[nfbwatlk] Fw: seattle times article

Lauren Merryfield lauren1 at catliness.com
Fri Oct 23 06:35:58 UTC 2009

Sent: Thursday, October 22, 2009 8:21 AM
Subject: seattle times article

> http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/thearts/2010113373_blindart22m.html
The Arts | Blind artists show their works through Friday | Seattle Times 


Thursday, October 22, 2009 - Page updated at 05:20 PM

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Becky Bell creates her pottery largely from touch, although the works 
themselves can often be inspired by words that become ideas. She's holding 
"Sea Burst."


Eleni Teshome wears an Angora sweater she knitted - a skill she has 
developed in earnest since losing her sight.

Blind artists show their works through Friday

By Nancy Bartley

Seattle Times staff reporter

When Becky Bell shapes her pottery she expresses how she felt as a girl 
walking through a Kansas cornfield with her father, or standing in a 
swirling snowstorm,
or feeling warm candle wax collapse in her hands.

Although as a blind woman, she can't see the art she creates; Bell draws 
from a rich interior world built on life experiences. Having studied pottery 
she was young, living in France with her Army colonel father, she wanted 
other blind artists to have a chance to showcase their work and talked 
at the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library in Seattle to host its 
first art show.

The show, which opened Monday and closes at 4 p.m. Friday, features the work 
of 12 artists, mainly from Western Washington.

Across the nation, blind artists have been increasingly recognized over the 
past three decades, thanks to the National Exhibits by Blind Artists (NEBA),
which was founded in Pennsylvania but now is an acclaimed leader in giving 
blind artists from all over the United States a forum for expressing their 
through juried shows throughout the United States and abroad. The Seattle 
show, the first of its kind, is not an NEBA show, but Seattle's blind 
can apply to be included in the traveling exhibits.

"This came together kind of quickly," said Danielle King, program manager 
for the library. "It's important for patrons to showcase their work, and for 
people who aren't aware of the breadth of the capabilities" of the blind.

Bell's pieces are circular, smooth, pleasantly tactile. "I like things that 
feel like they come from the ocean," she said. "Close your eyes and see how
it feels."

Another artist, Jessica Thompson, displayed a wire sculpture of hands, which 
she called "Homage," a tribute to her own hands and all they do for her. She
said a few years ago she was given a bucket of crayons by a hospital 
therapist who told her to draw, and for the first time since childhood she 
did. Since
then, her art gives expression to her unsaid emotions.

Like Thompson and Bell, Eleni Teshome lives in Seattle and has art on 
exhibit - complicated and colorful sweaters with perfect designs and no 
missed stitches.
She knits, marking the place to switch colors by measuring sections with her 

Teshome has knitted since she was a girl but it took on new meaning after 
she lost her eyesight in the late 1980s.

"I'm content and totally engaged in it," Teshome said. She makes things for 
herself, for others and sometimes weaves her emotions into the product, such
as the piece she calls "Journey to Jerusalem," which has holes in it to 
represent the holes in the gates to Jerusalem.

The Seattle library for the blind, the only one in the state, is part of the 
Washington state library system and one of 57 regional libraries for the 
in the U.S., said Jan Walsh, the Washington state librarian."I'm not at all 
surprised to see how beautiful the work is," said Walsh, who dropped in from
Olympia for the show. "We need to honor our patrons and show what amazing 
work they can do."

Nancy Bartley: 206-464-8522 or
nbartley at seattletimes.com

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