“I could get out my sewing machine and do something to make a difference.”- Gwen

In the early days of March 2020, news regarding COVID-19 spread in hushed tones throughout medical offices and church hallways in small cities and towns in the Appalachian Region of the United States. Although case numbers were quickly rising in major U.S. metropolitan areas, the virus was just becoming a known risk in Appalachia. During this time, Appalachian women gathered information about prevention efforts, and quickly acted using what resources they could access to provide homemade masks for themselves, their families, and their communities. In this study, the authors interviewed 15 of these women and examined 9 of their social media accounts between March and August 2020 to better understand both the individual and social aspects of mask-making, health communication, and mask advocacy during the pandemic. Our findings and the accompanying photo essay support that mask-making and the sharing of narrative images during this time period established feelings of self-efficacy within a chaotic environment, allowed them to express their identity within the crisis, and provided an opportunity for both public health advocacy and community care through craft.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.