Friday, May 24, 2013
Blind Man Carves Bowls from Exotic Woods
A condition caused facial spasms and severely impacted Carey Monacelli’s vision nine years ago. It ended his career as a mechanic, but began his career as a master carver.
Carey Monacelli is an amazing woodworker whose beautiful bowls carved from exotic woods sell at local galleries for $100 and up.
But Monacelli has a special challenge as an artist-he’s considered legally blind.
Nine years ago, the Anchorage resident woke up with a frightening realization, he couldn’t see.
“I was bumping into walls and the pressure behind my eyes was bringing tears,” says Monacelli. “I had no idea what was wrong!”
Monacelli was diagnosed with a neurological condition called Dystonia that causes facial spasms and severely impacts his vision. Sunlight is particularly painful for him.
“I could barely go outside,” says Monacelli, “and for almost six months I didn’t even leave my apartment.”
Fortunately, Monacelli found his way to the Alaska Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, where he was enrolled in a program to learn woodworking, something he had never tried before.
“I knew nothing about wood then. Now I know almost everything,” says Monacelli.
Nine years later, Monacelli has become a master woodcarver. He does all the work himself and sometimes uses tools that have been adapted for those who are visually impaired.
He credits the center for giving him support and encouragement as well as a venue to sell his work. He says they helped him to “see” the talents he never knew he had.