How did you go blind?
I lost my sight in 2008 over a period of 4 weeks as a result of Toxoplasmosis. It’s believed that I contracted the virus as a child and it lay dormant until I was 39.
How much sight do you have?
I am completely blind and have no sight at all.
Do your other senses become more heightened when you lose your sight?
It can seem as if they do but you’re really using other senses rather than sight. I often hear someone walking into a room before a sighted person sees them – if you close your eyes and try it, you’ll see what I mean. I rely on my hearing in that instance whereas a sighted person’s predominant sense is usually their sight.
Why did you take up woodturning?
I wanted to make a vampire stake as I’m a big horror film fan. I didn’t want to whittle one though so I decided to investigate woodturning!
Were you a woodturner before you went blind?
No, I had never turned anything before I lost my sight.
How did you learn how to woodturn?
I spent months listening to woodturning videos on YouTube. I treated it like going to school and listened for hours every day until I had pictures in my mind of how to turn. Once I felt confident that I had enough information, I bought my first lathe and turned a vampire stake.
What is your favourite species of wood?
This is a tricky one! I really like turning Ash and have used it many times to great effect. Generally, I get a kick out of all the different wood types for different reasons. Sometimes it can be a beautiful fragrance from the wood or the feedback it gives me through the tools.
Why do you wear eye and face protection?
Although I’m blind, I still wouldn’t want a splinter of wood to go in my eye as it could be painful. If a piece of wood ever flew off the lathe my face shield would protect me from injury.