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Candace Longjohn-Constant


Artist Statement

Working on masks has been keeping my busy during these covid times, making masks has settled my mind. I’m a mom of 6, most of my children have grown, my youngest child just turned 12 and my eldest 26. So really can’t call them children, but I do. We’ve always been a single income Family of 8. Three of our boys (20, 15 and 13) all are on the spectrum of autism. Everyday there is a milestone to be celebrated from the simplest of tasks to the millionth time we’ve heard “Pixar No DreamWorks” types of repeated lines. It’s comforting having a routine with them, it’s been a breeze staying home with them because we already are self isolated. They don’t mind but I do, so I occupy my home time on the best of times with so many hobbies, and I encourage the boys to keep on trying new things through my hobbies, I’ve done custom cakes, beading, sewing, rabbit sharing to name a few, but covid offered a new way for me to help them connect with the world. through social distancing via masks. My second eldest daughter and our family made cloth to 200 masks for the Saskatoon Lighthouse, that was great team work! Then this opportunity came along and I actually made maybe 11 different masks. I wanted to encapsulate the work of connecting with the culture via iron on images my drawings with fabric paint and appliqué mixed with beadwork, there was something about those pieces that just didn’t fit. Then I thought heck, I’m here in my house and I see my late capan (great grandmothers photo) I took home from my high school classroom because on that day we were all told to go home I couldn’t bare to leave her photo, her awesomeness in that empty building, so I took her home and have her in my makeshift private office (the back mud room) where me and my sons built t-shelves for all my work items. Anyway I was sitting there safe in my home and knowing I have these skills attained as a child by my capan and I hadn’t used them, I began doodling a flower.., my go to is usually a prairie lily because my youngest is named Prairie, but my doodle was a bit more, I thought of all the colours I wanted to portray and why I used them.
- blue for autism awareness, and for the #differentnotless, so much of my mask design includes compliments of my sons, who by routine will say “mom I see you are working so hard” or “good job!“ and usually only interrupt me if they want permission to have Pepsi or to show me how cute our 8 year old cat is for the billionth time and blue also because it represents water, water cleanses is, it is purity, it’s what we need to use to wash our hands with and to drink often to fight this virus

Red- I chose red because to me it represents the resilience of women, of the grand mothers, mothers, daughters Who have helped shape us, teach us our ways and remind us of our gentleness when we are front line workers in our own homes and usually extend our helping hands further then our curbs Yellow was chosen because the sun rises in the east. It’s a reminder that tomorrow isn’t promised but the gift the day brings we should make good use of it for Everyone and be thankful for another day go teach and care for others Green is for our earth, to show us that we must treat the earth respectfully and to reconnect as much as possible; Pink because I like colours, and just had to use those beads haha. And lastly white, it is a reminder that we have an almighty Creator, the colour reminds us to pray, just pray in thanks and hope for our families Anyways that’s why I chose those colours and I appreciated the time my children watched my work, the leathers used are commercial hide and worn buckskin type hide. The mask is usable; it has two layers of interfacing with a floral Cotton backing with a functional pocket where you can add a paper towel. Usually I put a nose wire but this one didn’t need it. It has a beaded edge that matches my three daughters’ leggings they had as children.

Another reason I designed it the way I did was, I wanted to fashion as a crown, I like wearing my masks on my head when I can, and this one sort of looks like a crown a princess would earn at a POW wow, kind of cool ...

A lot of love and care of my family supporting me make it went into this mask and I love them for it, kinâskomitin hiy hiy thank you for reading

Candace Longjohn-Constant Resilience
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