My paternal and maternal grandparents and my mother were deaf so my first language was American Sign Language.
Several years ago, my mother became ill and I took her to the emergency room. It was the beginning of dementia even though we were not aware of it yet.
The wait in the ER was F-O-R-E-V-E-R! and she became extremely restless.
To help keep her calm, I suggested we take pictures of her hand creating individual letters of the ABCs in American Sign Language (ASL).
She loved it and thankfully doing that passed the time.
We later printed out photos of the individual letters to spell out the names of my brothers, my mother’s cousins and her friends. We mailed them in “thinking of you cards.”
My mother enjoyed hearing from each one that they loved her special surprise gift. Sign language is beautiful and you do not have to be deaf to enjoy seeing your name spelled in ASL.
Turning Someone’s Name Into Art Using ASL
A few years later, the memory gave me the idea to give my friends a unique, personalized gift of having their names spelled out in ASL and placed in a frame. This time it was my own hand making the ABCs.
To make it look like art, I printed a photo of each hand signed letter in black and white. Then I framed them inside a black picture frame with a white mat containing cutouts for each letter.
I wrote on the back of each frame a special message about our friendship and explained that I had spelled out their name in American Sign Language.
Letter Art Industry
Since I do not have the means to share my hand art, I found an Etsy.com shop called LettersbyEmily ASL photo Art if you would like to give a similar gift.
It turns out there is a letter art industry that collect photographs from around the world to spell words. Check out Frame the Alphabet or Alphabet Photography that feature letters from London, New York, Paris and Las Vegas and a Human Alphabet.
Give the gift of their name in art form. It’s the next best thing to having their name in lights!
Names are the sweetest and most important sound in any language – Dale Carnegie