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Photographer Fine Tunes Newfound Sewing Skills
Photographer Tyler O’Neill working in his Oakdale home on his recently acquired hobby of mask making. O’Neill produced a tutorial video which resulted in multiple mask sales as people look for ways to increase their personal safety during the coronavirus pandemic. Photo Contributed

As people find themselves at home more than what was once the norm, new hobbies and skills are becoming the result of quarantine life.

This became the case for Tyler O’Neill, a professional photographer who shares a photography company, heyoneill, with his wife Jacey. With more time on his hands than he’s accustomed, O’Neill recently decided to brush up on his video skills.

Confined to his home with his wife and mother, the photographer decided to take on the task of learning to make face masks for his family. In so doing, he chose to use this as a platform for a tutorial YouTube video.

“Out of boredom I decided to brush up on my video skills and make a tutorial video,” he explained.

Having done small projects in the past on his mother’s sewing machine, O’Neill shared he found a pattern and asked his mom for a crash course.

“Actually I went on-line and went to YouTube and watched a tutorial for myself. That’s what’s funny about it, that’s how I learned,” he said.

“COVID-19 has everyone talking and thinking about masks,” he added, noting that not only were they impossible to find, but opinions on the varying types seemed to differ early on as well.

Not one for Social Media, O’Neill’s mom shared his tutorial video and quickly learned that not only were people grateful for the no-nonsense lesson, but inquired on purchasing masks from him as well.

“It’s just a nice thing to do, for one, I definitely want to help out anyone I can,” he said of agreeing to produce masks for those unable to do so themselves. “I’m building a ton for my family and they’re able to pay me so I’m not really out any money.”

With a shortage of resources in terms of fabric and elastic, initially, O’Neill said they had to limit the amount of orders in the beginning with hopes of being able to produce more for those interested.

“Just make them until demand burns out or I get burned out,” he said. “There’s something rewarding about doing a task and then having a product to hold in front of you. Especially a quality product.”