‘Love is Blind but Passion Opens Your Eyes’Cindy Van
The Blind Craftsman – The Story Behind Uniti’s Wooden Puzzle
It’s not every day you meet people who inspire you to do better. This story is one of them. Sponsoring Port Adelaide Football Club this year, we invented the ‘Uniti Games’, an opportunity for fans to prove they are as Super-Fast as our Super-Fast broadband. To prove they were the super-fastest they had to complete mini challenges as quickly as possible, in order to win great prizes. One of the mini games, our Uniti Logo Puzzle, has an inspiring story behind it! This puzzle was especially crafted for Uniti by talented South Aussie woodworker, Greg, from Custom Woodwork SA. But it’s what we discovered about Greg that blew us away!
We visited the amazing artist Greg on a Thursday afternoon to collect our unique custom-made puzzle. This was the first time we had met Greg in person, after commissioning the work by phone and email. To our surprise, when we asked to show Greg some photos, he replied “You do know that I’m blind, don’t you?!”. Not until then did we know Greg had lost his sight long ago. He had crafted our wooden puzzle in the shape of our logo without even seeing it!
Given the nature of his craft, this came as a great surprise. We were extremely impressed with the precision of his work, especially as our communication was merely through emails. The finished product landed on our doorstep, ready in just over a week.
What an amazing talent! So we took the opportunity to ask Greg if we could share his inspiring story with our CommUniti. Talking to him about his life story, we learnt about how his passion for wood helped him to overcome the struggles of losing his sight, and how this passion would motivate him to continue creating quality handmade pieces for his clients.
Greg started losing his sight in 1993. His vision continued to decrease until he lost his sight completely in 2011. Greg has Macular Degeneration and Retinitis Pigmentosa along with Nystagmus. He has fought a continual battle with these conditions for most of his life. Greg’s eyesight had never been brilliant, with Nystagmus being prominent in his early years.
However, it was love of wood and the ability to create unique pieces for customers that became the core motivation for Greg to continue on, despite the challenges his conditions placed on him.
I know you’re wondering, “How does he do it and do such an amazing job at it?!”. We were certainly blown away by his skills!
Greg feels the wood, his sense of touch further enhanced by his lack of sight. He also uses special aids to help him with the measuring of components. He then works with templates to create the pieces as he needs. Greg truly enjoys woodwork and using different types of wood to create the bespoke pieces his clients desire. Using the lathe, he is also able create designs that become timeless pieces.
His passion started back in high school and since 1992, a year before his sight really began to deteriorate, Greg started creating timber furniture for his clients. He continued to hone his skills and craft until he could launch his business, Customer Woodwork SA, in 2000.
Greg completely lost his sight in 2011, but the passion for his craft kept him going. “Never give up on what you love!” Greg told us. Love may be blind but it is true passion that really opens your eyes. We know Greg’s dedication certainly opened ours.
If you are looking for a talented local woodworker to create quality, hand-made pieces customised to your needs, contact Greg today at 0403 373 101.
Or visit his website at http://customwoodworksa.com/