Pixels & Pieces
Written by the Symplicity team
Maritime Resilience is a series of stories on how local organizations are adapting to COVID-19.
Local graphic designer and maker jumps from “pixels” to “pieces” with innovative new masks
Harrison’s design business operates out of Halifax, offering a full range of design services, advice, and more recently custom products such as coasters, folios, and ornaments. A corporate layoff in 2019 led to Harrison joining CEED (Centre for Entrepreneur Education Development) and purchasing a laser engraver.
Harrison worked to promote her design skills and sought out some clients. Coincidentally, many businesses suddenly needed web work. Harrison came up with a new package offering called “I need everything” as most of her customers weren’t aware of her full skillset. “A lot of businesses who have been brick and mortar for a long time have realized it’s time for a refresh, so I offer quite a comprehensive package.” Harrison said.
With a decent flow of clients and a “keep calm and carry on” attitude, Harrison hunkered down and continued to promote her design work. However, Pixels and Pieces was about to swing back to the “Pieces” side of things. Not long into the pandemic, Harrison was contacted by Trotec, the supplier of her laser engraver.
Armabreath is as thin as paper, slightly stretchy and more precious than cotton. It is a nonwoven fabric extremely efficient in filtration but with the structural strength of most spunbond material. Perfect for masks. Trotec had been contacting their customers to offer the new material to them as it could be cut with a laser engraver.
Harrison went to work designing, cutting, re-designing, and perfecting the fabric into ideal shapes for masks. “Of course, elastic was not easy to source with everyone else sewing homemade masks.” Instead, Harrison cut holes in her masks and made the bands out of Armabreath as well.
Harrison quickly realized that the material could be used as filter inserts. She reached out to Stubbs, a Canadian garment manufacturing company. With some tweaking, Pixels and Pieces added to their product range Stubbs cotton masks with Armabreath filters. Both masks are available in adult and child sizes and the cotton masks come in a variety of designs and colours.
Harrison is hoping to partner with companies who may have a higher need for the masks, such as nursing homes and other high-risk environments. “The masks aren’t quite hospital-grade, but they’re proven to be more effective than your standard homemade masks, so it would be a great fit for nursing homes.”
Harrison continues to work on both designing and making. She has created a catalog of new products for the Holiday season and is busy with design work for a wide variety of clients.