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0:32 - Background in art before the pandemic

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Partial Transcript: . . . Can you tell us a little bit about when you began to craft?

Segment Synopsis: Davis learned how to sew from her great-great-grandmother on a sewing machine. Davis also took home economics courses when she was in school, but did not return to sewing as an adult until she began mask making during the COVID-19 pandemic. Davis studied photography at Eastern Kentucky University and now works as a photographer specializing in portraiture. Davis became interested in photography as a child when she began to exhibit and win 4-H contests at local fairs in her hometown of Garrard County. Davis' preferred subjects are women artists and members of the LGBTQ+ community, but takes occasional side gigs in wedding photography to help make ends meet. Davis helped establish the Women's Art Collective of Kentucky while she was living in Lexington. Davis then moved to New Orleans and settled in Louisville four years ago.

Keywords: Art exhibits; County fairs; Family; Great-great-grandmother; LGBTQ; Women's Art Collective of Kentucky

Subjects: 4-H clubs; Art; Art schools; Careers; Childhood; Crafts & decorating; Eastern Kentucky University; Education--Higher; Garrard County (Ky.); Gender; Grandmothers; Home economics; Identity; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Lexington (Ky.); New Orleans (La.); Photography; Portraits; Quilting; Quilts; Sewing; Sewing machines; Wedding photography; Women; Women artists

3:36 - Learning about COVID-19 / impact of pandemic on life

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Partial Transcript: . . . How did you learn about COVID?

Segment Synopsis: Davis admits that she was initially unconcerned about COVID-19 because many other potential disease outbreaks had happened during her lifetime. Davis and her boyfriend decided not to cancel their planned trip to Seattle in early March of 2020. Upon returning from their trip, Davis began to worry more about COVID-19 at the urging of her friends. Subsequently, Davis and her boyfriend went to Costco and purchased items such as toilet paper and disinfecting wipes that would soon be unavailable due to global supply chain issues and unprecedented demand from consumers. When the lockdowns first began, Davis felt overwhelmed at the prospect of not being able to enjoy two of her favorite activities, traveling and attending concerts, due to social distancing measures and travel restrictions. During this time, Davis tried to keep her situation in perspective and was empathetic towards people and their loved ones who had contracted COVID-19. During the lockdown, Davis researched COVID-19 as best as she could with the limited amount of information available about the disease at the time. Davis and her boyfriend initially disinfected items coming into their home that could have possibly had COVID-19 particles (scientific knowledge at the time had not determined that fomite transmission was not a primary vector of COVID-19 spread.)

Keywords: Boyfriend; Clorox wipes; Disinfectants; Fomites; Friends; Germs; Isolation; Lockdowns; Shortages

Subjects: Concerts; COVID-19 (Disease); COVID-19 pandemic, 2020-; Empathy; Fear; Groceries; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Louisville (Ky.); Mail; Mental health; Perspective; Research; Sanitation; Seattle (Wash.); Social distancing; Toilet paper; Travel; Travel restrictions; Uncertainty

7:18 - Initial mask making

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Partial Transcript: So, when did you start thinking about masks?

Segment Synopsis: Davis began making masks in the late spring of 2020, when many businesses were bringing employees back to the office after working from home for several months due to social distancing measures. Davis got her fabric from Joann Fabrics and sourced the elastic and the nose pieces for her masks from Amazon. Davis had to refresh her sewing skills and got to work making masks from an online template design. Davis would make her masks in a C-shaped pattern and modified the size of the masks for each individual to maximize both comfort and protection for the mask wearer. Davis began to distribute masks to her friends and family but moved to providing masks for participants in the Black Lives Matter Movement protests in the summer of 2020.

Keywords: Cloth; Comfort; Fabric; Faces; Family; Jewelry wire; Joann Fabrics; Mask distribution; Materials; Modifications; Nose pieces; Patterns

Subjects: Black lives matter movement; COVID-19 (Disease); COVID-19 pandemic, 2020-; Design; Elastic; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Learning; Logistics; Louisville (Ky.); Mask making; Masks; Offices; Prices; Protection; Protests (Negotiable instruments); Safety; Selling; Sewing; Sewing machines; Social distancing; Work

10:41 - Participation in Breonna Taylor protests in Louisville

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Partial Transcript: . . . Can you talk a little bit about the protests--you're the first of our interviews to bring that up--.

