How do YOU do it?

Good Morning Friends,

I was asked recently:

How are you able to write a blog?

How can you create a website?

How DOES a person who is blind do these things? 
How did you learn to do it?

I cannot see details and colors since I have no central vision. I have only some peripheral vision and that is not clear at all. The sight that I have is akin to walking in a snow squall. Everything is grayed out and blurred, with an occasional glimpse of something significant. I can usually detect something that is moving, if there is contrast.

The way that I do see, is with high contrast. I see no nuances or subtle color changes in anything.

 When I am knitting, my friends and family explain to me what colors they see in my yarn. To me, it mostly looks all gray.  I am always delighted when they tell me of the wonderful colors they are seeing there!

How do I manage my website and my blog?

I had very extensive knowledge about how to do websites and blogs BEFORE sight loss. I had two blogs and have had a  website for many years. (I am a former professor of Fine Arts and Humanities, at Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA)

Before sight loss, I wrote about one of my passions, knitting. I did it for relaxation and to share information/patterns/finished projects on the blogs.

It was a nice get-a-way from my professional life. Knitting is very relaxing to me, and I love the feel of the soft yarns as they slip through my fingers. There is nothing that can compare to the feel of a hand knitted garment, that is one-of-a-kind, original.

How do I maintain and create my  website?
 My website is where I share images of my art works.  Before sight loss, I used to share photos of of my paintings, wood cut prints, upcoming show information, and my travel/study trips to Europe every summer. The website was a recruiting tool for that program.

For twelve years, I taught a course called Drawing and Writing in Salzburg. Students at the college could take my course for credits in Humanities, English, or Studio Art.

We lived in the Alps in Austria every summer until 2008 (I lost my sight in the fall of 2007). College students and came with me to  Austia for a month every summer. While there I worked in my art studio in the village school, just outside of Salzburg. I taught classes every morning Monday – Thursday until noon. Our class met early each morning  in the school, and each day we took trips all over the area. They had writing and art assignments at a different location every day. On weekends, I took the students to a different country – Italy for the Redintore Festival every year in Venice.  We traveled to  Czech Republic, where we visited small villages and of course, Prague.  In Germany, we traveled on boats over deep Alpine lakes, ancient cities,  and castles

This is how I knew HOW to make a website – through marketing my own art and my Drawing and Writing in Salzburg courses.

When I lost my sight – overnight – I was completely LOST. For five months I really sat in a chair and listened to Public Radio as I did not know how to do anything at all. My husband brought me books on CDs from the local library – I was completely LOST and no one knew what to do with me.  It took five months of very hard work to learn that there was such a thing as rehab for blind people – and finally, after an existence that was meaningless, I got to go to a rehab center in Pittsburgh.

There, I learned that I could do things again. But the realization that I had in an instant gone from teaching and lecturing on a very high level, and had plunged to a level that was less than kindergarten became very clear to me.  The  LEARNING CURVE for a person who has entered the world of sight loss  is the steepest learning curve I have ever experienced, just to begin to live again and do the most basic things.

I was at the Blind and Vision Rehabilitation Services in Homestead, PA  for 15 weeks, and did very well. I still had no computer skills, when I left there. But, I had the “Intro to blindness” skills that completely changed my life and my future. I found out that there is almost nothing that I cannot do. I just have to learn how to ADAPT to doing everything in a new way that works for me.

After FOUR YEARS of sight loss, I am still learning how to adapt all the time as new situations come up. There are still moments when I lose it for a little while and have to get my bearings, and begin again.

Relearning the computer   took another two  years  to be able to write a blog or work on my website  again I can now process photos by myself, and upload them onto my computer.  As a VISUAL ARTIST this is important for me to do. I share my work with the world through my blog and my website. 

I am still the VISUAL ARTIST I have always been, but now I have learned to ADAPT to my new situation.

Through this blog, I am able to take you on the journey with me as I learn how to do new things and how to re-learn the things I once took for granted.

The learning curve is the steepest one I could ever have imagined.

TENACITY is the KEY to success – in everything.

Don’t GIVE UP, and Do not QUIT TRYING.
This is one of the newest pieces of pottery I made. I never knew I could make pottery!
These days, I am making pottery, knitting, and creating intricate encrusted bead work.
I do it all by TOUCH, non-Visually, and in some cases with the help of TECHNOLOGY.
Life is still good…
 Life is still a creation in process!


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