Artisan’s Community Coronavirus Response

“Artists Put their Skills to Work Making PPE for Local Front-line Medical Workers”
Read the full story here.

On June 8, members Jay Pastry Queen and Nik Lal were interviewed by Arun Rath about their experience making PPE over. Listen to their stories here.

Latest Update

On June 1, Artisan’s moved our gown making effort to Allston. In partnership with, Harvard University, the City of Boston and a growing list of partners we’ll manage the production of 30,000 protective gowns for local and national distribution.

To accommodate a phased re-opening to members, other PPE production efforts have been scaled back or wound down.

Our Activities and Impact

On March 23, the Asylum shuttered our doors to member-related and public activities. This has been incredibly difficult – as a people-centered community and as a business, the impact is as broad as it is deep. What has kept us going are efforts led by a handful of members to produce Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that fills gaps in local supplies.

Over the last 75 days:

At the height of the pandemic, we had four PPE production teams hard at work:

  1. 1. Disposable face shields
  2. 2. Reusable face shields
  3. 3. Isolation gowns
  4. 4. Surgical masks

1. Disposable and Reusable Face Shield Teams

We’ve connected with communities of like-minded innovators across Boston, throughout New England, and around the world. We’ve learned an incredible amount as a community, and at this point have narrowed our direct response to the production of three essential products: face shields, face masks, and hospital gowns.

To carry out this work we are working closely with local healthcare providers, collaborative networks in the greater Boston region, and one another.

The laser cut shield mount meets local standards and can be produced 100 times faster than 3D printed designs. It has the added benefit of using sterilizable materials. Image courtesy: Nik L.

2. Disposable Face Mask Team

The disposable face mask team has designed a line of tools that can pleat and join hundreds of surgical masks per hour. This includes heat sealing seams, attachment of flexible nose clasp, and attachment of behind-the-ear straps.

In addition to producing the face masks, the team is making its tooling files available and producing tooling assemblies at cost for others who would like to manufacture masks.

Want to produce masks in your community? Contribute to Tim’s open source project here.

The pleating tool assembly can produce 100’s of pleated masks per hour; additional tooling makes it possible to seal seams and efficiently attach additional parts. Want to produce masks in your community? Contribute to Tim’s open source project here. Image courtesy: Tim B.

3. Disposable Hospital Gown Team

The isolation gown team has produced a universal polypropylene gown design approved by several local hospitals. The Center for Bits and Atoms at MIT has provided a disused ultrasonic bonder which Asylum members repaired. We are in production of about 1,000 gowns per week and working with a range of sources to establish a reliable supply chain. With support from CBA we are exploring ways to die cut gowns and scale up production.

Artisan’s fiber arts team has produced a universal gown design that can be easily mass produced using manual and automated methods. Image courtesy: Alex C.

Artisan’s PPE Work Featured Early in the Boston Herald

Our work is made possible through many individual donations and the support of our partners