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The Checkered Eye Project

People wearing this symbol have partial blindness aka low vision.

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Not a Beacon

Not a beacon

 Twice in the whole history of the CEP, I have received a request for a T-shirt bearing a large checkered eye.  I have been hesitant to provide this as it seems to be intended for a use that the checkered eye is not suited to: safety.

In the first instance it was requested by a lady whose daughter has low vision and was a horseback riding student.  The mother assured me that she would make sure the riding school was informed about the meaning of the checkered eye and that this would simply add to courtesy for her daughter and her instructors, as she was always attended.

The second time it was requested by a lady recently, who wants to wear it at the gym.  Again, she assured me that she’d do her best to make sure people at the gym understand the symbol, and that she wouldn’t be using it for safety.

I want to be very clear that the checkered eye is not meant to attract attention. It is not a beacon as is the white cane.  The checkered eye is meant to add that little bit of information (I can’t see well) in situations where the user is already engaged face to face with another person.   Got it?  K.

So here’s the humor that came out of this request: me, low vision lady, attempting to make a large checkered eye to put on a t-shirt.

First I thought I’d make an iron on.  You can get paper that you can print on with a regular computer printer, and then iron the image onto fabric.  I made the rookie mistake of ironing on the standard checkered eye.  Anything you iron on comes out as the reverse image, which is no good if it contains text.  Since I don’t know how to make reverse images with my computer, I moved on.

(This is a photo of a t-shirt bearing a backwards checkered eye.)

My second idea was “hey, a stencil! All you have to do is dab or spray paint!”  Are you thinking ahead faster than I did?  Hmmm, cutting out the stencil, that’s something that may require precise vision.  K, so I asked a friend (thanks Carina) who is artistic and fully sighted.  She took a great stab at it, but without making the thing huge, the stencil was too flimsy not to tear during the cutting process. 

All the while I was involved in attempting the D.I.Y. production, I was seeking a business that would rescue me and do just one or 2 t-shirts.  I’ve had batches of booster shirts made in the past and the unit price would come out being reasonable, but for such a rarely requested item it didn’t make sense to buy a quantity.  The novelty touristy kind of t-shirt makers were going to charge me about $50 per shirt because I wanted the image on the front and the back.  No deal! 

I told my customer that I was having trouble, and sent her some checkered eye buttons in the meantime.  Then, weeks after the initial request, Carina messaged me to say our local sports store makes t-shirts, and they’d do this type of request for about $20 a piece.  Mine turned out to be well under $20 each – score! That’s right; Scoreboard Sports in Port Elgin can make you a custom t-shirt for a reasonable price, even if you only want one.  Thanks Brad!

 (This is a photo of a black t-shirt with a pocket sized white checkered eye on one side of the front,  and a white t-shirt with a large black checkered eye centered on the back.)

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