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

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)

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

North Surrey Minor Football players in action. The club is among Surrey-area recipients of the B.C. government’s Local Sport Relief Fund. (File photo)
COVID ‘relief’ funding for some sports groups in Surrey, White Rock, Delta

‘Without financial support, these clubs are at risk of closure,’ says B.C. government

Construction on the main foyer at the soon-to-be opened Clayton Community Centre. (Photo courtesy of HCMA Architecture + Design)
Clayton Community Centre opening delayed again

City says Provincial Health Order reason for latest delay

Protesters gather on Surrey residential street. (File photo, submitted)
UPDATE: Besieged Surrey neighbourhood liberated from marathon protest

Residents glad protesters have moved on but worried they might return

The City of Surrey is seeking public input on its walking routes, including Semiahmoo Trail. (Tracy Holmes photo)
Surrey seeks input from seniors on city’s walking routes

Online survey is part of city’s Age Friendly Strategy

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

The top part of the fossil burrow, seen from the side, with feathery lines from the disturbance of the soil – thought to be caused by the worm pulling prey into the burrow. (Paleoenvironntal Sediment Laboratory/National Taiwan University)
PHOTOS: SFU researchers find evidence of ‘giant’ predatory worms on ocean floor

Fossils found the prove the existence of an ancient Taiwanese worm as long as two metres

RCMP officers provide policing for 63 B.C. municipalities under a provincial formula based on population. (Black Press file photo)
B.C. communities warned of upcoming RCMP unionization costs

Starting salaries for city police officers are 30% higher

(Pxhere)
B.C. nurse suspended after using Tensor bandage to trap long-term care patient in room

Susan Malloch voluntarily agreed to a three-day suspension of her certificate of registration

Abbotsford’s Skully White (left), who donated his kidney in December, has started a campaign to find other recipients and donors. The first candidate is retired police officer Gavin Quon. White owns and operates a hotdog stand, Lullys Food Experience, out of the Abbotsford Canadian Tire parking lot. (Facebook photo)
After donating his kidney, Abbotsford hotdog king starts donor campaign

Skully White donated his kidney to customer Tim Hiscock in December

Toronto-based director Michelle Latimer was recently scrutinized after years of claiming she was of Algonquin and Metis descent. (CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young)
Haida activist calls for hefty fines, jail time against those who claim to be Indigenous

Filmmaker Tamara Bell proposing the Indigenous Identity Act – to dissuade ‘Indigenous identity theft’

(File)
Man allegedly bites Vancouver cop during arrest for outstanding warrant

The officer was treated in hospital for the bite wounds

(File Photo)
Interior Health says COVID positivity rates in Fernie area actually 10-12%

IH say the rates are not as high as previously claimed by the region’s top doctor

Black bear cubs Athena and Jordan look on from their enclosure at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Association in Errington, B.C., on July 8, 2015. Conservation Officer Bryce Casavant won the hearts of animal lovers when he opted not to shoot the baby bears in July after their mother was destroyed for repeatedly raiding homes near Port Hardy, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Supreme Court quashes review of B.C. conservation officer who refused to euthanize bears

Bryce Casavant was dismissed from his job for choosing not to shoot the cubs in 2015

Most Read