What began as a way to make the Harmony of the Gorge Chorus “a little money” has turned into a major project for a Hood River couple.
Judy and Ken Galloway, who are members of Harmony of the Gorge and Wind-Masters Men’s Chorus, began making colorful face masks in April.
“This all started as our contribution to Harmony of the Gorge’s 2020 fundraiser called ‘$5 to Grow,’” said Judy. “Each January, chorus members are given $5 and told to somehow invest it and make it grow, and then turn in whatever it becomes in December.”
In previous years, members have made and sold pies or craft items; Judy has offered computer classes.
“This year when the pandemic hit, I knew I couldn’t offer computer classes at that time, so I thought about converting my gorgeous quilt fabrics into a few three-layer, colorful, washable masks and selling them,” said Judy. “I taught Ken to sew, and the rest is history.”
Those few masks have turned into five different designs — folded, contour, contour with a tuck, and kids (2-4 years), which sell for $6, and an EZ Breathe 3D mask, which sells for $15.
The EZ Breathe masks take three hours to construct, with a shape that resembles a bowl — a mask made with singers in mind. The masks also have nose wire and adjustable ear loops. She had a choir director out of Portland purchase 30.
“We have handled many custom orders for sizes and fabrics,” Judy added.
Ken cuts all of the fabric; they each have a sewing machine. The masks are three layers “to help control particles from sneezes and coughs, and also to keep dust and pollen away,” reads their website. “Masks are colorful to help keep attitude bright and cheerful during this time, whether you’re gardening, shopping or taking a walk.”
Masks can be found outside their residence at 2520 Montello, on the honor system. Masks can also be purchased online on their website, aspencharms.com, and at The Dalles Chamber of Commerce office. Each is individually wrapped
“We have shipped masks all over the country … we’ve done several outdoor markets, we still have the boxes outside (the house), and we’ve started sewing together holiday fabrics and flannels for winter warmth,” said Judy.
As for how long the Galloways make masks, that depends on the pandemic; Judy said they will make them as long as they’re needed, with the chorus as the benefactor.
The two have been married for 51 years and “this is the second favorite things we’ve done together,” said Judy (the first was getting married). “We enjoy being together and working on this.
“He loves shopping for fabric as much as I do now.”