Wednesday, September 9, 2009

On Being an Artist Who is Blind

A piece of glass art
By GDB Alumna Kathy Hazard

I was honored to have my glass work chosen in an international show by artists who are blind sponsored by Lighthouse for the Blind in San Francisco. 

You might ask how someone who is blind creates art. I am low vision and use my peripheral vision, moving my eyes from side to side to make out what most large objects are. When an object is too small, or its fine detail is too subtle, for my peripheral vision to see, I wear glasses with 8 times magnification and hold the object very close to my eyes. Most times this allows me to see what I am looking at more clearly.

A piece of glass artIf an object is too far away for me to see its fine detail, I visualize what I think it looks like, based on my memory of it. My imperfect vision allows me to have a perfect creative vision, which often provides opportunities for happy accidents and grace to influence my finished product. When working with glass, though I work quite deliberately, my unconscious is the undisputed project manager - it allows me to utilize my vision without using my eyes.

I have found that when I am working with glass I am able to forget I am visually impaired – it adds a sense of calmness and inner peace to my life. My love of glass art started at an early age. Observing what others were able to accomplish by transforming pieces of glass into a beautiful stained glass window, blown glass, or mosaic piece of glass art, has always struck me as magical.

Over the past few years, that magical process has become part of me. I was introduced to a process called glass fusion about five years ago, and was finally able to fulfill a life-long dream of working with glass. I cut pieces of glass, layer them into the shape of what I see in my minds eye as the end product. The glass is then melted in a kiln to create my fused piece of glass art.

I love the creative power working with glass gives me. It fills me with a sense of
A piece of glass artaccomplishment and integrity, and has proven a most amenable vehicle for translating my inner vision to reality. I let the glass talk to me. When I cut and break each piece of glass, my art is free-flowing. I allow the energy in the glass to flow through me. If I don’t feel its energy, I cannot continue working on the piece. I step away and come back to it at another time when I am able to feel its energy. Then, and only then, I am able to complete my glass art piece.

With each piece I create, I learn something new about glass fusion. My art inspires and invigorates me by a renewed sense of continuity. I am always awed by the mystery of how a few pieces of glass can be turned into a beautiful glass-art creation.  

For more information about the Lighthouse's upcoming exhibit where Kathy's work will be on display, please visit

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations! You do beautiful work. I am a professional glass artist too, I know from experience that fusing glass is hard! As a hobby I collect fused glass and blown glass.

    Good job! Keep creating.

    Laura Goff Parham