Segment Synopsis: Initially, Davis was afraid to participate in the Black Lives Matter Movement protests in May and June of 2020 due to her concern over contracting COVID-19 from marching in the large crowds that the protests drew. After about three weeks into the movement, Davis decided that she needed to participate and stand up for her beliefs. Davis then began protesting at Jefferson Square Park in Louisville (colloquially renamed Injustice Square by protestors) seeking justice for Breonna Taylor (a Louisville woman who was ambushed and killed by police under the controversial practice of a no-knock warrant.) Davis describes her experiences at the protests as powerful and impactful. Davis was moved by the generosity of the protestors and their willingness to provide food, water and other supplies to anyone in need. Davis would bring masks she made adorned with slogans like "Justice for Breonna" and "black lives matter" to help protect her fellow protestors from the spread of COVID-19.

Keywords: Breonna Taylor; Injustice Square (Louisville, Ky.); Jefferson Square Park (Louisville, Ky.); Supplies; Unity

Subjects: Black lives matter movement; COVID-19 (Disease); COVID-19 pandemic, 2020-; Crowds; Danger; Fear; Food; Jefferson County (Ky.); Kindness; Louisville (Ky.); Mask making; Masks; Protests (Negotiable instruments); Social distancing; Social justice; Trauma

12:58 - Involvement with mask makers quilt / quilt square design

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Partial Transcript: How did you learn about the quilt?

Segment Synopsis: Davis says that she learned about about the Kentucky Mask Makers Quilt through her cousin on Facebook. Davis wanted to participate in making the quilt because she wanted to contribute to a larger project that would show her appreciation for Governor Beshear's hard work and leadership for Kentuckians during the pandemic. Davis created her quilt square using a template and the leftover fabric she had from making masks. Davis' quilt square consists of a homage to Governor Beshear and some "nasty woman" fabric" in order to, according to Davis, make her square have a bit more edge to it.

Keywords: Comfort; Cousin; Fabrics; Governor Beshear; Kentucky Mask Makers Quilt; Kentucky Mask Makers Quilt Group; Patterns; Quilt squares

Subjects: Caring; Communication; COVID-19 (Disease); COVID-19 pandemic, 2020-; Design; Dimensions; Facebook (Electronic resource); Fear; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Mask making; Masks; Press conferences; Quilting; Quilts; Sewing; Social media; State governments; Stress; Uncertainty

15:47 - Support of Governor Beshear / quilt square letter to Governor Beshear

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Partial Transcript: How did it feel, as you were putting it together?

Segment Synopsis: When making her quilt square, Davis focused on expressing her appreciation for Governor Beshear's work in protecting Kentuckians during the pandemic despite facing backlash and criticism from people opposed to COVID-19 mitigation measures. Davis believes that Governor Beshear was correct in issuing lockdown orders and other social distancing measures because it prevented massive waves of COVID-19 cases in underserved areas of the state. Davis adds that the state of Kentucky as a whole has poor health outcomes and the co-morbidities that many Kentuckians have increased the risk of widespread complications and deaths across the state prior to the development of the COVID-19 vaccine. Davis also watched Governor Beshear's COVID-19 press conferences and enjoyed making masks during the briefings as a de-stressor. In the letter that Davis sent to Governor Beshear along with her quilt square, she expressed her gratitude towards Governor Beshear's leadership during the pandemic and the positive impact that he has had on Kentuckians during such unprecedented times.

Keywords: Governor Beshear; Kentucky Mask Makers COVID Quilt; Kentucky Mask Makers Quilt Group; Lockdowns; Long COVID-19; Quilt squares

Subjects: Communities; COVID-19 (Disease); COVID-19 pandemic, 2020-; Emotions; Grateful; Health; Joy; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Letters; Press conferences; Pressure; Public health; Quilting; Quilts; Social distancing; State governments; Stress

19:14 - Significance in working on mask makers quilt / Kentucky Mask Makers Quilt Group today

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Partial Transcript: So, what was it like to be involved in this project and the community?

Segment Synopsis: Davis felt connected to the Appalachian traditions of using what materials you have and making hand-made items out of necessity through participating in the COVID quilt project. Davis also thought it was special that she had the opportunity to participate in a project in which the final product was a gift borne out of both compassion and hard work. Davis was thrilled to watch the COVID quilt ceremony on TV, especially when the camera zoomed on to her quilt square. Davis was proud of her work on the COVID quilt but had to keep a low profile concerning her involvement in the project until the quilt was presented at one of Governor Beshear's infamous COVID-19 press conferences. In terms of the quilters today, Davis says that the group is less active than earlier in the pandemic, but they regularly keep in touch through social media. Davis also mentions that she stopped making masks in the summer of 2020 once supply chain concerns with store-bought masks eased up a bit.

