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Jennifer
Lakewood, OH, USA
blind

From Graphic Artist to Jewelry Designer

Jennifer sitting on the steps if her porch, smiling to the camera. She's wearing a purple top, blue jeans, Converse, and a necklace of her own design.

When Jennifer tried drawing again after losing her sight, she would get frustrated and upset with herself, as she kept comparing it with how she used to do it. Jennifer was a Graphic Artist for more than 25 years before very suddenly losing her sight. “I felt like I lost my identity, a good portion of who I was, everything I did revolved around the visual world. I only allowed myself to go through that for about 5 months of being angry and depressed, and I said ‘This is how things are going to be from this point forward, you need to move forward, and you need to find new ways’. So, I decided from that point that I needed to do something creatively that I had never tried before, so I wouldn’t compare it constantly to how I was before”, she explains.

One day, sitting on her porch, Jennifer started playing around with some beach glass and a spool of wire, making it into jewelry. Jewelry-making is a much more tactile craft than drawing, and Jennifer is able to feel the materials and her work with her fingers. From that day forward, Jennifer was absolutely hooked on making jewelry, and she eventually took her creations to an indoor show, where she sold out of everything she had. She used the money she made from the show to buy better materials, such as semi-precious gemstones, which are the core of her creations today.

From her extensive experience as a Graphic Artist, Jennifer still has a strong knowledge-base of colors and how colors work together. She can easily visualize everything in her head, but the problem is that she can’t see the colors. Being a perfectionist working with gemstones, Jennifer always want to make sure that the stones she’s using for a necklace or a pair of earrings match perfectly, as there can be great variations of colors in natural gemstones. Take Amethyst as an example - Amethyst stones are purple, but the color can vary from a dark, deep purple to almost translucent. Getting someone to help her match up the stones used to be a tedious process that inevitably entailed a lot of waiting for Jennifer. But that was until she found Be My Eyes.

Before, I would take a picture of something, and I could wait hours before someone would call me and answer my question. Now, I can get instant help, I can lay out several stone combinations of different colors and put them in groupings and get opinions about if the colors look good together.

Be My Eyes has turned out to be an invaluable tool in Jennifer’s creative process, as she can instantly connect with someone, who can help her match and pick out the right stones for the piece of jewelry she is making. “Be My Eyes has been invaluable through my creative process. It takes out a lot of the wait, I’m able to be more productive, more independent as well, I don’t have to rely on family and friends to help me be creative.”, Jennifer says. But Be My Eyes does not only help Jennifer in the creative process, Be My Eyes volunteers offer a helping pair of eyes when Jennifer is doing both paperwork and research for her business.

I’m elated that I’ve found Be My Eyes. It has enabled me to further my business, it’s made me more productive, it’s helped me through my creative process. It’s an invaluable tool for me, it’s helped me tremendously in all aspects.

Today, Jennifer’s jewelry business, Eyespire Designs, has grown much more successful than she would have ever imagined. She now does most of her sales through her Etsy shop, and Jennifer works full time as a Jewelry Designer and Business Owner. After her sight loss, Jennifer managed to refind her passion and discover a different creative outlet, which is now her way of living.

The most important thing that I’ve learned is just to never give up, because you really only have two choices; you can give up and do nothing, or you can dust yourself off, get up and plow ahead, and try to do the best that you can and move forward.