VISION Feed

Blind, they sculpt

photo Michael Gieschen, who lost his vision due to retinitis pigmentosa, sports a tee-shirt emblazoned with a group of walkers under the words “Blinds to Go” the name of his team (blind art students from Allens Lane Art Center and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The team walked in the Foundation Fighting Blindness Vision Walk to raise funds to research and combat retinal diseases. Shown here in the Allens Lane Vision through Art class, is Gischen with the parrot fish he sculpted, poised above coral. The family has become enamored of the parrot through vacations in the Caribbean. Shown with him is daughter Kara who is helping out with the final stage of his work, applying brilliant colors, which Gischen is very particular about, naturally, as he worked as a graphic designer before losing his sight. Watch video here.

Sculpture class for Blind

Carol Konopinski teaches the Vision Through Art class at the Allens Lane Art Center in the Mount Airy section of Philadelphia. The class which is open only to those who are legally blind has been going on for 25 years and the artists work mainly in clay but are branching out into mixed media. ---------------

This is the best day of the whole week. I live for Wednesday mornings … Hi, welcome to Vision Through Art. We’re a sculpture class for the blind and visually impaired. We have artists here who have a range of vision to no vision. And You have to be legally blind to be in here. Even though the teacher and the assistants are not, that’s OK. Someone’s got to have vision- stupid sighted people! We have a great time. It’s a super family. We’ve been going for almost twenty-five years now. We have a great group of artists and they do anything from small to large pieces. We work mainly in clay but we’re moving out into mixed-media pieces. So we’re doing a lot of really fantastic work here- working on the wheel, sculpture , papier-mâché, you name it we do it they’re game for anything…It looks like we’re going to have another day of mass chaos as usual but hey, you go with the flow and enjoy it. Chaos is good! It’s all about the creativity and the chaos… Frank’s going to be working on wedging and getting back on the wheel… Betsy’s got a piece to finish up, a little girl and a dog and then Plato is working on a piece that he’s going to make a mold of but he’s still finessing and getting the shape right so he’s being the master sculptor right now. Carol Kopinski, Teacher, Allens Lane Art Center Vision Through Art class. Watch video interview here.

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Betsy Clayton sculpts very realistic human and also imaginary creatures despite being legally blind for many years at the Vision Through Art program at the Allens Lane Art Center in the Mount Airy section of Philadelphia.

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Wait a minute, maybe I can turn the table over and maybe it’s white on the other side. YES, IT HAS YOUR NAME ON IT. This is my piece that I think of as an undersea creature. I don’t know what I’m going to call it. I was thinking “Riders Under the Sea” or “Undersea Riders”… I used gold, red and green. At first I painted it all green and then I dabbed on colors to make it look fantastical. WHAT CAN YOU SEE OF IT? It’s a blur to me. I mean I can see that there’s color on here but I don’t know what the colors actually are or where they are. When I painted them I knew where I wanted certain colors. THEY’RE PRETTY BRILLIANT DO YOU SEE ANY OF THE COLORS? Are they brilliant? Not to me, they’re just dull. DO THEY HAVE A SHADE, THE COLORS? Green I can see. But everything looks green to me. . . The back of him is supposed to be like an octopus thing, tentacles. WHAT ABOUT THE PEOPLE? They have no arms you see. Because they’re really not people. They’re things that live under the sea. Creatures. I don’t know what they do under the sea. But, they like to ride the monster or whoever he is… I see leaves on the trees all winter. I do. If I look at a tree, it has leaves. HOW IS THAT, WHY? I don’t know. EVEN IF THEY’RE NOT THERE? It’s not in full leaf like it would be in summer but I see green all around the trees because I see green. That’s probably why. Betsy Clayton, Vision through Art, Allens Lane Art Center, Philadelphia.

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November 28, 2012

In this video, Cara Gieschen demonstrates to a class of blind sculpture students applications on the iPad that may be useful to the vision impaired. One app speaks aloud the color the iPad's camera is focused upon. The app identifies solid colors well but hilariously identified the hair color of  some grayheads in the class as greenish and purplish. Gieschen demonstrated another app, VisionSim which, upon clicking on one of several eye disease in  a list,  simulates what a person with that disease actually sees.


Skyspace for new Friends Meeting in Chestnut Hill

Open sky space for new Friends meeting House

 

This is a sky space in Pomona in California and I think these are houses maybe in Connecticut.  I’m not quite sure. But his work is all over the word now. But none on the East Coast is open year round to the public. There’s a sky space at the Modern Art Museum PS1 annex …There’s a Turrel there. And I didn’t understand all the fuss until I went and saw that. It’s astonishing. You take the freight elevator to the second floor of this old school building and the corridors painted bright enamel green. You walk down the corridor and there’s a little green door that says “Meeting by James Turrell” You open this little green door and inside is a white chamber filled with light.  And there are people sitting all around the perimeter on benches. And you know these kids in New York with their piercings and their blue hair. And you know they’re very hip artists. They’re silent looking up at this great opening to the sky. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A SKY SPACE? Well it’s a hole in the roof. It’s an aperture that is so cunningly designed there’s no architectural feature. You can’t tell that it’s constructed. It is just a diamond in the sky, coming down… It’s a retractable roof so obviously when it’s raining, you got to cover it. It opens up and there’s no glass, it’s just open to the air. And you sit under this. I went in February when it was 21 degrees Fahrenheit so it was very cold. So we sat all huddled under our blankets looking at this. And during the day you just see the clouds going by like the geese or the contrails of the jet planes…It’s at sunset and sunrise that it has the most dramatic-it’s the change of color, the change of the light. Turrell has some very small lighting around the outside that is a contrasting color. So what happens is the color becomes more and more saturated…. It’s intensely blue so it’s in contrast with this color. It’s very gradual very slow, it takes maybe 45 minutes for the color to change and change and darken…

