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Artists And COVID-19: Darla Takes The Knife

Many people who can sew have  focused on  face masks for  the past few months. That includes a  Rapid City fashion designer who’s  creating stylized masks with a flare from different Native Tribes.


Darla Takes The Knife works full time at Oyate Health in Rapid City. She checks people into the COVID-19 testing area. 

When she’s not at the hospital,  she makes tailored clothing by hand. She incorporates Lakota symbols using everything from ribbon to acrylic paint and burnt char from her fire pit. 


“Clothes that are for today so we can express ourselves in our work, school for our everyday.” 

Things got stressful when the pandemic hit. Takes The Knife  had just received a business license and was ready to turn her full time hobby into something more. But  she stopped making dresses, jackets and shirts because the stress of working on the front lines was taking a toll. 


“I was really going downhill with the depression type deal because I started getting scared. I actually saw myself just laying in my bed and I’m going to just sleep, I guess this is my time to rest.”


She saw people making handmade masks online and then, someone at the hospital had a request.


“I had a nurse say ‘Darla will you make me a mask please?’ And so I said ok, I’ll do it for her just this one time I’m sure.” 

The request was for an Oglala Lakota Tribal pattern. Takes The Knife made the mask, then added tiny, individual strips of fabric to make the tribal flag. When photos of her creation surfaced, people started requesting masks with their own tribal flags. She ordered hypoallergenic pillow cases...layered them with breathable tee-shirts, and  started filling orders. 


“I’m mailing them to Maine, Arizona, to Texas, Georgia. It’s just lifting people’s spirits up.” 

Takes The Knife has to charge enough money for the supplies and her time free since she’s still an essential healthcare worker. She says most customers don’t mind paying more to support her work. 

“I mean for someone going into business this kind of got really complicated.” 

Takes The Knife has also donated masks with her own business logo, Ohopa to people in need.