Mask Makers



Keeping the Lowcountry safe during the coronavirus pandemic has been a community effort. From medical professionals to kind-hearted neighbors, the work of many unsung heroes has helped lift spirits and provide comfort. 

A pressing need for face masks inspired a number of volunteers throughout the area to make hundreds of them, including Hilton Head Island resident Paula Traver and the team at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina’s costume shop. 



Since April, Traver has spent about 12 hours each day sewing masks to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

Using fabric depicting Batman and the solar system, Traver’s designs originally were just for family, friends and her real estate clients. But that was before her husband Jack went to Grayco wearing one of the masks she made. The mask was a hit at the hardware store and management asked Jack if Paula could make some for its employees. Word of the masks spread within the company and Grayco asked for masks for two of its other stores. 

Then the Jazz Corner and Sea Island Landscaping asked for 25 masks, Traver said, and she made some to send to Traver IDC, her family’s electric company in Connecticut. More than 15 businesses had requested masks as of mid-May and she’d delivered more than 1,200. 

The masks are expected to have a vital role in keeping people healthy at The RBC Heritage presented by Boeing on June 18-21 at the Harbour Town Golf Links.Traver was asked to make about 200 tartan plaid masks to be worn during the tournament by the fire and rescue and medical staffs. 

“I feel like I’m doing something that’s important,” said Traver, who has sent masks to 15 different states. 

With help from her friend Patty Zensinger, who purchased fabric and helped with cutting and ironing, Traver and Gloria Krolak have done lots of sewing. The 150 different cotton designs include scenes of Paris and two London designs. This one makes Traver think of her daughter, who lives in London with her husband. There are plenty of Disney themes, too. And Stars Wars and Trolls. 

Zensinger and Krolak have made about 40 masks each as well, Traver said.

Traver includes cleaning instructions (wash every day with soap and water for 20 seconds. Hang dry or dryer) and a note with each mask: This mask was lovingly made for you. For more information about her masks, call Traver at 843-247-3728.


The Arts Center’s costume shop staff has donated its time to making masks at home for medical professionals.

Costume Shop manager Melanie Green, production coordinator/deck chief Julia Hughes, cutter/draper Anna Sanford-Blackwell, and wardrobe supervisor David Louder have worked on masks made from Arts Center fabric remnants. 

The Arts Center costume shop has made more than 1,060 masks since late March.

Recently, Volunteers in Medicine expressed a need for masks, especially with a scheduled reopening on June 1. With the reopening in mind, the Arts Center team has been providing masks for Volunteers in Medicine to help fill that void. The masks are pre-washed and made according to CDC standards.

“We are happy to be able to offer our services to the greater community,” the Arts Center’s CEO/President Jeffrey Reeves said. “The costume shop has done a great job responding to this need.” 


Volunteers in Medicine Hilton Head Clinic opened June 1 and is requiring all volunteers, staff and patients to wear masks in the building. The clinic needs homemade, washable masks. Patients should bring their own masks if possible, but the clinic will provide masks as needed. 

For more information about making masks for VIM Hilton Head, go to Volunteers in Medicine Clinic plans to open June 15 and also needs masks. For more information call executive director Pam Toney at 843-706-7090 ext, 104.