Tools of the (Ocularist) Trade

It has been almost 2 months since my son Nate’s left eye was severly damanged in an accident.

Nate is an inspiration. He is strong, resilient,  and feisty as ever.   Getting fitted this week for his temporary eye shell reaffirmed these traits.

Our trip to Legrand Associates introduced us to the world of the ocularist, a professional specializing in the fabricating and fitting of custom made artificial eyes. Joe Legrand, a second generation ocularist was kind,  patient and generously allowed me to snap photos in his office, or studio, as I see it.  After all he is located in the Medical ARTS Building on Walnut St.
As a mother I appreciated his kindness and compassion.

As an artist, I was drawn to the tools and materials that he will use to make Nate’s scleral shell prosthesis.

Windsor & Newton Colours….
timeless quality for Nate’s Eye Shell
These little stands are called “dobs” if I remember correctly
and were made by Joe’s assistant, cast from her finger.

Eye Kitch lurking in his plants!
A funky, phallic, palette of sorts!


  1. William
    August 4, 2011

    Hope nate feels better and that everythings ok
    Cant wait to see you next summer

  2. Nanci Hersh
    August 4, 2011

    Thanks William. He is getting used to having the temporary shell on his damaged eye. Not too fun, but hopefully after some time he won’t even know it is there. We can’t wait to see you next summer, too.

  3. Jan Small
    August 9, 2011

    Nanci, first, I am so sorry to hear about your son’s accident. Kids are so resilient, he will be fine. I’m certain because I am the mother of a boy, too. My son has an amazing 10 inch zig-zag scar from brain surgery at age nine following a golfing accident, which was really a goofing-around accident that involved a friend and a 3-iron.

    As an artist I am fascinated by the ocularist’s studio and the unique tools used to create that beautiful and personal art.

    Great post…thank you!

  4. Nanci Hersh
    August 9, 2011

    Jan, Thank you for your comment and sharing your story. You are so right, kids are resilient and in turn we are inspired by their courage and determination. I hope that your son is well and did not suffer any long term or permanent damage.

    We are fortunate to be artists and be able to look at every situation with interest and curiousity despite or inspite of the circumstances. Have been working on a large drawing resulting from the experience. Hope your work is going well. Take care and thank you again.


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