Jean Warrington, Clerk of the Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting at the Chestnut Hill Library. See http://www.chfmnewmeetinghouse.org


She counts hawks

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SO MELISSA’S THE OFFICIAL- the official hawk counter for Cape May Bird Observatory. AND WHAT DOES THAT INVOLVE? It involves getting here at sunup every day until about 5 o’clock at night, monitoring the hawk migration, identifying and counting the hawks that go by. She has to be able to identify fourteen or fifteen regularly occurring species. Cape May is known for rarities so she has to be able to identify rarities that might show up as well.  HOW IS IT POSSIBLE TO KEEP TRACK OF THEM AT THE SAME TIME? It’s not so based on the weather that day, wind direction, she kind of figures out whether a lot of the birds are migrating through or whether they’re just hanging around, does her best to keep track of them. WHAT’S COMING THROUGH THESE DAYS? Not much, it’s late in the season, the peak of the season is September, October so at this point we’re hoping for a golden eagle, a goshawk, more northern birds but those are sort of unusual. Not much is moving today, had a couple redtails, a couple bald eagles, northern harriers and sharp shin hawk. ANYTHING OUT THERE NOW? A bald eagle right over the pavilion here going away from us over that tree…DO I SEE CLICKER THINGS DOWN HERE FOR KEEPING THE COUNT? Yes, because on busier days at the peak of the season, there are hundreds of brides and obviously she can’t keep in her head so she clicks them as they come by. Each species has its own clicker. Steve (“Mr. Awesome”) Bauer, narrating activity of Cape May Bird Observatory Official Hawk Counter, Melissa Roach. Watch video here

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Friends, one blind, walk Chestnut Hill

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I'VE SEEN YOU GENTLEMEN WALKING IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD FOR MANY YEARS. WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT'S YOUR ROUTINE?

JM: My name is John Manola.

WT: And I am William Talero. I met John forty years ago when I was teaching at the School for the Blind in Jersey City. He was a chaplain of a group of blind people who used to be foster grandparents to some of the blind youngsters. And then I met him again nine years ago when I went to a concert in Philadelphia. And we joined forces and we moved here to Chestnut Hill. And we try to walk as much as we can and live a healthy life.

ARE YOU VISUALLY IMPAIRED?

WT: I am totally blind. I lost my vision. I used to have partial vision but eight years ago I became totally blind because glaucoma took the last bit of sight that I had. So living with John has been very beneficial to me because he's and honest person and he happens to like to walk and I always enjoy walking. Before I was totally blind I used to walk all over- the Wissahickon and I did a little bit of the Appalachian Trail...You don't believe it but this gentleman next month is going to be ninety-three.

JM: I'm 92 now; I'll be 93 in December, yes.

I NOTICE YOU WEAR SHADES, ALSO.


JM: Yes, my eyes are sensitive to light, there's nothing wrong with my eyesight.

WT: He has very good sight

YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT USING YOUR OTHER SENSES.

WT: Well you know there is a great opportunity to use your other senses when you walk down on the avenue because the bakeries, the dry cleaning, the flower shop, and of course the sounds are certainly very much in evidence. I remember many years ago when they used to have the trolley. And it was always a kind of nice, quaint sound that you always related to Philadelphia. I kind of miss that 23 trolley, you know?


WHAT ABOUT THE COFFEE AND THE GARLIC?Yes, the coffee and all the garlic and all the wonderful smells of the various restaurants, not as many as there used to be.

WHAT RESTUARANTS DO YOU RECOGNIZE BY SMELL?
I definitely know when I’m getting close to the Japanese restaurant and the Chinese-French place, Cin-Cin, and on this side, of course, the Hotel. We like to go to Rollers. It’s very friendly and we always have a good meal there.

John Manola (left) and William Talero, along Germantown Avenue, Chestnut Hill.

Watch video here.


Why my world looks colder after cataract surgery

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I NOTICE THAT OUT OF THE EYE WITH THE NEW LENS IN IT, THE WORLD SEEMS A LITTLE LESS WARM “More cool or bright?” COOL OR BRIGHT. NOW IS THAT BECAUSE MY PUPIL IS STILL OPEN? “Actually, because you’re comparing it to the right eye which is developing a mild cataract. A cataract is kind of an amber-colored filter. It’s more brownish as you get older. So your brain has been adjusting to that slightly yellowy color over the years and interpreting that as white. Now we suddenly take that amber filter away and your brain says, ‘Man, this is very bright and blue.” This is actually the correct color you’re seeing out of your left eye and your brain will adjust.” Amy E. Weber, Ophthalmologist, Wyndmoor, PA. Watch video interview here.