Keywords: Appalachia; COVID quilt ceremony; Fabric; Governor Beshear; Kentucky Mask Makers Quilt; Materials; Supply chains; Traditions; Unity

Subjects: Communication; Communities; COVID-19 (Disease); COVID-19 pandemic, 2020-; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Mask making; Masks; Press conferences; Sewing; Social media; Supply and demand

22:43 - Views on Team Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Can you define Team Kentucky for me?

Segment Synopsis: To Davis, the concept of Team Kentucky means that people come together for the greater good of society to do what is right. Davis believes that the COVID quilt brings positivity and uplifts Kentuckians to come together as Team Kentucky. Davis also wanted to spread positivity through giving Governor Beshear the COVID quilt as a token of the quilters' appreciation for his hard work on behalf of Kentuckians.

Keywords: Governor Beshear; Kentucky Mask Makers Quilt; Kentucky Mask Makers Quilt Group; Positivity; Team Kentucky; Unity

Subjects: Common good; Communities; COVID-19 (Disease); COVID-19 pandemic, 2020-; Joy; Quilting; Quilts; State governments

24:38 - Reflections on pandemic / volunteering at LouVax COVID-19 vaccination site

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Partial Transcript: So, two years after this started, how are you feeling?

Segment Synopsis: Davis now feels optimistic and hopeful about the pandemic, particularly that life can return to some semblance of pre-pandemic normalcy. Davis volunteered at a LouVax vaccination site at Broadbent Arena in Louisville during the winter of 2021. Davis recalls that when the vaccination site opened in January 2021, all of the patients' paperwork had to be filled out by hand. Davis' primary responsibilities as a volunteer were to verify if the patients were eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine (eligibility requirements depended on several factors, including age, occupation, and underlying health conditions.) Davis shares that the most difficult part of volunteering at the vaccination site was when she had to turn away patients who were not eligible for the vaccine yet. Davis was able to get her COVID-19 vaccine since she was a volunteer, but decided to stop volunteering after a month and a half so that others could have the opportunity to be vaccinated through this avenue. Davis says that the pandemic has caused her to reflect on her upbringing and she now tries to relearn certain topics that she was not exposed to as a child. The tedium of the pandemic motivated Davis to use her newfound free time productively by learning about new topics.

Keywords: Broadbent Arena (Louisville, Ky.); Government ID; LouVax

Subjects: COVID-19 (Disease); COVID-19 pandemic, 2020-; COVID-19 vaccines; Drivers' licenses; Hope; Jefferson County (Ky.); Kentuckians; Kentucky; Louisville (Ky.); Music festivals; Optimism; Quilting; Quilts; Volunteerism; Volunteers


Mandy Higgins 0:01 Awesome. It is Tuesday, May 31st, and we are at the Kentucky Historical Society. Mandy Higgins conducting a mask makers quilt interview with Skylar Davis, if you can just quickly say and spell your name.

Skylar Davis 0:17 Yeah,

Mandy Higgins 0:17 So we can get it right.

Skylar Davis 0:18 it Skyler, S .K .Y. L. A. R, and then Davis. D. A. V. I. S.

Mandy Higgins 0:23 Awesome. Well, thank you for coming up to Frankfort today and for chatting with us. We'd like to start with just a little sort of background question. Can you tell us a little bit about when you began to sew or craft?

Skylar Davis 0:34 Yeah, so my great-great-grandmother, we called her Nanny. When she was alive, she quilted until the day she died. And I was fortunate enough to know her very well. And she taught me how to sew with her scraps when I was a kid. So, I would pick that up and then through hom ec. [home economics] But then I like got it back when I was an adult and the pandemic hit and I wanted to help people. So I started sewing again.

Awesome. And did you--what did you sort of make before you picked--you said that you didn't--hmm-back up--I'm having a hard time with the words all of a sudden. [laughter] What kinds of things did you make before 2020?

Okay, so I'm a photographer primarily. And I went to EKU [Eastern Kentucky University] for art school. So really, I would just do, I wouldn't do many sewing projects, per se, but it was more just fine art and things like that.

Mandy Higgins 1:27 Yeah, would you--where did you pick up photography?

Skylar Davis 1:30 So, my granny actually was a photographer. And so, I lived--I'm from Garrard County, and there's not a lot going on. So, every summer I would do the 4-H competitions at the fair. And I was like, wow, I'm decent, I'm getting some blue ribbons here. So, I decided in high school that I was gonna pursue photography. And so I went to EKU for that.

Mandy Higgins 1:52 Do you do a specific kind of photography?

Skylar Davis 1:54 Yes, I focus on portraiture. So, I do a lot of like weddings and things to kind of like make up financially. But, I've mainly focus[ed] on fine art work that centers around uplifting women and the LGBTQ community of Kentucky.

