Blood and Grits is a zine conceived, designed and published by Mathew Batty. I’m happy to have a copy of beautiful work by my friends and artists: Erin Bowers, Camille Seiler, Lauren Woinski, Sean Kelly Conway, Matt Batty, Kevin Mahoney and Leda Balch and I’m honored to have a few of my photos alongside their work.
Tara + Paul, a set on Flickr.
This is one of my most favorite days. For the past 4 years we have taught surf lessons to students from Independent Living for Adult Blind. They are 100% awesome teenagers with varying levels of sight. They are learning life skills like how to get a cab, navigate to the beach and have some fun in the waves. I spent most of the day with the following students:
Ross is the fastest paddler ever, wants to be a computer programmer, has no vision, and rides waves standing up like a champ.
Austin is an incredibly respectful and sweet young man, wants to be a mechanical engineer, is legally blind but was able to see pretty well thanks to contacts, (he even got to see some dolphins today!), and also has no trouble riding wave standing up.
Katie, is curious, bright and loves the ocean, she is blind and deaf but on land she is able to wear a cochlear implant. In the ocean however, she cannot wear the implant and needs an interpreter.
The first year I took her out and we rode waves together. I don’t know tactile signing. I can only imagine how trusting she was…after the waves came, it was just her alone with someone who couldn’t really communicate with her. Today she got a little scared because she took a wave by herself first and got hit by the surfboard. She overcame her fear and we caught a few waves together and the stoke returned. Later she said that she wanted to try and stand up. We went over on the land how to pop up and balance. I then took her into the shallow water and pushed her into some whitewater and ran along side her as she rode her first waves standing up.
Thanks to these amazing kids and my friends and co-instructors for some of the most happy experiences of my life.
Drew Miller was on camera and editing with an artist’s eye and a saint’s patience. I’m told that I directed it. I did write, interview, record narration and mix audio. Aslyn Barringer narrated and local musician Sam Pacetti provided the score. Thanks to Bill Hamilton and everyone at Environmental Youth Council who made this whole project happen. Thanks to Susan Kegley at the Pesticide Research Institute for her work on the study and keeping us accurate. And finally thanks to Tiffany Finck-Haynes from Friends of the Earth who answered a lot of questions.
We premiered the video for the official press release event on June 25th at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre. There was a talk by Jordan Whitmire about best known gardening practices for pollinators (growing from organic seeds, minimizing any pesticide use, and which alternatives are safest). Bo Sterk discussed the many issues affecting bees and keepers. The Early Disclaimers played some tunes and our friends at the Yardbird made fresh biscuits served with local honey.