I’ve always seen myself as a creative person, especially when it came to music or dance. Although I never had a particular aptitude for art, it was still something I did for fun and my own enjoyment. I viewed it as another way to make the pictures in my head come to life. In early elementary school, art class was all about creativity. We focused on sculpting and water colours. Finger painting was my favourite because I could really feel exactly what I was doing on the paper. I can see some colour, however I don’t think that matters. It’s mostly how the colour makes you feel that counts, not what it looks like.
The last several years of Elementary school were much different. Instead of having creative freedom, the focus shifted to strict guidelines and precision. Most classes were spent sketching and filling in the lines. No adaptation was made for me, such as making tactile lines for me to colour in. My eyes would be strained and start to hurt. On occasion, I would get reprimanded for not trying hard enough.
In High School I was long done with art, but then I discovered a painter who changed my entire outlook on painting. His name is Bob Ross and he is well known for making nature landscapes. He emphasized the fact that you don’t need to be a professional to paint. He pointed out that there are not mistakes when creating and that one should just let the paint brush do its thing. This was revolutionary to me, since I’ve always had it drilled in to me that art had to be perfection.
Currently, I’m eager to start painting again. I received some supplies for Christmas and am currently figuring some final logistics to hopefully start soon. I occasionally loom knit to make headbands that go around the head. I learned this through the Blind Beginnings Craft Committee. I’m not at a place where they’re nice enough to sell or gift to someone, but I know I’ll get there.
Randi, one of our Youth Alumni, is a lot more adept at knitting. She’s an active member of the Craft Committee and made the knitted items we’ve sold in the past*, including the popular stuffed bunnies. Randi didn’t necessarily get in to crafting, but growing up she always enjoyed working with her hands. As a child she did colouring and worked with plasticine. When she was older she took sewing courses and her mom taught her the basics of knitting. She learned other things in art class, however textiles is where she does most of her creating.
Now Randi knits and even makes DIY structures for her hamster from wood, paper, and card board. She’s also tried crocheting in the last few years. She enjoys making crafts because it’s an opportunity to work with her hands and there’s a finished product at the end.
Although we have different experiences and different areas we dabble in, we both enjoy crafting and being creative. We also agree that it can be challenging to find descriptive tutorials online when starting to learn something for the first time. I’m hopeful that in the future, more resources with become available so everyone, regardless of ability, will be able to craft their imagination in to reality.
By Nika Najafi and Randi Poitras
*Editor’s Note: You can actually find some items for sale (including the stuffed knitted bunnies mentioned in the article) that were made by Blind Beginnings Youth at the Muckabout Gift Gallery in Burnaby, BC. Find them online at https://muckabout.ca or check out their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/muckaboutgiftgallery