Blind at Work: The Mosaic Artist

Blind at Work: The Mosaic Artist



I want someone to look at my mosaics and go,
"Oh man, that is just one of the most wonderful things I've ever seen." I don't want them to go, "Oh, these are pretty
good for a blind lady." I am Mary Dignan and I am a mosaic artist
from Sacramento, CA. I've always loved mosaic art. When I was working on Capitol Hill in Washington,
DC, one of my favorite getaway things to do was to walk over to the old Library of Congress
and look at all the beautiful mosaics. I was born deaf. My parents had to fight the system to get
me mainstreamed in school. This is 1959. There's no Americans with Disabilities Act. I struggled in the beginning but I caught
up. I graduated in the top half of my class. When I was 20 years old and a junior at Santa
Clara University, I was told I had Retinitis Pigmentosa. All I knew was, I didn't hear all that well
and I was doing just fine. I figured, okay, fine. I'll deal with it. I think, in a way, learning how to adapt to
the deafness has made it easier to adapt to the blindness. The real story behind every mosaic is that
something was found. Stained glass, ceramic tile, broken flower
pots, dishes, ball chain, petrified wood. Working with things that are broken, you take
what you have and you go with the flow and you let it transform into something else. After my brain tumor surgery, I was completely
shattered. I went from being a water and public agency
attorney, environmental attorney to a disabled person. As I picked up the pieces of my life and put
myself back together I learned through the mosaic process, that what I was putting back
together was pretty good. If I were not dealing with Deaf-blindness,
brain tumor wackoness and everything else, who knows what I would be doing. I really don't know that I'd be any happier
than I am now. I don't care if I can't see any of it. I'm determined to have a good time anyway. I'm determined to have a good life anyway.

2 thoughts on “Blind at Work: The Mosaic Artist

  1. Very talented Mary!! You overcame your disability with flying colors and if your disability brought you to this art form than how lucky for us. Beautiful work.

  2. It was enlightening to hear her say "I am determined". In Dubai, we now refer to people with disabilities as people of determination. They truly are just that!

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