Tired of forgetting your mask? This Cherokee Elder makes creative solutions

Great State

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (KFOR) — David Cornsilk doesn’t usually sit outside his office to do this kind of work.

“I usually do this watching TV,” he smiles.

He is never one to sit still for long, but this spring found him without a steady job, caring for an ailing father, and using art therapy as a way to keep from spiraling into an even darker place.

“I was taking care of my dad who was suffering from liver cancer,” he relates, “But after his passing I had to figure out what I was going to do.”

Already a good hand with arts and crafts, he noticed something about the new found requirements of wearing face masks, and how easy or un-sanitary it was to either forget to wear one, or to stuff it in a dirty pocket for later use.

“I noticed a need to protect peoples’ masks,” he says.

So it wasn’t a huge leap from those strings that hold reading glasses to what he called ‘Mask Mates’.

David already had a bunch of glass beads lying around so he found it easy to apply his own artistic flair.

He says, “I got requests like, ‘can you make it a little fancier? Can you make it a little more native looking?'”

Cornsilk runs a Facebook page called Art by Cherokee Artists.

That’s where he was already selling necklaces, earrings, and hand-made baskets.

His Mask Mates were an easy add and a best seller right away.

Pointing to a corner of his work table, he says, “All of these are already spoken for.”

Masks have become both a fashion and political statement.

David is all for both, and for an attractive reminder to have one handy when the occasion arises.

Their ultimate purpose, he argues, “to just make wearing masks that much easier.”

For more information on David Cornsilk’s jewelry or his Mask Mates visit his Facebook page.

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