Emily Duffy


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Emily Duffy is a practicing Pagan woman of Jewish descent, currently living in northern California. Her work in the fashion industry has taken her to LA and San Francisco, but is content living out her later years outside the big cities. FIDM taught her how to sew with industrial techniques, which has heavily influenced her mask-making processes. Aside from her work as a professional fine artist--creating sociopolitically significant work--Duffy finds fulfillment in activist work too. From starting an abortion rights club at Cal, contributing to the Howard Dean campaign, and now sewing masks and organizing "asks" with the Auntie Sewing Squad, Duffy is a poster-Auntie; treating all life with respect and equity.

Thematic Summary

Duffy addresses her necessary history that led her to the Auntie Sewing Squad as well as her experiences as a part of the group. That history includes her introduction to activism at Cal, her introduction to industrial sewing at FIDM, and her faith-based values inspiring her work. Her experiences include having to find the perfect mask pattern, finding the right fabric for the recipients, organizing "asks", and maneuvering the fabric market in the midst of a global pandemic. Duffy discusses which fabrics are up to standard for the masks and how she modifies them with filters, sizes, ear loop varieties, and slight fit differences. Duffy also shows-and-tells some of the masks from her personal collection to give examples.

Identity influencing art and activism: 0:00-7:08

Activist start at Cal: 7:09-9:55

Race and personal values in dean campaign work/current election/Covid pandemic: 9:56-17:38

Stories of Auntie Sewing Squad: 17:39-23:23

Industrial sewing background influencing mask-making: 17:39-33:47

Mask-making with specific fabrics and fabric stores: 33:48-50:27

Interview Date



Zehunna Szestowicki

Interview with Emily Duffy



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