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BLIND SIGHT…

My friend Jane came to visit this week. Her book has been recently published & I can brag about having written a blurb used on it’s back cover!

[Click on the photos to see larger versions…]

She & her twin sister were born premature & spent time in hospital incubators before it was known that the pure oxygen once used could cause severe damage to the cornea of babies’ eyes… they were both blinded in the process.

She is an extraordinary spirit who has raised a family & now collects bells, which is how we came to meet. She came tothe N.W. to visit her sister & brother as well, but Stephen met her at the airport & she came first to Soundcliff for what was actually her second visit to the studio.

We visited at Christmastime in Minneapolis, where she lives with her husband Tom. We will see each other again soon at the American Bell Association Convention in Chicago the end of June, so we are happily deepening our friendship. She travels with her service dog, Gayla, with or without Tom, who must often stay home with the hunting dogs they also train.

I took her to the foundry to see where the bells are cast… & to learn more about those processes. James met her curiosity with demonstrative explanations.

She touches with highly educated fingertips, bringing some objects to her cheeks for exploratory caresses… she sniffs & tastes all manner of things to see them.



Soon they were down on the floor learning about silicon gaskets at the vacuum table… Gayla liked that!

She enjoyed the breeze created by the vertically spinning centrifuge of the platinum casting machine, seen here behind a horizontal one, which is used for silver & gold.

Her visit was too short but because we were also busy with the project of having a retaining wall built, Soundcliff was often too noisy for easy conversation, so our trip into the city gave us other environments to explore together. Tinzing Momo, the shop in Pike Place Market where I buy the amber resin I wear as scent, which she appreciates, was unusually crowded for some reason & became an overly intense experience for her, but not before she had put her nose into many jars for sampling sniffs!

We found lots of fragrant herbs in the farmer’s stalls… she is planning an herb garden for their new house. She listened rather critically to some buskers singing nearby while we had coffee. She continued teaching me how to walk comfortably with her fingers touching my elbow, sensing curbs or stairs from my pace & gait, while shushing me to learn not to waste verbiage warning her about such changes in terrain or of the turns we are about to make… she is so confident & sometimes seemingly fearless, that I sense in my own clumsy way how much more she knows than do my own senses! The bigger lesson in confidence is mine to learn…

She loves to sing & laugh, as you can tell from this shot I made while we were having coffee that morning. I learn so much from her about the riches of engaging all the variety life holds.

I’ll close with this bumper sticker all three of us enjoyed on a Vashon vehicle’s tailgate parked next to us on the ferry…