Marin artist overcomes disability to sell work online


  • Hanna Eide uses the communications device mounted on her wheelchair while her father Hans Eide reads at their home in Novato, Calif. On Thursday, December 16, 2021 (Alan Dep / Marin Independent Journal)

  • Hanna Eide views her artwork on her Instagram account at her home in Novato, Calif. On Thursday, December 16, 2021. She was born with type 1 spinal muscular atrophy and uses electronic devices mounted on her wheelchair to operate a camera and to make his work of art. (Alan Dep / Marin Independent Journal)

  • T-shirts featuring artwork by Hanna Eide hang at her home in Novato, Calif. On Thursday, December 16, 2021 (Alan Dep / Marin Independent Journal)

  • Hanna Eide uses a text-to-speech device mounted on her wheelchair to communicate at her home in Novato, Calif. On Thursday, December 16, 2021 (Alan Dep / Marin Independent Journal)

  • Hanna Eide at her home in Novato, Calif., Thursday, December 16, 2021 (Alan Dep / Marin Independent Journal)

  • Hanna Eide sits in her wheelchair at her home in Novato, Calif. On Thursday, December 16, 2021 (Alan Dep / Marin Independent Journal)

Like many digital stores, online commerce FabQueensArt.com full of holiday-themed earrings, t-shirts, pendants and posters adorned with original artwork.

The difference: Everything for sale is created and marketed through a single joystick-like device attached to the right side of Hanna Eide’s high-tech wheelchair.

Born with type 1 spinal muscular atrophy, Novato resident Eide can only move her right hand and is unable to speak or use sign language. The device is its only communication portal.

“Be your own Fab! His website reads. “I’m Hanna Eide, and I’m a lot of fabulous things, but one of them is I’m a digital artist!”

Eide, 25, has worked with Marin County Special Education Technology Specialist Dan Phillips since he was 2 years old. Phillips is director of the San Rafael-based Technology Resource Center, a program administered by the Marin County Office of Education that provides technology solutions to improve lives. pupils in special education.

Aided by Phillips and the technology he pioneered, Eide graduated from Novato High School in 2015. In 2018, she completed a two-year certificate program in web design at Santa Rosa Junior College.

“Technology keeps getting better,” said his father Hans Eide, owner of a Novato auto repair shop. “It really helps someone like Hanna – it gives them a way to talk.”

Her mother Leo said Eide made her own medical appointments and ordered her own supplies and materials.

“She does everything in the wheelchair,” her mother said. “It’s a communication device and a computer.”

Tobii Dynavox equipment includes a controller, cell phone and tablet. Because there is a time lag before Eide’s words reach the wheelchair, she has attached a little note that says, “Please be patient. I am using a communication device.

The note accompanies the emails it sends to healthcare providers and vendors.

Since she cannot speak, Eide has to type her words on a computer keyboard, which translates the message in whatever medium she chooses. Within minutes, the system publishes the message in the spoken language or in texts or written messages.

“She’s extremely fast,” said Hans Eide. “If you or I were to do it, it would take four times as long. “

Eide, who is on a ventilator, needs constant care. When she was born, doctors said she would not live beyond 2 years.

While in bed, her position should be changed every two hours. The family has scheduled 24-hour home nurses, her mother said.

Her sister Erika, 28, recently got her license to nurse and may be able to help take care of her sister, said Leo Eide.

Despite Eide’s severe physical limitations, her mind is limitless, said Mary Jane Burke, superintendent of schools in Marin. Burke’s office oversees the county’s special education program

Burke has kept in touch with Eide over the years via Twitter.

“Hanna is really amazing !!!!” Burke said in an email, apparently borrowing Eide’s love for the exclamation points.

Eide, which launched its online store last year, said it had boosted gifts for sale on Zazzle.com and other social media for the holidays. On Instagram, she added music clips, including a clip from Survivor’s song “Eye of the Tiger” for a photo of an eye with tiger stripes in the pupil.

In recent weeks, she’s added a music video for Kim Wilde and Mel Smith’s “Rockin ‘Around the Christmas Tree,” to a Christmas tree image.

“I’ve sold a number of freebies so far,” said his avatar voice, a touch of pride noticeable among the robot-tinged words.


Comments are closed.