Mandy Higgins 2:09 Incredible. Before 2020, or before the pandemic, were you involved in arts groups or craft groups?

Skylar Davis 2:16 Umhmm. Yeah, so I lived in Lexington for a while and was pretty involved in the art scene there. And I actually helped found a women's art collective of Kentucky, which ran for about two years, and then I decided to move to New Orleans. So, I kind of put that on the shelf for a while. But, we had exhibits that featured women artists, and that included anyone who identified as women or gender non-conforming. That way like we could help represent their work more because it is underrepresented.

Yeah. When did you come back from New Orleans?

I think four years ago. [laughter]

Okay. So you were in Kentucky at the start of the pandemic, again?


Mandy Higgins 2:59 Okay. And did you come back to Lexington or Garrard County?

Skylar Davis 3:03 I went to Louisville.

Mandy Higgins 3:04 Okay.

Skylar Davis 3:04 Yeah.

Mandy Higgins 3:05 And is that where you reside now?

Skylar Davis 3:06 Umhmm.

Mandy Higgins 3:06 Okay.

Skylar Davis 3:07 But my square represents Garrard County because, I wanted to represent home. [laughing]

Mandy Higgins 3:15 --How involved were you out--so you founded the women's collective? Are you currently involved in craft groups or--fine art groups?

Skylar Davis 3:24 --Not as much here recently, like, I run social media and do a bunch of other things. So, I don't have as much time to focus on that.

How did you--switching gears a little bit, how did you learn about COVID?

Oh--so ironically enough, I [laughing] did stop me and my boyfriend, planned a trip to Seattle right at the beginning, because, I'll be honest, I feel like throughout my lifetime, there's been a lot of like scares of different viruses and things going around. So like, we didn't really think it was like serious. So when we saw those stories, we were just like, well, with travel still open, it'll be fine. And so, we went to Seattle, probably like, we got back maybe a week before lockdown. And my friends kind of informed us how serious it was there were like, you couldn't find toilet paper or like wipes that could sanitize and things. So, I feel like about two weeks before lockdown was when I was like, okay, this is actually something that's like serious, serious. So. [laughing]

Mandy Higgins 4:29 when you came back, did you can't--come back and prep. Did you--how did that influence your--

Skylar Davis 4:35 Yeah, I definitely got--I didn't like hoard resources, but we definitely got enough toilet paper to last us at least like a month, so it was probably like two big packs at Costco and then some--probably like six sanitation like Clorox wipes things. But, we didn't really like prep food or anything like that. It was more just we thought that would be the like hard things to find.

Mandy Higgins 4:57 Yeah. [laughter] I remember!

Skylar Davis 4:59 Yeah.

Mandy Higgins 5:01 So, take me back to that March, like locked down 2020 feel, how were you feeling what was going through your mind?

Skylar Davis 5:08 Um, I was extremely overwhelmed. Because, I've been privileged in the last like, four years, traveling has been a huge part of my life and my boyfriend travels for work. So, I get to go with him and realizing that the things that we love the most like concerts and traveling is ending was really, it was hard. I think I'm like such an empath. So I think that like, watching other people go through it and have to have COVID or have loved ones that had COVID, that was more hurtful to me than like, me focusing on myself through it. I just kind of tried to, like help others through the whole thing and, like, lessen my impact, I guess [laughing], like on myself. [laughing]

Mandy Higgins 5:55 So, you couldn't travel, you couldn't--music--that was for me, too.

Skylar Davis 5:59 Yeah.

Mandy Higgins 6:01 What about learning about the virus? How was that?

Skylar Davis 6:04 --I was probably like, a little extra and [laughing] really did try to do a ton of research, which no one knew anything. So, I think I just scared myself. And I took it extremely seriously. We didn't go anywhere, we didn't see any friends or anything like that, really. So, yeah, just like, trying to understand something that no one understands was really hard. And I [that] was probably not great on my mental health, doing as much citizen research [laughing] as like I did! [laughing]

Mandy Higgins 6:37 Did you go to some of the ex--what we now think maybe was a little extreme with your research with the--how you brought that into your, your day to day?

Skylar Davis 6:50 Yeah, so we--only me and my roommate, because--my best friend lived with us at the time. Only him and me would go to the grocery and we would sanitize all of our grocery [groceries] we would clor--like or like Lysol wipe our mail. We went--we did a lot of extra steps that I mean, it was kind of suggested online, but was probably like, now looking back, a little much. [laughter]

Mandy Higgins 7:17 But you were keeping yourself safe.

