ASL: WAITING FOR THE WORLD TO CHANGE
December 12, 2008
This video was made by DPAN - Deaf Performing Artists Network. So very cool. Check out their website.
Once upon a time - in the mid 1980's -I published greeting cards and posters in ASL. American Sign Language, working with Ann Silver, a very talented Deaf graphic designer/ activist. Through her I got to meet a lot of Deaf performers in New York City, part of a very cool, very hip, hugely talented scene. I never mastered ASL but for a while I could manage to communicate in basic rudimentary attempts and a lot of patience from my Deaf friends. Ann was a brilliant lip reader and spoke very well, so we usually relied on her skills rather than mine.
We took our line of products to the International Deaf Olympics in the mid 80's near Los Angeles. Totally fun, and I loved being surrounded not only by athletes and supporters from around the world, but being in the minority of hearing people in the vast crowd for four days. I never got to see the games because I was in our booth all the time. But it was quite the experience.
White Mare booth at the Deaf Olympics. The fingerspelling ABC poster is at the upper left. We had buttons and keychains, too, with I Love You and letters.
This was my first ASL card, done in 1983. That's my hand. White Mare Inc. was my little publishing company.
ASL I Love You. Copyright 1983, White Mare Inc. Photo by Sharon Mumby.
The next card is part of the series Ann Silver directed and designed. The photo is by George Ancona of Deaf storyteller and actor Mary Beth Miller.
Let's Escape. Copyright 1985, White Mare, Inc. and Ann Silver. Photo by George Ancona.
Mary Beth and George had worked together on a book called Hand Talk
The card we made flips open at the photo to look like this:
And here's the back of the card
The text reads:
American Sign Language is a natural language with it's own grammar and syntax. It is a beautiful & graceful visual-gestural language created by Deaf people & used widely in America.
The signs in ASL are word-like units which have both concrete & abstract meanings. Signs are made by either one or both hands assuming distinctive shapes in particular locations & executing speachified movements. The use of spatial relationships, directions, orientation & movement of the hands, as well as facial expression & body shift make up the grammar of ASL.
There were about seven cards in this series. I also made a fingerspelling poster and postcard, which I can't find. Oops. So much for archiving my own work.