WWOS 2022: Chris Fisher

Christopher Fisher RPT is known as the Blind Woodturner and is currently the UK’s only completely blind professional and accredited Woodturner.

Born in 1969 in Eccles, Manchester, Chris lost his sight in 2008 at the age of 39, and over a period of four weeks due to Toxoplasmosis. Following a year of rehabilitation to relearn basic life skills, and after coming to terms with the impact of losing his sight – with side effects including anxiety, hallucinations and muscle spasms – Chris took up woodturning so that he could make himself a vampire stake! He’s a huge horror film fan!

Chris is a self-taught Woodturner, acquiring his initial knowledge by listening to YouTube video tutorials for over 600 hours. He turned his first commission in 2014, and became a full time self-employed Woodturner in 2018.

Chris uses both traditional and modern carbide tools and owns four lathes. His ambition is to become a sought after and respected Woodturning artist like his hero and mentor, Nick Agar. Chris specialises in creating textured sensory and tactile pieces of art and enjoys the challenge of applying colour, both freehand and using stencils.

He set up a YouTube channel to share his experiences in woodturning, and to challenge the perceptions of what people with disabilities can achieve. It has evolved into a channel with over 8000 subscribers, and Chris’ goal is to inspire others by demonstrating that anything is possible, and to show the world that having a disability isn’t the end, it’s just a new beginning.

Chris now travels around the UK giving public woodturning demonstrations, speaking about his experiences, and sharing his story, in order to inspire and motivate people, no matter what their circumstances, to achieve their full potential. His message is simple –whenever you feel like you want to give up, just keep on turning.

In 2019 Chris became the first blind Woodturner to be accepted on to the Register of Professional Turners. He is also a member of the Association of Woodturners of Great Britain (AWGB).

Chris became the first Patron for the charity, UK Men’s Sheds Association,in January 2020, an organisation that champions the Men’s Sheds movement to combat isolation and loneliness and empower local communities.

Chris has been featured on BBC North West, BBC Sunday Morning Live, BBC Reel, BBC Radio Manchester, That’s Lancashire, and on the cover of Woodturning Magazine.

Chris lives in Derbyshire with his wife, Nicola, and his Guide Dog, Bamber.