After Losing His Sight, Man Finds Inspiration and Success in Woodturning
The gift of sight is not something to be taken for granted. That became crystal clear for Chris Fisher, from Lancashire, UK, who lost his ability to see 10 years ago. But the unfortunate loss has carved a new path for Fisher, giving his life new meaning in the shape of woodturning. Fisher had picked up the toxoplasmosis virus — a disease linked to eating undercooked contaminated meat and exposure to infected animal feces — rendering him blind within four weeks.
A former vehicle restoration engineer for BMW, Fisher was forced to reinvent himself to make a living. The vampire film fanatic reworked his passion into crafting a Van Helsing-esque stake out of wood. With no experience or knowledge of woodturning, Fisher listened to YouTube videos for instruction. “I listened to YouTube videos for about four months every day for many hours. I was assimilating all the information from the videos — technology, jargon, techniques, health and safety tools, equipment, etc. When I was ready and the picture in my mind was at a certain point that I was happy with, I bought some wood and tools and taught myself,” he told Caters News. Known as “The Blind Woodturner,” Fisher turned his disability into inspiration, handcrafting virgin slabs of wood into beautiful works of art. He navigates his way around his woodshop with his other senses, feeling the vibrations through touch and sound. “It did take a long time to get used to turning and I had to keep stopping and starting. I always have to keep a careful ear out just in case the wood is close to splintering or being pushed out of the turner,” he told the Lancashire Evening Post. Fisher now uses tools that he’s branded “Chris Fisher & Bamber,” named for his German Shepherd guide dog. He posts videos on his own YouTube channel “to inspire and motivate others, demonstrating that, no matter what their circumstances, it’s possible to achieve their full potential.” Fisher has done just that, handcrafting wood into hundreds of household items such as pens, bowls, and candlesticks, despite not being able to see. His fountain pen sells anywhere from $60 to $600, depending on the type of wood. A new shop, Warwick Fisher, will be launched at the end of January. You can purchase Fisher’s wooden wonders on the site.