Skylar Davis 7:18 Yeah. [laughing]

Mandy Higgins 7:20 So, when did you start thinking about masks?

Skylar Davis 7:23 Um, so honestly, when the--realization that people have to go to work and still be in [the] office and not be--not have access to mask at all, was something that made me realize I needed to start making them. And also, so many people, me included, I didn't go and see my family because we didn't have masks. So, I felt like I was putting them in danger by going to see them. So, I found what fabric I could at Joann's [Joann Fabrics], which was like, really awful, printed stuff. [laughing] But, I tried to like, like, make it you know, kind of like the people's personalities. Um--so I've, I'm trying to even think when that was, it was pretty--it was pretty early on, like when people started like, it kind of opened up a little bit. And so I was like, okay, I need to actually help people.

Mandy Higgins 8:13 Yeah, how did you figure out how to make a mask?

Skylar Davis 8:17 I just found a template online. And I had to like refresh myself on using a sewing machine because, I know how to hand sew but, using a machine I hadn't done since like high school. So that was probably like uh--sixteen years ago.

Mandy Higgins 8:30 Did you--how have you--how did you like source what the other pieces of the mask--so you got your fabric from Joann What about the other?

Skylar Davis 8:42 I think Amazon, I was able to find the elastic, but it wasn't like the best elastic, but it was what I could get until things became more available. And then I used jewelry wire that was still somehow on the shelf for the nose pieces. And I think that was yeah, I just did two pieces of cloth, I didn't have a filter or anything.

Mandy Higgins 9:03 Did you make any changes to the patterns you found, or how did you sort of improve your masks as you went along?

Skylar Davis 9:10 Yeah, the--the pattern pretty much stayed the same, I did a basic I don't know, it's kind of like a C-shape. And so, it's like kind of higher up on your nose and then curves down. I didn't do the flat like rectangular ones. So, I feel like those fit everyone pretty well. And then I always made two sizes. So, like if someone needed a bigger one or like the quote unquote women's size was a little smaller so it could help like teens to smaller people. But yeah, I did improve like the nosepiece, like the metal wire was, you know, it would like poke through the fabric, [laughing] it was not comfortable for people, but I tried my best. [laughing]

Mandy Higgins 9:49 Did you only make for people you knew or how did you distribute?

Skylar Davis 9:52 So I started out with like the core group of my family and friends and then, I live in Louisville and when the marches started, I started making just as many masks as I could with my scrap fabric and just pass them out to protesters if they needed them. Because, I wanted everyone to stay safe, but also like, stand up for what was happening, so that--I probably made at least two hundred for those events, and then, I started selling them, just so I could cover my time because, I was sitting at a machine all day, every day for months. So, I designed an Andy fabric, and the cost of that was pretty high. So, I sold those masks to kind of compensate for the cost of everything.

Mandy Higgins 10:40 Yeah, can you talk a little bit about the protests that--you're the first of our interviews to bring that up?

Skylar Davis 10:44 Oh, yeah.

Mandy Higgins 10:44 So these are the protests in the wake of the murder of Breonna Taylor?

Skylar Davis 10:49 Yes.

Mandy Higgins 10:49 Yeah, tell me a little bit about those events and masks and--

Skylar Davis 10:52 Yeah. So--at first, I was really scared because of COVID. And so, I wasn't a participant, but after the first like three weeks, it--I just couldn't sit at home anymore. And I had to stand up for what I believe is right, and for Breonna, and so, yeah, we started out going to the Injustice square, [Jefferson Square Park in Louisville] is what we renamed it, and it became--sorry, not to like cry, but it became like a hub of like, this really beautiful space. And like, I know, like the law probably didn't like it, but people camped there, and like, if you needed anything, you needed food, you needed water you needed like, whatever, like somebody was there to give it to you. And it was like, one of the most beautiful experiences of my life, but also, through the months, probably one of the most traumatic. [laughing] But, yeah, it was--it was a lot. And I learned a lot and--but, I would do it all over again. [laughing]

Yeah, and so, you brought--thank you for sharing that.

Sorry. [laughing]

Mandy Higgins 11:33 No, do not apologize, it's appropriate. You brought masks to those events as well?

Skylar Davis 12:07 Yes. Because they're, you know, it was hard to get them and though--like the disposable ones were becoming easier to get, it was still hard. And I didn't want people to get sick and then not be able to come back or I didn't want people to get sick at all.

Mandy Higgins 12:23 Yeah.

Skylar Davis 12:23 So, that was my like, way of trying to help as much as I could.

Mandy Higgins 12:27 Did you have specialty [especially] designed masks for those, or was it mostly leftover fabric? How did you--?

