An Englishman who was robbed of his sight has since taught himself how to create stunning works of wooden art by listening to YouTube videos.
Chris Fisher, 48, learned the craft of woodturning after he decided he wanted to make himself a vampire stake, years after completely losing his sight to toxoplasmosis.
Fisher was diagnosed with the disease, which can be contracted from animal waste, in October 2008. The pathogen can sometimes lay dormant for years and Chris believes he may have picked it up as a young boy while playing.
“It did irreparable damage to my retinas,” Fisher told InsideEdition.com.
Over a four-week period, Fisher lost his vision permanently.
“The day that I was told that there was nothing they could do was obviously a very sad day,” he said. “But it didn’t affect me as much as I thought it would.”
Fisher embarked on a period of rehabilitation that allowed him to move on from the devastation and learn to how to live day-to-day again.
So how did he end up working with wood?
“Well, the woodturning happened about four years ago,” he said. “And it came about because I’m a very big horror fan, especially of the vampire genre.”
Fisher wanted to make a stake, but wasn’t about to settle for just any sharp wooden implement.
“I wanted to get something a bit more stylized and artistic so I realized that it had to be turned on a lathe but I didn’t know anybody that was a woodturner,” he explained. “So that’s how I decided to listen to YouTube and teach myself, through the medium of YouTube, to become a woodturner.”
Woodturning has helped Fisher gain a focus as he uses hand-held tools to shape a piece of wood while it rotates on a mechanical lathe. He can create bowls, candlesticks, goblets and other items.
Before purchasing his own kit and making the first cut, Fisher spent 480 hours listening to YouTube videos and tutorials online.
“I was on a mission to learn this,” he told InsideEdition.com. “I was an engineer. So I’ve always worked with my hand.”
Fisher said safety isn’t an issue because his blindness forces him to be extra careful as he works. He even suggests that being sighted might make other woodturners “complacent.”
“So, in a way, that’s made me a lot safer,” he said.
And it’s not just the love of vampire ephemera that keeps Fisher at the lathe. The father of one said he does it for his 17-year-old son Charlie, as well.
“He thinks it’s amazing and he’s very proud of me,” he said. “He loves what I’m doing and he’s a great support and a great inspiration to me too.”
Now Fisher is using his experiences to help inspire others.
“I’m doing more public speaking now and talking at business luncheons and corporate events doing inspirational and motivational talking to help business people achieve their potential,” he said.