Howard La Fortune did what he knows best when he heard about people wanting masks for COVID-19. (File contributed/ Howard La Fortune)

Vancouver Island Indigenous artist takes unique approach to COVID-19 masks

Howard La Fortune thought he’d have some fun in designing a homemade mask

A Greater Victoria man has taken a tongue-in-cheek approach to COVID-19.

Indigenous artist Howard La Fortune has been carving for 50 years – from rings to masks and everything in between.

So when a friend joked that he needed a mask to help prevent spreading germs, La Fortune got on it: he found some yellow cedar from around the house carved a half-mask of a bear snout.

“It was something to do, and I usually have wood lying around the house so I thought, why not?”

On April 6, Canada’s chief medical officer Dr. Theresa Tam said that wearing non-medical masks could help people from spreading their own droplets to others, though it would not protect them from receiving germs themselves.

As a result, many people have turned to wearing homemade cloth masks while out in public, especially in busy places like grocery stores.

READ MORE: Wearing non-medical masks can stop spread of COVID-19 before symptoms start

La Fortune figures that his mask could meet these measures.

“It could probably even be set up to have one of those headbands placed behind it,” he says.

Having the opportunity to carve not only keeps him busy, but could help him earn a couple extra dollars in a time when he’s not able to work; usually at this time of year he sells his art at the lower causeway in the Inner Harbour.

While he’s not sure what kind of price he would charge, he acknowledges he’d be taking a significant cut, since it takes about 16 hours to make one of the masks.

Regardless, if anyone is interested in one of the unique masks they can contact La Fortune on his Facebook page or at 778-700-2682.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook, send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Howard La Fortune did what he knows best when he heard about people wanting masks for COVID-19. (File contributed/ Howard La Fortune)

Just Posted

“We have to make a call out to address this now so our people don’t have to feel fearful,” said Tribal Chief Mina Holmes. (Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Facebook photo)
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council seeks Indigenous-led task force in northern B.C. hospitals

Request made in an open letter to federal minister Carolyn Bennett

Ellis Ross (left), BC Liberal party, celebrated with his wife, Tracey after being named the preliminary winner of the 2020 snap provincial election.
Ross presumptive Skeena winner in snap B.C. election

Election outcome will not be official until mail-in ballots are counted

Voting has officially closed throughout B.C. for the 2020 snap provincial election. (Clare Rayment)
Map of Skeena polling stations

Watch the updates on the map below as polling stations are counted throughout Skeena riding

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

RCMP have released more details regarding what led up to an arrest caught on video in Williams Lake Sunday, Oct. 26. (Facebook video screenshot)
Review launched after ‘high-risk, multi-jurisdictional’ chase, arrest in Williams Lake

RCMP launching a full review and code of conduct investigation

(Pxfuel)
B.C. limits events in private homes to household, plus ‘safe six’ amid COVID-19 surge

Henry issued a public health order limiting private gatherings to one household, plus a group of ‘safe six’ only

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Andrew Wilkinson stepping down as B.C. Liberal leader

Will stay on until the next party leader is chosen

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

VicPD and B.C. Conservation Officer Service teamed up to free two bucks who were entangled in a fishing net and dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them. (VicPD)
VIDEO: Police, B.C. Conservation help two bucks caught in one fishing net

Bucks were also dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them

A heavy police presence was spotted in Lumby, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (Facebook)
Police situation leads to ‘hold and secure’ at North Okanagan school

Police call for social media blackout in ongoing incident

École de l’Anse-au-sable. (Google Maps)
COVID-19 outbreak forces closure of Kelowna school

The outbreak is the first within B.C.’s school system since classes resumed back in September

Most Read