Stylized black and white image of Kurt rising from a bluish purple band; wind blowing through his long hair and a bowl spinning above his upturned left hand.  Titled The Hairy Potter with his motto: "If you don't see what you want, he can probably make one materialize for you."

I have been working with clay for more than ten years.  I was introduced to the ceramic arts when I began college in 1990.  My previous working incarnation had been working as a professional chef in the Chicago area.  I began losing my eyesight due to proliferative retinopathy and needed to find a creative outlet. 


While pursuing academic credentials I learned that the tactile nature of clay offered me a way to continue my creative expression in a new medium.  It evolved from creating art as a chef that lasted until somebody ate it, to creating pieces that people can enjoy before and after their food is consumed.


Pottery has literally saved my sanity.  Having emotionally and physically survived some harrowing events in my life, the opportunity to become “centered” while working with clay has helped me maintain a positive focus.  Going to the studio, and sharing my work with others, helps keep me connected to people in a way I might not be able to otherwise.


The development of this site is a tangible demonstration of the work I have been involved with for years.  I have endeavored to make the  content as accessible to all visitors as possible, so as to engage people regardless of their functional abilities.  Other examples of my work applying concepts of universal design can be seen at accessumbrella.comRead an excerpt and my biography below.

A symetrically round piece that has a slightly curved flange like a plate.  The rim is rounded which has accentuated the results of the glaze.  From the rim toward the center: an electric blue halo around a dark blue ring.  Most of the surface looks like pink gasses of a galaxy swirling in dark blue space.

Luminescent Cosmos 16 inch platter 2007

Two cups with flared lips to allow for easy drinking, wider shoulders that increase capacity, and narrow waists for easy handling.  Dark purple/blue at the rims fading to lighter purple toward the feet.

16 and 12 ounce “pints”

The same two purple/blue pints layed on their sides to reveal the names of the recipients that have been engraved on the bottoms.

The same 16 and 12 ounce “Pints” customized for Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi Trucks

“We approach training from a positive, solutions-focused perspective. We believe that a relaxed training environment allows participants the opportunity to ask questions that may have previously been uncomfortable. No one should leave a training session feeling guilty, overwhelmed, or angry. Our intent is to raise the comfort level of all staff members when interacting with people who have disabilities, allowing them to better serve all customers. We use highly interactive training modalities which reach audience members on multiple levels, and are designed to communicate factual information while facilitating the development of an emotional investment in disability issues.”

Picture of Kurt at the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy wearing Italian leather jacket and shades, with hair pulled back. He is sitting in a gondula with the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute in the background.

Kurt F. Kuss is an Associate Partner of Access Umbrella, Inc., a Boston-based accessibility and diversity consulting firm. He dedicates his professional expertise and personal experiences to assist academic and cultural institutions, retail establishments, professional training organizations, and corporate entities in their pursuit to advance and strengthen services to all consumers - particularly those who have disabilities.

 

His demeanor and knowledge create an environment where people are put at ease, invited to ask questions, and persuaded to consider their own experiences during future interactions. He uses a synergistic training approach designed to communicate factual information while facilitating the development of an emotional investment in disability issues. Participants are encouraged to take ownership of presented information and incorporate it into a new way of behaving.

 

During the twelve years prior to losing his vision in 1989, Mr. Kuss trained and worked as a professional chef in the Chicago area. His experiences in the hospitality industry acquainted him with providing the best possible service to ensure customer satisfaction.

 

Mr. Kuss received his B. A. in Human Services with a concentration in Substance Abuse Counseling from National-Louis University, Evanston, IL., and his Master's in Social Work from Loyola University, Chicago. He has practiced as a Licensed Social Worker and a Certified Addictions Counselor. These credentials and clinical experiences have given him professional insight into basic human behaviors, and the impact that internalized attitudes can have on a workplace environment.

 

Mr. Kuss has provided customer service training to the Chicago Mayor's Office On People With Disabilities. He is a co-author of several articles including; "Breaking Down Barriers: Inclusion of People With Disabilities Through Creative Strategies of Universal Design" in Diversity and the Recreation Profession, Venture Publishing, 2000, and "Interact Positively With Co-workers Who Have Disabilities", in the Cultural Diversity at Work Journal,1999. He has appeared as a Subject Matter Expert on a diversity training video entitled Service Savvy: Providing Outstanding Service in a Diverse World, Learning Journey, Inc. 2004.

 

Mr. Kuss has participated on numerous panel discussions concerned with universal design including Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) conferences in 1998 and 2001; the Western Museum Association conference in 2001; and during the Designing for the 21st Century II conference in Providence, RI. 2000. He has conducted training on issues of access and universal design for the FleetCenter, Boston; the U.S. Mint, Philadelphia; the Smithsonian Institution; the American Museum of Natural History; and the Greater Boston Visitor's and Convention Bureau. He has developed a program for describing live performances of opera for patrons of the Opera Company of Philadelphia.

 

Mr. Kuss has been a member of the Community Advisory Board for the Public Television Station WGBH in Boston. He served as the Graduate Council President for Guiding Eyes for the Blind in Yorktown Heights, NY. In preparation for campus improvements, he served on the Special Needs Advisory Board for the College of Lake County in Illinois, and consulted on issues of disability access for the City of Chicago's Taxi and Limousine Driver Training School. He is a member of the Greater Boston Convention and Visitor's Bureau. Currently, Mr. Kuss serves on an Advisory Board for a children's television program produced by Scholastic Entertainment.