• Heather Bell

Crafting in the Age of Coronavirus

Updated: Feb 3

In the past few weeks, the Coronavirus Pandemic is forcing us to learn to live differently. We are trying our best not to panic, but that’s easier said than done when we watch other countries struggle to handle the crisis. One thing we know for sure is that we are all going to be spending a lot more time at home. As we find ways to entertain and distract ourselves, we offer the suggestion of handcrafts for all ages. You may think of clothespin dolls as more of a kid craft, but Mom and I have had even more fun as adults coming up with our designs. Today, I’m sharing with you our Vintage Nurse Doll (I’ll call her ‘Patience’) as we remember all the health professionals putting themselves on the front lines, working tirelessly to stop the spread of this disease. She is dressed to represent the women nurses in the early 1900’s. We looked at pictures from WW1 and the Spanish Flu Pandemic to design her uniform. It was surprising to see the variety of nurses caps. You see Patience here in front of the Quarantine Hospital at the old Columbia River Quarantine Station. This is where thousands of immigrants went through health inspection on the West Coast, so I’ve also included pictures of our Japanese lady and Chinese man with U.S. Public Health Service inspectors (click on arrows at the side of the picture to scroll through). We have a limited number of Victorian Nurse Dolls available and you can find our Japanese and Chinese Doll patterns in It's a Small World book. The Public Health Inspector could be made using the Salvation Army Man pattern in I Can't Believe That's a Clothespin! book.

You may know that our ‘Clothespin Museum’ is located at the old Columbia River Quarantine Station, a piece of family property on the National Historic Register. In order to save the Quarantine Hospital building from deteriorating, Mom (Nancy) began selling clothespin designs to craft magazines for the extra money needed for repairs and maintenance. That was a long time ago and since then we’ve created a non-profit organization which serves that purpose along with opening it to the Public as a free museum. We like to call it ‘the museum that clothespins built!’ Because of the medical history, we have a warm place in our hearts for public health professionals. We just had to make a clothespin nurse! If you find yourself near the mouth of the Columbia River, we’d love to see you at both the Quarantine Station Hospital www.knapptoncoveheritagecenter.org and the Clothespin Museum. However, check the website for hours, as we won’t open until it is safe to do so.

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