum has substituted a lighter cotton voile lining instead of the cotton interlock fabric. The HEPA filter is stitched into the lining giving the mask enough stiffness to hold it off the front of the face allowing for space to avoid overheating.