New Omaha pottery workshop adds enrichment for the visually impaired

This class is unique.
Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 6:13 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A workshop is opening up new opportunities for the visually impaired.

“It’s slimy, it’s wet, it’s easier to work with if it’s wet, it’s slippery,” says Outlook Enrichment community outreach specialist, Megan Mackie.

Mackie is talking about working with clay and is one of several students participating in Coloring Outside the Lines: Pottery Workshop at Outlook Enrichment, an Omaha non-profit whose goal is to empower people living with vision loss.

“Our group is a range of people with different visual impairments or different vision levels so... but we’ve kind of noticed it doesn’t really matter with this sort of thing,” says Mackie.

Teenager Abby Cool is another student attending Friday’s workshop. She lost her sight after chemotherapy.

“I can’t see anything out of my left eye, but then in my right eye I can’t see colors and I can’t see anything that’s further away than this,” she says as she brings a piece of clay up to her right eye.

Nebraska Arts Council artist Cathy Witt says Abby is a natural at the pottery wheel and says she encourages all students to close their eyes to let their unique creations come to light.

“I always have them start out with it lumpy and bumpy and then we center it and get it smooth and then they go through the process of understanding how to center it, but that whole time the hands and fingers are all working together,” Witt says.

According to Outlook’s website, more than 35,000 people in Nebraska report blindness or severe difficulty seeing, even with glasses.

In Omaha, more than 15,000 people live with significant vision loss. That’s why programs like this one, are especially important.

“I really enjoy doing anything with clay, anything with my hands, and it’s always been my thing,” says Cool.

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