Skylar Davis 12:34 I had a bunch of white fabric, so the first set I did--it was before I started actually marching and being present downtown, I had white fabric and I would just like paint like "BLM" or "Black Lives Matter", "Justice for Breonna." So, like it was maybe an incentive to also wear it as like a design for it.

Mandy Higgins 13:00 How did you learn about the quilt?

Skylar Davis 13:03 Um--I was on Facebook--and I don't know if someon--it might have been my cousin Shawna, tagged me in it. And I was like, I have to be a part of this because, I have--at this point, there was a website that artists designed fabric, and then you could order it and they were--it would take a while but like at least I could get stuff that matched people's personalities. So, I got a bunch of cool different fabric. And honestly, like [Andy] Beshear meant so much that he like cared about, I feel like he honestly cared about everyone. And watching him every day just bre--brought so much hope and like peace--in a time that was so stressful. And I wanted to give back to him and show him like how much he meant to all of us. And also say like, I was a part of this, I gave up a huge part of my life to make these masks and like be a part of a larger project.

Yeah, so did you have a role beyond making your square, or how did you--how did you interact in the group?

Um, well, we always would, we'd all talk to each other, and we would help source stuff for each other. And then, I did--I think I brought on at least two other people to be a part of it. But, beyond that, the leaders of the group did such a great job, like organizing it, telling us exactly how to make it, where to ship it and so like, they did a lot of the work which was hard, I'm sure. [laughing]

Mandy Higgins 14:38 Tell me about your process.

Skylar Davis 14:39 Oh, um, so they sent us like the dimensions and so, I just take paper and make little--I forget what they're called now sorry, my mind, but I make like a template. And then, I would just cut that out and then sew the squares together. It was a super easy pattern. So, it was simple. And I had a lot of extra fabric because, the C-shape design left a lot of space. So, I was able to pull from literal scraps that I use, not even just like extra fabric.

Mandy Higgins 15:10 Yeah, can you describe your square for us?

Unknown Speaker 15:12 Yeah. So, I designed this like art piece about Andy Beshear. And I made fabric from it, like I said earlier. So, my piece includes that, I have some "nasty woman"fabric. [laughing] I wanted to add some edge to the quilt. [laughing] And some--I think the other--I did some solid color, so it wouldn't be too much. And I can't honestly remember the rest of it, it's been so long since I've seen it.

Mandy Higgins 15:41 How did it feel as you were putting it together?

Skylar Davis 15:43 It felt empowering. And I was just glad to be part of like this larger project that would hopefully bring joy--bring as--hopefully as much joy to Andy and the state as it--like he brought to me so.

Mandy Higgins 15:55 Yeah, can you tell me a little bit more about that? The joy that watching Beshear brought for you?

Skylar Davis 16:00 Yeah, sorry, I probably should call him by his formal name. [laughter] Governor Beshear, we're on a first name basis, okay? [laughter] Governor Beshear really, I think helped calm a lot like--calm my nerves and took a hard stance, like first, I guess I wanna say like, I can't even imagine what it was like to be in that position. And to have so many people go from let's support everyone to being, in my opinion, extremely selfish. And for him to have to take the brunt of that and everything that got thrown his way is insane. And I hate that he had to go through that. But, I'm just so thankful that he stood up for what he believed was right, and what Kentucky needed to help keep people alive because, like, we are not a healthy state by any means. And it could have wiped so many communities, like out--not out, but, like could have killed a lot more people than it did, if he didn't do what--the measures that he took. So, I'm really thankful for that. And just seeing like, just the little jokes or you know, along that like kept trend--like, you know, a trend, and we would keep going or like, even just seeing people's pictures that they would pick to put up every day was really nice. And it would inspire, I think it inspired people to like, want to go out in their community and maybe do some chalk art or, you know to help--how can you help people feel a little better today? I think that kind of helped too.

Mandy Higgins 17:28 And what did you--so you watched his pressors and those sorts of things. Were you also selling, were you working during that time?

Skylar Davis 17:36 Yeah. So, it started out--it was like this thing that me and my best friend did because we were going stir crazy. [laughing] And--we [were] just sort of those people, like we wanna know what's going on. So, it started out, maybe we'd have like a cocktail and like relax and watch Andy for the day. But, as time got busier, I was sewing and watching it as in like trying to get as many masks done as I could. And so it was something to help kind of like fill the time of that.

Mandy Higgins 18:02 Yeah. Did you write a note when you sent your--your square in?

Skylar Davis 18:09 Um, I don't think that I did, but I sent him a mask of the fabric that I made. And Britainy, Mrs. Beshear wore it on like several occasions, and they posted on social media. So, that was fun. [laughing]

Mandy Higgins 18:24 Yeah. When you sent that mask did you include a note?

