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Blind Center cards add to the art to fundraising 


Julie Wallace would not call herself an artist, but the work she produces can only be described as art. Her pieces are small; they’re colorful sailboats and frogs, fish and whales, butterflies and pumpkins printed on equally colorful paper — cards packed together in 10-count, all of them can be found at the Blind Center of North Carolina’s gift shop.

Wallace has been a Blind Center client since 1999. As a teen, she was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a rare degenerative eye disease; by the age of 16, she was blind. With the help of Blind Center volunteer Gail Warwick, Wallace breezes through the creation of each card, first rolling a cut-linoleum block with paint, then painstakingly lining up block to paper with the assistance of a jig made by Wallace’s father, Elgin. Once paint is evenly dispersed over paper, Warwick hangs each card to dry over a makeshift “clothesline,” describing how each card has turned out in the process.

“We print them and I describe them to Julie and tell her how they look — she knows colors because she saw them before she went blind. We both like loud colors,” Warwick said. “If we hit on something that sounds good to Julie and looks good to me, we repeat those colors quite a bit.”

ON THE LINE: Printed sailboats, a “Get Well” entreaty, frogs, fish and more dry on colorful cards at the Blind Center of North Carolina. (Vail Stewart Rumley/Daily News)

For Wallace, it’s fun project, and an extension of the social aspect of the Blind Center.

“It’s interesting. The only bad thing about this is you get paint everywhere,” Wallace laughed.

The paint covers a variety of cut-linoleum blocks, most of which were made by Dottie Walker. Blind Center Director Christie Moler has added three more — a frog, a whale and a dolphin. In addition to animals, some blocks are carved to reflect more traditional greeting card themes of “Thank you,” “Get Well” or “In Sympathy.”

Use of each design can depend on the season: lately, Wallace and Warwick have focused on fish, sailboats and butterflies. Next week, as the season continues to change, they’ll move to pumpkins and fall-themed cards.

Warwick said the two are always looking for more designs. Those interested in donating a design can find linoleum for printmaking online or in craft stores. The size of the block should be 5 1/4 inches by 4 1/4 inches, with the cut design slightly smaller.

“That would be wonderful donation of someone’s time. They can work on them at home and bring them in,” Warwick said.

The cards sell for $10 per 10-pack; all sales from the Blind Center gift shop are used to support the facility and services offered there. The Blind Center is located at 219 N. Harvey St. in Washington.