Avoyelles Parish woman sewing special ‘smile masks'

Avoyelles Parish woman sewing special ‘smile masks'
The smile masks come in both kids and adult sizes, and a variety of patterns.(KALB) (Source: KALB)

EFFIE, La. (KALB) - Wearing a face mask every day is something we’re all getting used to, but for those who need to be able to see a person’s facial expressions or lips - mask-wearing brings up an entirely new challenge in an already challenging world for some.

Effie physician’s assistant Marjorie Shanks began sewing her “MaskBrite Smile Masks” back in April. The special masks have clear, plastic windows so that the mask wearers mouth is visible to others. “People couldn’t see half their face and we take visual cues from people’s smiles and so on,” says Shanks.

Marjorie Shanks sells the smile masks in her Etsy shop called Vintage Southern Art.(KALB)
Marjorie Shanks sells the smile masks in her Etsy shop called Vintage Southern Art.(KALB) (Source: KALB)

Her customers range from teachers to speech therapists, and those who work with the hard of hearing. “We’ve had several people who were music teachers and we’ve had people who were foreign language teachers, French for example, and they wanted their students to see how they form that sound with their mouth.”

So far Shanks has received orders in her Etsy shop from around the country, and even as far away as England and Ireland. Shanks says she’s happy to be helping people be able to see the smile on others’ faces during this global pandemic.

“The regular masks put a barrier for them. Which a barrier is good and bad. The barrier is good if you want to keep a virus away from your respiratory system, but it’s bad when it makes a communication barrier before either family members, loved ones, or in the workplace,” adds Shanks.

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