Southwest Vibe

I began turning in October 2012 as therapy for a minor brain injury I sustained in a car accident in March of 2011. I received a minor concussion in the accident but had pretty severe Post Concussion Syndrome. Headaches, trouble focusing and concentrating. My wife wanted to take a vacation and I wasn’t helping choose anything. She tossed a course catalog for a place called John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina at me and said to “just pick something I’d like to do”. Folk School…but I don’t want to be a hippie, honey!! Ok, I said that last part on the inside. I wanted to take blacksmithing but was pretty sure St. Louis County wouldn’t let me build a forge in the backyard if I ended up liking it. I settled for Woodturning because I was fairly sure I could pick a lathe out of a product catalog if I needed to. Fairly sure. We went and I really didn’t feel well. Classes started and I really didn’t want to be there. My head was pounding and I was just going through the motions…figured I’d get through an hour or two then go back to the room and lay down. The instructor had us put a spindle blank between centers, pick a tool and mess around for a bit. Just to get the feel for things. My head was really hurting but I figured we spent the money and I needed to at least try. Now, I doubt this is what actually happened but it’s how I remember things… The second the gouge touched the wood, my headache stopped. I swear, it just stopped. Next thing I knew it was lunch time and I didn’t want to turn off the machine. Before the week was over, I had a wobbly old mid ‘80s vintage Craftsman lined up from Craigslist and picked up the $45 turning tool set from Harbor Freight when we got home. Have been addicted ever since and I know this not only helped me finally recover from a brain injury but has also made me even sharper, mentally, than before.

- Jeff Hornung

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