Need Suggestions: Jewelry for the Blind

by Sheila Meador.
(Atlanta, Georgia USA)

I have reconnected with a blind friend from my childhood, and we are going on a beach adventure to Tybee Island in June.
question-marks-004 I want to plan interesting, interactive things we can do together to fill the time. I don’t want either of us to get sunburned from staying at the beach too long.

I am thinking of shell crafts as well as making beach-theme jewelry with her. I know from our childhood that textures, shapes and varied sizes are things she can appreciate. Color means nothing to a blind person who has never even seen light.

Does anyone have suggestions for jewelry or bead crafts? I want her to have something special we made together to take home. Blessings to all of you!

Note: As young children, we did not know that I was going to be deaf. I found out I was losing my hearing at age 12. By age 47, I was dependent on sign language. Now (age 65), I have 2 cochlear implants and can hear my blind friend sing!

Sheila Meador
Che Che’s at Storenvy

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Comments

  1. Eleanor says:

    Shells sound lovely. Different textures of stones, wood, metal filagree. Maybe some silky ribbon. When seeking items for her, close your eyes. Focus on the tactile. The items are somewhat loose, like dangly bits from a necklace, is the sound they make pleasing? Focus on the sound they make.

    Oooh, maybe you could do something like a peyote bracelet, with some of the beads a different size, such that the raised bumps spell something in Braille.

  2. Sarah S says:

    Sound. I am not blind but I love jewelry that makes pleasing sounds. Small bells, shells the hit against each other softly… maybe a vial where if you move it beach sand will shift.

  3. Hi Sheila,

    what a touching story about your hearing. And it led me straight into my suggestion: Your friend can touch and feel different shapes and textures, but she can also HEAR the sounds the jewelry makes. Think of ways to make your creations jingle and make different sounds. That way she won’t have to touch it to be aware of it and enjoy it. Even though I can see, I still find “noisy” jewelry a lot more enjoyable. Your friend is so very lucky to have you. I hope you both have a wonderful time!

  4. What lovely ideas!

    Sheila, would your friend enjoy shaping polymer clay with you? You could choose some colors for her, and she could have the fun tactile experience of working the clay and texturing or shaping it to her heart’s desire.

    Maybe one of the pieces could include a hole for hanging a small shell or other treasure you find on the beach.

    Or she could “stamp” the clay with seashells or beach grasses to make an interesting surface to trace with her fingers when she wears the jewelry.

    Wishing you both a wonderful time on your beach adventure – what a great idea for a vacation with your friend!

  5. Also – what about wire-wrapping some shells with craft wire, and making windchimes with them? Possibly also involving beads or interesting pieces of driftwood.

  6. just commenting about what excellent suggestions everyone had! creative minds – thanks for the continuing inspiration!!!

  7. Wow, y’all have some great ideas!! I’m making notes and will discuss with her to see which she would like to do. I will take some supplies with me and hope we can get some shells all different sizes. I also have several blocks of polymer clay I can take. A noisy necklace or bead & shell wind chimes sounds fun as well as pressing shell into clay to make impressions. I would love to find small pieces of driftwood, too. I bet she would love silky ribbon.

    I appreciate every idea you’ve shared. Thanks, everyone!

  8. Elena Arreni says:

    Hi Sheila,
    first of all I’m very happy that you will spend time with your friend in a lovely place. All the above suggestions are great and I just want to add mine, my mother has sight problems too so I can understand your friend’s problems in making jewelry. Using different size beads is a great idea, the result can be very interesting and shells are fantastic too, a nice memory of the time spent together. What my mom complains the most about is the hole sizes, she says that she can find them but it’s not easy to streng the thread right trhrough, especially with soft strings or fishing wire… on the other side she finds very easy to create bracelets using memory wire because the wire stays in position and she become almost faster than me in making them!!! We use to select beads first and then we put them in small plates one next to the other according to the pattern we want so she just has to pick them up one after ther other.
    I hope that my suggestion will help a little, have a great time!!!

  9. Ken Groeschen says:

    Hi Sheila, I hope you are doing well.
    My wife and daughter work at the school for the blind where we live.
    The blind school here is great!!
    I have a friend, blind from birth, that comes over regularly and we cut stones together.
    She is very tactile, as in she likes granite and petrified wood but doesn’t care for the feel of jade.

    If you have access to a grinder and sanding drum you could go find or buy some rough stones and she could smooth out a nice pocket stone to carry and remind her of the time you had together. No need to take it to polishing stage unless she insists, but a grind and sanding on a belt or two to desired feel.
    Have fun!!!

  10. I will read all of your ideas to my friend Anne and see what she would like to do. This should be fun for both of us. We’ve never taken a trip together. I appreciate your taking time to write and share your creative ideas!

  11. Misty Hall says:

    I also had a blind friend who opened my eyes, so to speak. I think adding a drilled beach stone or making a clay bead with a little sand from the beach, or creating a bead or chord with some seaweed wrap, you can coat them so they aren’t too rough on the skin. Shells and beach glass are nice I also like the idea of braille being worked into the design. Not just adding bumps, it can be done by creating recesses also. An asymmetrical design will add another dimension as well.
    Good luck on your project.
    Misty Hall

  12. Deborah Blake says:

    My parents worked with the blind. They loved windimes as mentioned above. We helped them make some with shells and clear fishing line. They could feel the opening in their fingers. As a bonus I was gifted with a quilt made for my first baby by them. It is priceless to me. I have lupus and will eventually be blind legally. I’m enjoying stringing beads, my daughter and I areally already sorting them in a way we hope I can continue. My immune system doesn’t allow me to leave my home very often, mostly for doctor appointments so my craft room is my paradise.

  13. Deborah, what a lovely story about the baby quilt – a true treasure. I’m glad you have a craft room for your paradise – a wonderful place to be. 🙂

  14. How about some macrame also? You can feel the knots and add shells or beads or even bells!

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