PFA professor uses costume design skills to make masks for community members | University of Portland

PFA professor uses costume design skills to make masks for community members

Gregory Pulver in mask with logo that reads University of Portland Pilots Give Back Spring 2020At this point in the semester, Gregory Pulver, associate professor of costume and makeup design and choreography, is usually busy working on spring theater productions with performing & fine arts students. This spring, Pulver is putting his costume design skills to use by making masks for his friends and for the priests and brothers on the University of Portland campus.

“I wanted to make sure that my colleagues, friends, and family all had masks, once the CDC recommended that we all wear masks in public places,” Pulver said.

Pulver researched many different patterns that are available online but had trouble finding one that had the perfect fit around the nose. Thankfully, a friend shared a pattern he had developed, and Pulver adapted it. Using scrap fabric from the UP costume shop, 100% cotton lining, and pipe cleaners for the nose area, Pulver has perfected his mask design.

The final touch to his masks is a red thread stitched along the top. In addition to safety, wearing, and washing instructions, Pulver includes the following message with his masks:

Mask for Hope

An invisible red thread connects all those who are destined to meet regardless of time, place or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but will never break. - Chinese Proverb

All humanity is now connected by this invisible red thread, and I am certain that it will not break.

I hope this brings you some comfort in these uncertain times.

Pulver explains, “This is the designer in me to not only make something of quality, but something that tells a story, has meaning, is beautiful, and helps communicate a message.”

Each mask takes Pulver about 30 minutes to complete. He has already constructed 30 masks since last week and plans to make 30 more for the priests on campus. 

Although making masks has been a good reprieve for Pulver, he misses the day-to-day interaction with students. With classes now held online and a slew of cancelled productions, Pulver looks forward to being back on campus with his students and performing & fine arts colleagues. 

“I cherish my job at University of Portland. We all—faculty, students, and staff—work so hard to make our campus a community. We are passionate about teaching and learning and helping people grow as loving members of society. UP is my home, and I can’t wait to get back to the job that I love…and the people that I love more,” Pulver said.