— by Mellany Armstrong
Suzanne Kopko models a mask with red, green and browns that she made herself.

Besides being a way to protect ourselves, masks have become a form of expression, even a fashion statement. “I like your mask” is often heard as people greet one another in the time of coronavirus. 

Some students, faculty and staff at Moore have made their own masks featuring artwork, cartoon characters and colorful fabrics, and have benefited others with their sewing skills. 

Animation, gaming and sci-fi are big themes for Kellen Wardwell ’20an Animation & Game Arts major, who has a Minecraft mask made by her mother.

Right: Kellen Wardwell '20 in her Minecraft maskKellen Wardwell '20

“We made templates because our faces are different sizes,” she said. “We figured out how to make an assembly line process to make them for family and friends. I cut the fabric out with a rotary blade, using the templates that my dad cut out of wood with his scroll saw, then you pin it and sew it together.” 

She’s also into coordinatingsuch as wearing a Pokémon mask with a Pokémon shirt. Her mask collection also includes designs from Star WarsBeauty and the Beast and Marvel superheroes. 

“It’s just more fun to be safe when it’s something you know you like and you’d like to wear,” she said. 


Adjunct faculty member Katrina Kopeloff has been making one-of-a-kind masks using an ancient artform.

Katrina KopeloffLeft: Katrina Kopeloff wearing her Suminagashi mask.

“I used a Japanese marbling technique called Suminagashi,” she said, which means “floating ink.” The process involves floating color on water or a viscous solution known as size, and then carefully transferring it to paper or fabric. Kopeloff’s masks have a pocket for a wire nose piece to secure the fit around the bridge of the nose, as well as a pocket to insert a filter. She also has a special waterproof filter made of polypropylene fabric, which uses a static charge to attract droplets in the air. She will have more masks available in December.

Through her transdisciplinary practice known as 22 Studio, Fashion Design Chair Nasheli Ortiz-González and her partner Marien V. Rodriguez have sewn hundreds of masks. They formed an online sewing group in April and recorded a tutorial on how to make masks. They donated many to hospitals in Philadelphia.

Nasheli Ortiz and Kelly KirbyRight: Faculty members Nasheli Ortiz-Gonzalez and Kelly Kirby wearing masks made by Ortiz-Gonzalez.

Suzanne Kopko ’93, manager of The Art Shop at Moore, dug into her stash of scrap fabric and has sewn and sold more than 100 Olson-style fitted masks, named after 1930s legendary maker and nurse Lyla Mae Olson.  

I realized a lot of students, faculty and staff would need them, and that I could use them as an opportunity to donate some money for scholarships,” Kopko said. She has given $3 from each sale to support financial aid for Moore students. 

For those who don’t sew, they seek out favorite themes from those who do. Animation & Game Arts junior Christy LaRocco has been sporting a mask that features several characters from the animated series My Little PonyLaRocco proudly said it was handcrafted by artist and dressmaker Pamela Ptak, owner of Ptak Couture Custom Clothier in Bucks County, PA.