Posted on

Creating Change Through Creativity & Collaboration

2 Blind Chicks With Attitude mugs sitting on a desk. 1 shows the image & slogan and the other shows the tactile braille

Creating Change Through Creativity & Collaboration

Recently, someone asked me why I created Bold Blind Beauty; my answer was twofold—devastation and rebirth.

A Life In Ruins

StephanieMcCoy_BoldBlindBeauty

It was June 2009 and earlier in the year, I had my third and last vitrectomy to hopefully restore the sight in my good eye. I was excited because the successful outcome of this surgery could allow me to regain my driving privileges. Unfortunately, during the recovery phase, my retina specialist found bleeding at the back of the eye. The treatment plan called for Avastin an injection in the eye to stop the bleeding.

A couple of weeks later, my brother, son, and I went to Cleveland Clinic. The drive to Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute was about two hours but with renewed hope, worth the trip. Afterall, during my last visit two years earlier, they saved the sight in my bad eye by repairing my detached retina. The news I received during this trip wasn’t good.

When the doctors told me “we’re sorry there is no more we can do for you” I think I was in a semi-catatonic state. There was no reaction, no tears, no outburst—nothing. On the drive home, my mind could not grasp what I what the doctor’s told me.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I was as scared as I’ve ever been. I mean, I had big plans before all of this eye stuff happened. I received a promotion at work, bought a house, got married. My husband and I were refurbishing our home to sell it then build our own. Now I’m legally blind, do I even have a future?

Uncharted Territory

My problem-solving skills improved significantly during and after my new ‘legally blind status.’ There wasn’t a roadmap to follow for life after sight loss and I never felt more lonely. I had to make some tough decisions on how I was going to move forward the most significant was self-reliance. This meant a change in course by leaving my marriage, home, and beginning anew.

Even with so much support from my employer, co-workers and those closest to me, the strain of trying to find my groove got to me. Looking like I could see, yet couldn’t, was exhausting. While I may have looked like I was adapting I was struggling. Every time I used my white cane I felt like a beacon.

For a minute it seemed like my life was in ashes with the chaos that ensued. However, eventually, with the help of family and friends, I would connect with a low vision specialist and others who became my lifeline.

Newfound Strength With My Tribe

Have you ever felt like you don’t fit in? I sure have, most of my life actually. So it shouldn’t have been odd for me to be among the ‘too sighted to be blind but too blind to be sighted camp.’ Yet, my local blind community embraced me—I was home.

When I was asked to do a makeup presentation at our Pennsylvania Council of the Blind (PCB) annual convention I found my purpose. Beauty is not reserved for ONLY those who can SEE, beauty, REAL beauty knows no limits. Bold Blind Beauty—Real Beauty Transcends Barriers seeks to empower blind women while connecting sighted and non-sighted communities.

Collaborating with creatives like Jennifer Barrille, Laura Sottile, Jessica Marano, Kathy Keck and others is presenting a unique opportunity for Bold Blind Beauty. Our fashion icon Abby is stylish, she uses a white cane, and she’s changing the way we look at blindness. Working to make Abby and all of our offerings accessible is our goal.

Yesterday, I was able to upload our new one-of-a-kind embossed braille coffee mugs to our online store. The braille on each of these mugs is created by artist Kathy Keck of Loving Touch Connection

Currently, the design on the new mugs includes tactile slogans in braille on one side and Abby with text slogans on the other side of the handle. Literally, you can “Have Abigale at your fingertips to enjoy your favorite hot beverage; coffee, tea, or whatever it may be!”

Creating Change… Featured Image Description:

To the left of the mug’s handle is the phrase “Blind Chicks With ATTITUDE” in braille. The mug’s design includes fashion icon, Abby (in trio format) who are to the right of the handle. Directly under the trio is the slogan: “Blind Chicks With ATTITUDE.”

Abby is walking with her white cane in one hand and handbag in the other. The image is black with black heels and a stylish black dress made of panels resembling overlapping banana leaves. The dress panels gently curve from her nipped in waist to just above the knee. Her signature hairstyle is explosive.

 

Posted on

The Unveiling Of A Stylish Icon

Stylish Icon is black and white line drawing. The leaves of the dress are not solid black.

The Unveiling Of A Stylish Icon

Back in October, I wrote a post reaching out to the creative community to find someone to design a stylish icon for Bold Blind Beauty. I wanted something more in line with the message of this blog which is anyone can be confident and stylish.

So after I put out feelers for someone up to the task of creating an updated take on the original white cane icon I connected with Jennifer Barrile. Jennifer was on board at the outset and after we exchanged a couple of emails, a few weeks later voilà!!

Jennifer designed two icons in black and white. Both, are an image of a chic woman carrying her handbag who happens to use a white cane. What I like most about these images is how Jennifer captured movement. She (the women on the move) is stepping forward with purpose in her stilettos and her hair is best described as explosive.

The dress. Well, the dress is a vision of individual panels reminiscent of overlapping banana leaves. The panels gently curve from the icon’s nipped in waist to just above the knee. This woman is on a mission and she knows she’s fabulous even with her white cane.

Jennifer, thank you so much for working on this project with me, it was such a pleasure brainstorming with you on this beautiful design.

Update: It should be noted that this icon was specifically created for Bold Blind Beauty and is not a replacement for the nationally recognized white cane icon.