Recently, Kirstin Ervin of Touch Art sat down with local sight-impaired artists Suzanne Gibson and Lynda Lambert to discuss their upcoming exhibition of recent work in New Brighton, PA. Below is a little background on the artists and a snippet of their conversation.

Suzanne Gibson is a painter who has owned and operated Rivers Edge Studio and Gallery in New Brighton, Pennsylvania for the past 4 years. She began losing her sight about 6 years ago due to Stargardt disease, which has caused her to lose most of her central vision.

A section of "Ilsa Butterfly Garden", a textile piece by Lynda Lambert

A section of “Ilsa Butterfly Garden”, a textile piece by Lynda Lambert

Lynda Lambert is an exhibiting artist and retired arts and humanities professor from Geneva College. She is a member of the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh and Group A at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts (PCA). Lynda lost most of her vision 5 years ago due to Ischemic Optic Neuropathy, a stroke-like condition.

Suzanne and Lynda are planning an upcoming exhibition of their recent work, “Vision: REvision” which will debut March 7, 2014 at the Merrick Art Gallery in New Brighton. The show will travel to six locations over two years and be accompanied by a book explaining their stories and artistic process.

Both women sat down with me to share their stories of finding new ways to make art after vision loss, and the many positive and surprising aspects of this creative journey.

"Trombone", a painting by Suzanne Gibson

“Trombone”, a painting by Suzanne Gibson

Touch Art: When did you start making things?

Suzanne Gibson: I made art very early on. I had very supportive parents and our house had a painting done by my great grandfather. I went to school for commercial art and gleaned any information I could about other artists and art, anything I could get my hands on. I’ve usually worked as a realist painter, in acrylics.

Lynda Lambert: As a small child I made potholders and sold them in my neighborhood, using the money I made to make more potholders! My mom taught me embroidery and I taught myself how to knit. I have both a BFA and MFA in Painting and studied with Akiko Kotani (PCA’s 2013 Artist of the Year).

I’ve always made fiber art, weaving and also made enormous paintings and giant prints from woodcuts. I was always working in a few genres at a time and having those disciplines feed each other. I’ve always worked in a series.

To read the full interview, check out Touch Art’s website. Touch Art is a series of professional art-making workshops with specially trained teaching artists at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts for people who are blind or visually impaired. It was funded through a Sprout Fund Seed Award in June of 2013.