ARTIST and writer Helene Ryles, from Sheldon, has been nominated for a national award.
Thirty-nine-year-old Helene is in the running to become Deafblind Person of the Year, impressing others with her positive attitude.
She recently exhibited her hand-made pottery in London and also enjoys sports like ice skating, sailing and rock climbing.
“The problem with being deafblind is not being deafblind itself, it is people’s attitudes,” she said.
“People think that I can’t do anything just because I am deafblind but there are other ways of doing things than just seeing and hearing.”
Helene, who lives independently with her guide-dog Jilli, was born with hearing difficulties and went deaf six-years-ago.
She began to lose her sight when she was a teenager and now wears a visor - because she’s so sensitive to light.
Experts haven’t established the cause of her disability, but it’s unlikely she will regain either of her senses.
But Helene hasn’t let this hold her back and is a keen sculptor - she started to work with clay 20-years-ago.
Her art is inspired by nature and she makes vases and ornaments, painstakingly decorated with flowers and animals.
“It is a very tactile form of art. You don’t need vision to be able to work with clay,” she explained.
In July, some of the pieces were put on show at the Touching Art exhibition and Helene has sold some for charities, such as Guide Dogs for the Blind.
The charity Sense, who have organised the awards, said that Helene had been short-listed for her “exceptional work”.
The nominees have been invited to a ceremony next Wednesday (October 6).