Blind Attleborough wood turner Ian Banstead to open his workshop in hopes of inspiring others
PUBLISHED: 13:12 12 May 2017 | UPDATED: 08:08 22 May 2017
Copyright: Archant 2017
He produces beautiful items out of wood and feels the joy of a job well done.
But Attleborough wood turner Ian Banstead is a craftsman with one incredible difference: he cannot see what he is doing.
The 53-year-old, who has been wood turning for the past 10 years, said: “I have always used my hands. One of my grandfathers was a painter/decorator, and the other was a coach builder who later went into carpentry, so it runs in the family.
“I do it every day. It keeps my mind occupied.”
And now Mr Banstead wants to share his passion with others by taking part in two open-studio weekends where visitors will be able to see for themselves how he creates everything from clocks to bowls and pens.
Mr Banstead said: “I want to show people that there’s life after losing your sight.
“There’s not enough done to promote what disabled people can actually do, let alone visually impaired people.
“I also want people to see how I do it - when I take my wooden products to fairs, they often don’t believe I could have made them.
“They think I’ve brought them in.”
Mr Banstead was a qualified electrician before he lost his sight in 2002.
He suffers macular degeneration, which means he can see no detail of what is in front of him, but has retained some peripheral vision.
He learned to work with wood firstly at a course in Torquay run by the Royal Institute of the Blind, and then from Dick Waller, a wood tuner who ran Street Forge Workshops near Eye in Suffolk.
Mr Waller also modified equipment so Mr Banstead could work safely with wood in his own workshop.
He has no plans to stop wood turning, and is now aiming to create a range of slim-line pens with sports-themed clips.
Mr Banstead said he planned to donate proceeds from a breast-cancer awareness pen to a cancer support charity.
He said he was also hoping to find a volunteer who could take him to craft fairs and exhibitions, in exchange for petrol money.
For more information, visit Mr Banstead’s site at www.turnaroundgifts.co.uk.
To organise a visit to his Fairfield Drive workshop during the open days on May 28-29 and June 10-11, call him on 01953 451068.