John & Anni Furniss

Featured Speakers

Saturday, June 29: 9:00AM―10:00AM PT

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Featured Speakers: John & Anni Furniss, ALA Annual San Diego, June 27 – July 2, 2024

John and Anni Furniss are a married artist couple living in Southwest Washington with their dog Pickle. John is completely blind and has been a woodworker for almost 20 years. He is a suicide survivor who is passionate about sharing his story to help others. John can often be found doing talks in local schools about mental health and blind awareness with Anni by his side. He volunteers at the Washington School for the Blind teaching woodworking to the students. Anni has been a mixed media artist including painting, photography, sculpting, and fiber arts for almost 30 years. She uses art as therapy and has a hypermobility condition. She loves spreading awareness about using art as a tool to help with mental and physical challenges. Anni worked at the Vancouver Community Library for 14 years and spent many years volunteering to organize community events such as fundraisers and art shows. Together, John and Anni have created an online community dedicated to mental health awareness, disability advocacy, and art that now has over two million followers. 

"The Blind Woodsman," available March 2024, is their first book together. It's an inspiring and motivational autobiography about a man who finds true joy after struggling with depression, drug addiction, anxiety, financial despair, and a failed suicide attempt at the age of 16. Despite being blind, John, most famously known as "the blind woodsman" is now a highly skilled woodworker creating incredible pieces of art in complete darkness. This is a story that will give hope and inspiration to those dealing with anxiety-driven stresses in their lives.


The Blind Woodsman Book Cover Image



Fox Chapel Image