Logo: American Artist Chloe Dee Noble
Article written by: Dave Nordstrand
Photographs by Dave Nordstrand
Image: Chloe Dee Noble of Carmel created the sculpture "Beautiful Dreamer" in honor of the AIDS victims she met at the SanFrancisco Proctor Eye Center. Noble lost much of her vision after being bit by a brown recluse spider, and she aims to help raise
PACIFIC GROVE - A young man shaped in gold-colored bronze rests his head on the coolness of polished black granite.
Artist Chloe Dee Noble called her sculpture "Beautiful Dreamer". She created it to benefit people with vision loss, which she herself suffers.
"The energy to create the sculpture , though, came through my fingers. It's almost as if it unfolded on its own.", Noble said.
Four years ago, a brown recluse spider bit Noble. Its poisons spread, darkening her world.
"It bit me in the middle of the night on the tip of my nose," she said. "I woke up in terrible pain, like somebody had socked me."
The bite left her sightless for a time. That experience generated empathy for people with vision problems, including people with AIDS who lose their sight.
Beautiful Dreamer is to be sold for $6,000. The money will benefit the non-profit Blind & Visually Impaired Center of Monterey County, which faces an $80,000 shortfall this year.
Though based in Pacific Grove, one-third of the center's 360 clients live in Salinas.
Beautiful Dreamer rests on white lace near the center's entrance. People, sighted and non-sighted, stop to touch it.
"They're moved by the story, too", said Jeannie Cordero, program director.
Noble arrives. She's learning Braille. She has no sight in her right eye and only three-quarters sight has returned in her left.
"I feel very fortunate to have that," she said.
The brown recluse spider carries a violin-shape mark near its head. It bit Noble at a house in Los Angeles. It left two tiny puncture wounds.
"I looked in the mirror," she said. "My nose was like a big purple grape."
The spider was still on the pillow, and she captured it in a jar, packed ice against the pain and rushed to the emergency room.
By then, her face looked like "an iron skillet".
"You couldn't see my features," she said, "I was in the hospital a couple to three weeks and on outpatient basis for three months, receiving daily IV in treage. They bombarded me with drugs."
Because the bite was so near the brain, doctors feared Noble would not survive.
The poison damaged her optic nerve. She returned in the hospital every day for three months for antibiotic drip treatments.
After returning to her home in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, Noble continued treatment at SanFrancisco's Proctor Eye Center. A year later, some vision returned to her left eye.
Many of the San Francisco's center clients were young men. Noble especially liked one named Tom. One day, Tom was not at the clinic.
"They said he had died," she said. "They said he had AIDS and that most of the young men in the waiting room had AIDS.
"I had not been aware that when you have AIDS, you can also lose your vision because your immune system is weakened. I found it totally heart-breaking that they have to deal both AIDS and blindness."
Noble promised herself that if she got better; she would do something for them.
That is the inspiration behind Beautiful Dreamer.
A pair of diamond earrings go with the sculpture. One earring goes on the work. The other is worn by the owner or is used "simply as a prayer for healing," Noble said.
The sculpture is one in an edition of 90 with 10 artist proofs. Noble's long-term goal is to raise $1 million to help blind centers and AIDS research.
-- MORE INFORMATION --
To find out more about the free services offered by the Blind & Visually Impaired Center of Monterey County or to see Beautiful Dreamer, call 831.649.3505
Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday thru Friday.
Services include Braille instruction, "mobility" cane instruction and getting around on the bus, "access technology" such as screen magnification and a Low Vision Support Group.
The center's Web site is
Artist Chloe Dee Noble's website:
The center is located at 225 Laurel Avenue in Pacific Grove. A non-profit organization established in 1971.
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