I am an artist working in acrylics and clay, creating both hanging art and 3-D sculptures. I also create handcrafted jewelry and figurines. My customers are people who are drawn to my artwork and my personal story, and who enjoy the sense of spirit, whimsy and imagination behind each piece.
I have a real sense of energy within color and I consciously use color to create deeper expression in my art. For example, each color I choose to work with is chosen because it helps me express a certain energy or emotion within a piece. To the right is a photo of a mixed media piece called Fire Cove. In this piece I wanted to create a strong sense of balance with the water and the Earth, and a strong sense of fire-energy on the land. By using different shades of blue and textural medium, I created the sense of flowing waves that balance the fiery, hard landscape.
I continue to explore different types of clay and acrylic media to combine them in scenes and abstract patterns. Texture and color are emphasized heavily in my work to create truly multi-dimensional and spiritual expressions.
You can read my Artist's Statement if you wish to learn more about how I became an artist.
Along my artistic path I discovered a desire to know about the work of other artists. to connect with people and artwork both as a source of inspiration and deeper conversation. As in many areas of my life, I needed to create this door for myself. Most people wouldn’t understand why a blind person might want to go to the movies, go to a Museum or gallery, if they couldn’t touch the artwork. I know that there is much much more to life than just the sense of sight. I’ve been dealing with this misperception of the visual world all of my life and have found creative ways around this.
As an artist, it is so important to visit exhibits and shows, and have ongoing conversation about art. I now believe that it’s just as important for everyone to have meaningful conversations about the arts. I have wonderful friendships with other artists and I’ve helped them learn ways to introduce me to artwork in exhibits and galleries. It’s such a rich way to connect with art and people.
I find arts communities very open and enthusiastic in welcoming people with disabilities into the arts. However, navigating through the world of providing accessible experiences in the arts can be challenging. I provide consulting services to artists, arts programs and galleries to help provide better accessibility to the arts for blind and visually impaired people. I enjoy creative collaboration with arts programs to find effective and unique access options. Arts programs and galleries are drawn to my consulting services because of my background as a disability advocate, and also because I am an artist who happens to be blind. I help create accessible bridges within the arts.
I offer tools and trainings on how to assist blind/visually impaired people in navigating physical spaces; how to offer multi-sensory experiences within exhibits, etiquette around working with blind/visually impaired people, how to offer effective verbal descriptions of art and a host of resources for creating richer accessible experiences. This kind of accessibility benefits the entire community and opens deeper conversations about greater potential in art, disability and access.
“Touring galleries and shows with Gwendolyn is a lot of fun…Translating of my perspective and thoughts, while trying to withhold judgment, deepens my engagement with what’s on view. It makes me stop and consider the work more. ”
Kristin Richland, Artist and friend
Sweet Enemy Art
“Working together with Gwendolyn to promote accessibility in the arts is a joyful and valuable experience. Gwendolyn’s depth of knowledge and articulate encouragement of growth invites people to discover the rich connections available through inclusion.”
Executive Director, VSA Vermont, Inc.
VSA Vermont - the Vermont organization on arts and disability