The incredible story of blind woodturner Chris Fisher who overcame great personal adversity and now inspires people every day with the craft of woodturning. Chris and Nicola Fisher truly remind us how important creativity is for the soul. In our eyes, they are real superheroes.
Late one evening a BBC Newsvideo popped up on my news feed that made me both cry and laugh. It made me think of the concept of Kintsugi and how it is the cracks and hardships that, once healed, ultimately make us stronger. This is a story of a powerful love, creativity and inspiration.
Turning a trauma into a superpower
In 2008, Chris Fisher, lost his sight. An auto-technician and young father, Chris's life was turned upside down as the diagnosis of toxoplasmosis resulted in Chris becoming blind.
Losing his sight was undoubtedly life altering, personally and professionally. With the support of counselling from the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), Chris was helped to grieve for his sight, acknowledging that becoming blind is a great loss, akin to a bereavement.
Chris candidly shares in the video that, without the support of his family, the impact of the diagnosis could have been quite different.
Amazingly, Chris found light from the very darkness cast by his circumstances...
"I don't want my eyesight back, which might shock some people to hear, but I don't."
Creativity is a saviour
Chris has always loved horror films, and one never to shy away from a challenge, Chris wanted to have a realistic vampire stake and wondered if he might be able to make one himself. Chris committed to listening to over 600 hours of instructional videos on YouTube, by talented woodturners across the globe. Chris then purchased a lathe and with lots of care and a great deal of patience he turned his first ever vampire stake, (as pictured below on the right.)
Chris felt real pride in what he had achieved with this project and started to wonder whether there was more potential in his new-found craft and whether he could inspire others with it.
With many more months of practice, Chris steadily gained the confidence to create increasingly ambitious projects and The Blind Woodturner was born, as Chris started his own YouTube channel.
Behind every great man…
Having spent time talking with Chris, it was immediately obvious the extent to which his wife Nicola has supported him. Chris confessed that without the love and devotion of his wife Nicola there is no way his achievements would have received such recognition.
Chris and Nicola met in 2015, they were a fantastic match. Nicola is a business advisor, by profession, and together they started to work towards turning The Blind Woodturner into a brand, a business venture and an opportunity to help others.
Chris has been interviewed by Google, BBC News, Radio 5 Live and many more. He has also recently worked with the fabulous team over at BBC’s popular Money for Nothing. Chris’ wife, Nicola, has instigated and arranged every appearance and engagement. Nicola’s pride in her husband’s determination to achieve everything, and inspire others, really touched my heart.
"Someone recently called us a 'double act' that pretty much sums us up"
Inspiring future generations
Whilst perfecting his own skills and challenging his own techniques and abilities, Chris and Nicola have worked to inspire the same passion in others. Chris now works with individuals of all ages, that have physical and learning disabilities, and with his unique experience and insight is able to inspire them to overcome daily obstacles and apply themselves to practical and creative activities.
Since 2016 Chris has demonstrated his incredible skills at over 100 public events and, with the constant support of Nicola, aims to inspire as many people as possible in the future.
Their message is to help everyone understand how creating things and making things can be beneficial to your wellbeing and that ANYONE can practice these skills with the right support, guidance, and motivation.
It was such a pleasure to have the opportunity to speak with Chris and Nicola and absorb their phenomenal zest for life. We will be following the journey of this inspirational man and do our best to share his story and his unwavering positivity.
Inspired to try woodturning?
This story inspired so many emotions and thoughts in me; about the journey our lives can take and the enormous impact that creativity can have on our physical and mental wellbeing. If Chris has inspired you to try woodturning for the first time, or reignite an old passion, we have a fantastic range of woodturning workshops available across the UK.
Do you have a story to tell us?
We love hearing from individuals with a creative story. If you think you have a story that our craft-loving community would love to read- get in touch.