BLOOM Magazine is a resource that was put together by the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Foundation in order to provide insight to parents of children with different abilities. This is one of our favorite interviews yet as it is a very accurate and thorough overview of the beginnings of our studio. Read the full article by clicking this link.
The interviewer, Megan Jones reached out to the first advocate for this idea back in 2010, John-Paul Austring. Here is a bit of his perspective taken from the interview:
By contrast, he says, the Alleles covers feel like an empowering form of personal expression. “A prosthetic is a medical, utilitarian device,” he says. “It’s something that’s done to you. With these covers though, you’re turning the tables.”
John-Paul feels a sense of pride when he wears his covers, and a willingness to embrace his disability. “People don’t choose to lose limbs or get prosthetics,” he says. “But now you can choose to put something artful and beautiful on it. That becomes part of the healing process.”
Best of all, he says, the intricate designs have changed the way strangers interact with him. In the past, he says, people would stare at his missing limb, or ask him prying, personal questions about what happened to his leg. He felt singled out, objectified. And most days, he had no desire to rehash the painful experience of having cancer with people he barely knew.
With the covers though, the conversation shifted. Suddenly, people were complimenting him on the exciting designs. He could talk about his style, rather than his prosthetic. It was a much better icebreaker.
“Some days, I still struggle with the idea that my disability is a sign of weakness to others,” he explains. “This cover helps me get away from that. It shows I’m owning my disability.”
…“What people don’t understand sometimes is that everyone—regardless of ability—cares about how they look,” Ryan [ALLELES co-founder] says. “Everyone has a way they want the world to see them.”
Thank-you BLOOM Magazine for the great overview of our studio. xx