Is Crafting Suitable for the Blind?

I’ve contracted the loom band virus. Looming, for those who don’t know, is a way of making jewelry and accessories out of rubber bands. I’ve so far only managed to be able to use the most basic technique, but am loving it and trying out new techniques that I basically think out myself. I can’t access loom band tutorials as they are mostly videos. YouTube is still blocked on my computer to save on bandwidth, and if it weren’t, I’d have to watch a ton of videos to find out which have enough verbal content that I can follow along.

Fortunately, I’ve been helped by a few lovely people in Facebook looming groups. The fellow patient who taught me the most basic technique also offered to lend me her loom band book, so that I can scan (part of) it and see if just the text is enough. Another person offered to type out the verbal content of video instructions or send me a PDF file of the book. The PDF file is an image and the file size is over 100MB, so even though I could convert the image to text using OCR software if I were able to download it, I cannot currently download the file. Yet another person is still thinking of ways she could help me figure stuff out.

Unfortunately, as with any crafting hobby, I’ve gotten the occasional comment that looming probably isn’t suitable for the blind. I do not know this yet, as I have so far only mastered the most basic technique and have gotten stuck on some other crafts too if I tried to go more advanced. I don’t like instant adoration when I disclose in a crafting group that I am blind, either. When people haven’t seen my work, they cannot know whether it is poor, fair or good by non-disabled standards or by their standatds of what a blind person should be able to accomplish. Because of this, I do understand the curious group member’s question whether a craft isn’t too hard for a blind person. Probably I take it too personally when I see it as discouragement.

It may be kind of odd in this respect that I take gentle criticism better than instant adoration or questions about my competency before I’ve shown my work. I remember in early 2013 I sent out a totally rubbish card in a swap, and the recipient happened to be the swap group owner. She sent me a private message explaining that my card was not of sufficient quality for a swap, but also offering to give me tips on how to make better cards. That was a lot easier to handle than the message I received from another member, who said before she’d seen any of my cards that she would never make cards again if she went blind.

Generally, it seems to be that the more substance criticism or compliments have, the better I handle them. For example, I received a message on a stamping group from a person who explained in detail why stamping most likely wouldn’t be suitable for a blind person and offering feedback on the stamped images I’d sent to the group. That helped me make the choice to give up stamping before I’d bought tons of supplies. I myself used a similar approach when a blind friend of mine wantedd to start making jewelry. I explained what is needed to make jewelry and which parts of it she could likely do herself and which she’d probably need sighted help with. I offered to send her some supplies to play with, which I still need to do. She can decide for herself whether jewelry-making is suitable for her, but I can help her with feedback.

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6 thoughts on “Is Crafting Suitable for the Blind?

  1. Well, first of all….I say if you have the ability then don’t stop yourself from doing whatever your heart desires….within legal and moral limits of course! Good for you for even attempting crafts. I can’t even draw a stick figure. Some 12 year old just made a loom dress and sold it on Ebay for $291,000. I’m sure she didn’t set out to make something so spectacular, so who knows what you’ll end up making. Blind or not, if you have the patience to craft, I give you credit. By the way, I used to live in Holland when I was much younger.

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  2. You should do what you love to do no matter what. No matter your “disability”. No matter what other people think. No matter whether it is “good” or not. If you want to do it, try it, be proficient at it (or not) – go for it! Remember, Mozart was deaf.

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  3. Hi, I’m a blind crafter myself (I have a very small amount of vision, I am measured as ‘finger counting’ in my best lighting conditions), and you definitely receive some funny attitudes from people when they find out that you have a vision loss – they assume that that means you simply cannot be creative.

    I have come to the conclusion that I don’t have to excel at any craft I undertake – whether that be knitting, papercrafts, jewellery making, etc, I just have to enjoy it. So what if it takes me a lot longer to achieve even the most basic of techniques. Crafting is very much about enjoying doing something in my opinion.

    I have had to self-teach on a lot of crafts, as even if I do find a, for instance, YouTube video that ‘makes sense’, I have to pause, rewind and re-watch so many times for even the most basic of techniques, I end up having to re-invent the wheel every time.

    That is the main reason I am starting a blog, to try and share with the blind community, and any other communities that may benefit from it, how I managed to figure things out. It may then act as a starting point for other people to adapt to their own needs. I was so pleased to come across your blog.

    All the best,

    Kate

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