Skylar Davis 18:27 Umhmm.

Mandy Higgins 18:28 If you're willing, can you give us like a 5000 feet view [laughter] of what that note included?

Skylar Davis 18:33 Yeah. Oh, I think I just thanked him for everything that he was doing. And honestly, I knew that he wouldn't wear the mask. [laughing] Well, I hoped that it would just make him laugh because it was so funny and ridiculous. But yeah, I think I would--I just spent the note like thanking him and like telling him the impact that he had on people.

Mandy Higgins 18:51 Did you send masks to any other state officials or folks who are on the--

Skylar Davis 18:57 No. [laughter] There's not many that I like. [laughing] No, I'm kidding. [laughter]

Mandy Higgins 19:04 I get it. [laughter] So, what was it like to be involved in this project and the community?

Skylar Davis 19:11 I think--it was really inspiring. And I don't think that I realized how much of like a cultural impact it would be. Like, I'm from Appalachia, and what drawn--drew me to this project was doing something that women throughout history and in Appalachia and Kentucky have done, which is like quilt out of necessity, like you made a quilt to keep someone warm and like you use potato sacks, crab (??) dresses, like whatever you had. And so like, bringing the history of that back into like today, even though it was just a gift, like using the scraps from something that we all spent so much of our time doing and trying to help people like it was really, I think way more meaningful than I thought it would be.

Mandy Higgins 19:56 Yeah. What was it like to see it, when it was on the press conference?

Skylar Davis 20:01 Yeah, it wa--I didn't know that they were going to display it and like talk about it. So, it was really awesome. And I was excited to hear them talking about it and like, zoom in and see my square and like stuff. [laughing]

Mandy Higgins 20:15 Did it--did other folks know you were involved?

Skylar Davis 20:17 Umhmm. Yeah. So I--well, we couldn't really talk about it too much, because they wanted to kind of keep it like, not a secret, but just kind of like under wraps about what was going on. And I think only so many people could go drop the quilt off because it was still not very, like safe with COVID and stuff. So they were just we--I don't know if they even knew it was gonna be on the--I don't think they knew it was gonna be on the presser. So, once it was like released released, then we could like share it out and stuff.

And how did your friends who weren't involved in the quilt react to [it]?

Um, I think they were really excited and thought it was cool that I like went above and beyond to do something different and like, be a part of a cool project.

Mandy Higgins 21:03 Ha--how's the community continued to support each other or to work together?

Skylar Davis 21:07 Um, that's hard. I feel like that--or like the quilting community?

Mandy Higgins 21:13 Yeah.

Skylar Davis 21:13 Oh.

Mandy Higgins 21:13 Yeah.

Skylar Davis 21:13 Sorry, yeah. [laughter] No, it's kind of quieted down. Like we're not as talkative as we were at the beginning. But, they'll definitely keep us updated. Like, even with this project, they were like, hey, if you my--friend Shana actually was the one who told some of us and was like, if you wanna be a part of it, like, let me know. And so, I think when it like comes down to like, bigger projects, or like raising awareness, and we still kind of talk, but it's not as chatty since we can, like, get the things that we need, and we're not having to make masks anymore, so.

Mandy Higgins 21:43 Yeah, can you tell me a little bit about when you quit making masks?

Skylar Davis 21:47 Yeah. So, I think honestly, I got so involved with the protests in Louisville that I just didn't really have time to and I mean, like, I don't, I feel like I sew--I made over 1,000 masks, so that was just a lot of time sitting and I think that I got to like a breaking point of being burnt out and needed a break. And everyone I knew at that point, had a mask and had plenty of them. So, I was like, okay, I don't have to do this anymore. [laughing]

Mandy Higgins 22:17 So, probably early, you know, through the summer of '20?

Skylar Davis 22:21 Yeah.

Mandy Higgins 22:22 Yeah.

Skylar Davis 22:22 I would say by July, I probably wasn't making as many.

Mandy Higgins 22:28 Yeah, can you--so this is a [laughter]--there's no solid transition for this one, I apologize. [laughter] Can you define team Kentucky for me?

Skylar Davis 22:44 Ooh, okay. I think team Kentucky is going beyond yourself and going beyond what maybe you believe and doing what's right for everyone, like helping if it's not convenient, like whatever it is, like thinking beyond yourself to help the greater good of our state.

Mandy Higgins 23:07 And how does the quilt and your work contribute to Team Kentucky?

