The Mindfold Story
The Mindfold mask was designed by artist Alex Grey in 1978 to facilitate the journey within and to allow you to meditate, sleep or relax in total darkness.
In the early 1980s, Tom Russin obtained the rights to Mindfold with a view to having a hobby after he retired from teaching.
“My wife questioned my sanity, but I saw the potential of the mask.” Tom said.
The search for the right covering material, a softer foam, and the right glue took another three years. He did not stop there — he continued to fine tune and improve the Mindfold mask. As new technology in plastics and foam came out, he tested and incorporated them — even to the point of performing outdoor trials in the hot Arizona sun to see if the plastic would hold up to the elements for his sports and training customers.
Tom worked tirelessly to develop a loyal following for Mindfold over the next 30+ years — giving everyone the personal touch and a smile (and a story or two). Over 40 years later, it has helped thousands of people relax, find headache relief, train, travel and explore their senses. Today, Mindfold is personally run by his daughter Peggy — in her retirement.
A man of many careers
Thomas Mathew Russin was born November 22, 1927 in Montville, NJ. He was the youngest of eight children and raised by his father after his mother died when he was 4 years old. He was drafted into the Army at the end of World War II and served in Japan. After returning to the US, Tom pursued varying careers including store ownership and house remodeling. Within a few years he returned to service as a Marine before finally settling on the Air Force to complete his 20 year career as a jet mechanic. Along the way he married the love of his life, Jane Wright, in 1960 and had two children, a son and daughter. They settled in Tucson, AZ in 1968 and eventually moved to Durango, CO in 2013 to be closer to family.
After retiring from the Air Force he completed his Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Arizona and taught for almost 20 years. Finally, not content to retire, he bought Mindfold which he ran till his death on March 27, 2020.
a company is born
From the living room to a business
When Tom acquired Mindfold there were few sales but lots of potential. Long before Google and email, he began the slow process of identifying and reaching out to companies who might be interested in purchasing his mask. He enlisted his family and friends to manufacture the masks in his Tucson home and slowly he built a business. Tom loved to talk to his customers and hear how they used the mask.
Over the years, Mindfold has developed a strong and faithful following — the worldwide reach is amazing. Mindfold is sold all over the world and is used well beyond its original intent.
It has gone from a simple idea to a worldwide product, never losing its small company feel and personal touch. Even as the business grew, he always called it his “hobby” and was proud of what he had built. Tom was involved in the business up until his 92nd birthday when he turned over the keys to his daughter, Peggy.
One of Tom’s key concerns had always been the quality of the materials used in the Mindfold mask. He spent years reviewing foam quality, assessing plastic light conveyance, and finding glue that was safe for use by his customers. We believe he succeeded.