Hello, I’m Louise and this year I wanted to show people that it’s still possible to create beautiful artwork with a progressive impairment like Muscular Dystrophy.
I have Limb Girdle 2C which is similar to Duchenne. My muscles have gradually lost their strength affecting almost every part of my body.
I’ve been crafting for for around 25 years and over this time I’ve had to adapt to losing the use of my body – but I’m still able to make hand crafted items.
Sometimes I have to shop around to buy products that are easier to use or decant media like glues and paints into different bottles. My grip is barely strong enough to hold a pen and I can’t bend my finger tips to pinch hold things well. I’ve got round this by using tweezers as prosthetic finger tips.
Other times I have to adopt a different method compared to someone with full hand use. Not being able to lift my arms up and moving my hands by crawling with my fingers across a surface, means I have to be very organised in my technique. e.g. Always painting an item or adding delicate details from the top down so I don’t drag my hands over these areas.
I work primarily in paper and mixed art media making dimensional greeting cards, pictures and gift card voucher / money holders.
These hand made items then go on sale in my Etsy UK shop (OhHowLovelyGifts) to raise funds for three charities that support adults living with MD. I’ve also set up a Facebook page to showcase my work and chat with buyers and crafters.
I get so much enjoyment from seeing them come together and the lovely comments from people who receive them. I work with my personal assistants who do a lot of the practical things for me. They find the materials (I point to photos of my materials kept on my phone), pass me items, open bottles and feed things through my cutting machine. Describing what I need is very tiring so it can take me many days to make a greeting card – often over a few weeks. It might be slow going but it’s incredibly rewarding for both of us.
When I lost the ability to breathe properly and started using a ventilator, the nose piece kept blowing my paper and art materials across the table! It’s funny the first time round but not when your working with fine powders!! My husband adapted it for me so it blows away from my work surface. Sometimes you have to think of ways around things – do things differently through invention and modification.
I would encourage anyone to have a go at paper crafting because of all the benefits it can bring. Creating art is good for the mind, gives a sense of accomplishment and is immensely enjoyable .
The three charities I’m supporting are:
- Muscular Dystrophy UK
- The Neuromuscular Centre
- DMD Pathfinders