Skylar Davis 23:11 --Um--I think the quilt as a whole was something to bring some sort of like positive energy or like positive viewpoint into the world and so, I think even if you just make someone smile for the day, that's like being part of Team Kentucky because, you know, you can just live life you know, with your head down or thinking about how bad everything is, but if you just even like give someone a smile, then that's, you know, making some sort of impact. So, I think the quilt was just like, a way of bringing more positivity into the state.

Mandy Higgins 23:50 Did you all talk--did you have a--when you were putting this together, did you have that sort of conversation about it?

Skylar Davis 23:56 --Um--yeah, like it was--we knew that it was supposed to be uplifting and some--just a gift, like we saw every--all of us watched everyday. And so, we saw the chats, we saw everything that was said and the good, the awful, the threats, anything in between, and we just wanted him--we just wanted Governor Beshear to know like, we're thinking of you, in a way it's like--kind of like a warm hug, like the quilt is. [laughing] And just like, we just wanted to make something that would bring joy, I guess. Sorry, I forgot the question. [laughter]

No, that was great. Um--so two years after this started, how are you feeling?

--Let's see--I feel hopeful. I just went to a music festival. [laughing] And I know that things are not perfect and we still have to make sacrifices and be careful. But, I'm feeling extremely hopeful. I think--I also volunteered for the vaccine in Louisville, like it was--LouVax was huge. So, I remember driving in and seeing lines of cars. And I would--like, honestly, I just cried because, I was [laughing] just like, this is the beginning of hopefully the end of this phase in everyone's life. And it just gave me so much hope. And I'm feeling that again, like we're getting back to normal, we can see friends and do things, and so, I feel helpful. [laughing]

Mandy Higgins 25:25 We--tell me a little bit about volunteering with LouVax.

Skylar Davis 25:27 Yeah. So, it was insane. I had started in January, like I think it was the second day or third day that it was open. And it was in the winter, and so we were all--I was outside and doing like screening, because you have to ask a ton of questions to see if they were eligible. And so, you just get bundled up and help people fill out paperwork. At the very beginning, it was like you--they hand wrote everything, and we filed it, we had to check IDs. And by the end of it, they had, you know where you could fill out all the paperwork online beforehand, and like, it just evolved. But, I think they were just like, we have to get [it] now, we have to get these vaccines out as fast as possible. [laughing]

Mandy Higgins 26:08 Yeah.

Skylar Davis 26:08 But, everyone was so helpful and welcoming. I think the hardest part was like having to tell people they're not eligible, even though they really wanted it. That was probably the hardest part. But--because at the beginning, we only had so many.

Mandy Higgins 26:23 And how long did you volunteer for?

Skylar Davis 26:25 So I volunteered untilI-- volunteered for a month and a half, I think I had to get forty hours I think to get my own vaccine. But at that point, so many people were wanting to volunteer to get their vaccine. But, if I continued to volunteer, I was hindering other people from getting theirs early. And so, I just stepped back from volunteering so more people could do it. But, whenever they asked or like needed help, I would sign up.

Mandy Higgins 26:53 And--so you did that to get your--to get it through.

Skylar Davis 26:56 Yeah.

Mandy Higgins 26:56 Okay. And where did you--where was this at?

Skylar Davis 26:59 At Broadbent [Broadbent Arena] in Louisville.

Mandy Higgins 27:01 Oh. Great. I think I'm--hmm---sorry. [laughter]

Skylar Davis 27:10 No, you're fine!

Unknown Speaker 27:10 [laughing] My br--like one p.m.--right.

Skylar Davis 27:13 Oh, yeah [laughing]

Mandy Higgins 27:19 Is there any other like feeling or emotion or piece that you would use to describe the--the pandemic time and your work on the quilt, those sorts of things?

Skylar Davis 27:30 Um--I feel yes, working on marking [working] on masks in general was a time for, for me educating myself on a lot of things that I needed to educate myself on. Even though I feel like I try to live my life in a more like progressive realm. I mean, honestly, like, my school, didn't teach a lot of things. So, I had to go back and relearn and like, work, it was a work on myself process. But, it also gave so much of myself away that I think in a sense, I like lost a piece of myself. [laughing] And so yeah, I think the pandemic and it was just a learning, I think I just burned out of--because I couldn't just sit there, I couldn't just watch TV all day or like--a lot of people drink, like I couldn't do that, I had to like be helping in some sort of way. And so I think that I, which a lot of people I feel like are just kind of like burnt out, but that's why I'm hopeful because we're starting [laughing] to be able to like, find happiness and things again.

Mandy Higgins 28:37 Yeah. Thank you.

Skylar Davis 28:38 You're welcome. Hopefully that was okay. [laughing]

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