Craft show displays work from blind and visually impaired artists

The goal is to empower the crafters, while dismantling stereotypes

Sloane Martin
November 03, 2018 - 4:08 pm

Crafts, baking and artwork from people who are blind or visually impaired are available for purchase at a craft show this weekend.

In south Minneapolis at the Pillsbury Mansion, now the headquarters for Blind Inc., the craft show provides an inclusive space for the blind and visually impaired community to display and sell their work -- and to help dismantle harmful assumptions.

Sue Olson is a baker and sewer.

"I've done other craft shows," baker and sewer Sue Olson said, "but sometimes people think just because you've got vision impairment you're not able to do anything. So it's really nice and a lot of people are amazed at what we can do. It kind of breaks down that stereotype.

The crafters say they use organization, memory and tactile dexterity to produce artwork.

"There are blind knitters and there are blind woodworkers and blind jewelers and beaders and cooks and there are even blind painters out there," National Federation of the Blind Minnesota chapter president Ryan Strunk said. "You can do a lot of amazing things with paint just by the feel and the viscosity and knowing where you put it on the palette and all sorts of stuff like that."

The goal of the craft show is not just empowering blind and visually impaired artists, but also connected with the sighted community to build bonds over hobbies both parties share a passion for.

"What we want to do is help to overcome all of the misconceptions people have so that they're not afraid of us," Strunk said. "They want to spend time with us and hang out with us and get to know us and hire us for jobs and let us do their landscaping or babysit their kids, all the things everybody else does."

The craftshow runs until 6 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday at 100 East 22nd Street.

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