Our “Ask Me Anything” expert for our arts week was Meghan Sims, from Kitchener, Ontario. Meghan was born with a rare visual condition called Achromatopsia. Meghan is fully colourblind, near sighted and extremely sensitive to light; causing day blindness.
These factors have inspired a lifelong curiosity with the idea of perception, light and shadow, both with and without the emotional values of colour. She works in the mediums of oil and acrylic paint techniques and has started a new investigation into the properties of light through glass blowing.
What support or adaptations (if any) were made to help you
participate in art classes during early education?
I'm so glad education has been
brought up, because it is truly a sore spot which needs some attention.
In general, art class or math or science, there was very little done to assist
in my educational success. The very little that was suggested at the
beginning of a school year was grossly neglected by the teachers.
If it weren't for a very dear friend letting me copy all of her work, I would
have never made it through grade school. For the most part, the teachers
were aware of this and seemed happy to let my friend provide the lessons.
Thanks Vicki! Simple requests such as providing photocopies of
overhead/blackboard notes before class were rarely provided, resulting
in an even greater struggle and further frustration on my part.
Something as simple as providing notes to a student before class so
they might follow along and have the opportunity to understand the material
would have made such an incredible difference. Had I only known then what
I know now, I would have advocated for myself and saved myself from the damage
that was done. The struggles I endured in the public education system are
in direct correlation to any struggles I have as an adult.
Teachers have such invaluable positions but you'll excuse me if I applaud
technology for picking up the slack.
Is your diminished
vision the reason why you also work in blown glass?
No, my diminished vision is
not why I wanted to work with hot glass. In fact, due to the bright light
of the furnaces, and the distance of the blowpipe, I can not work as other
blowers work. Like anything, where there are barriers, there are creative
work arounds. It has taken me many years to start to become more fluid and
focus on the things I can do instead of what I can't. After learning this
seductive medium, I am able to hire a team of gaffers to execute my designs.
Do you black out
the sunlight in your studio?
Yes, I do black out the
windows with a black construction paper. But on overcast days, I let the
light join me.
I have to blindfold
myself for going out during sunlight hours. Do you do that as well?
Hmmm, I wish I
could! I have tossed around the idea of using pinhole glasses, but that
was when red contacts were still an option for me.
everyone for your questions and curiosity!
For more information on Meghan’s work, visit www.meghansimsartist.ca