Marilyn Pinsker has been making things with her hands — knitting, crocheting and doing needle work, for as long as she can remember.
“My 95 year old mom says with great confidence that I started to embroider when I was 4,” says Pinsker. “I have clear memories of sitting outside embroidering and knitting on the stoop of our tenement in the south Bronx.”
In her long history of of creating, Marilyn has knitted and crocheted afghans and sweaters, scarves and hats. She has also sewn clothes for her children and made her husband’s pants as well as sleeping bags, and even made down jackets way back when. So it’s not surprise that during the Pandemic, Pinsker can often be found at her sewing machine, working on making masks. So far she has made more than 200 masks…and counting.
“It makes me feel like I’m doing something to help somebody in this crazy time,” says Pinsker. She learned to sew on a vintage Singer sewing machine in 1972 at Queens college in New York from a beloved teacher Mrs. Moskowitz, who she still remember as a beautiful woman who made everything she wore.
Making masks isn’t as complicated as many of the sewing projects Pinsker has undertaken in the past, but they are quick and meaningful to create. “This is my little way of helping somebody, of doing something,” she says. “It’s a frustrating time. I have very strong opinions about things, but how do you put them into action? You vote, you get on committees, and making masks is a very tangible thing I can do.”
In addition to doing something good for the community by providing masks, Pinsker simply enjoys the creative process and working with fabrics. “It may sound funny, but some of the fabric I have received from the JCC to work with are like eye candy to me,” she says. “Some of the pieces have been so beautiful. I know the masks are going to someone who needs it and they are going to get to enjoy the beautiful fabrics too.”
Nancy Lipsey, Senior Director of Programs at the Boulder JCC, is coordinating the J’s involvement with the Boulder County Volunteer Mask Project, to help get homemade cloth masks to people who need them in Boulder County.
“They just hit 10,000 homemade masks,” says Lipsey of the Boulder Country Volunteer Mask Project. “But there is still a high need from local non-profits, agencies and even St. Vrain Valley school district. They need 750 child masks for their 4-6 year olds for the end of July, and currently there is also need for 1295 adult masks for Boulder Housing Partners. The Boulder JCC is acting as an East Boulder collection point for finished masks and mask making supplies- like thread, elastic and material. Moving into the fall we even hope to offer lessons for people who want to learn how to make masks.”