howard woodworking.JPG

Howard Wright, left, displays his handmade bowls, vases, and many more wooden items at recent show.

Artistic Turnings by Howard Wright is more than just a small business. Woodturning, the craft of using the wood lathe with hand-held tools to cut a shape that is symmetrical around the axis of rotation, saved Wright from losing hope after a decline in his health occurred.

“I started turning 80 years ago when I was a little toddler and I have been doing it on and off ever since then. I had to stop for a while because I had a stroke in 2008 and lost the use of my right arm. I was sad because turning was one of the main things that kept me going back then,” Wright said. “Then a young man from my church asked me to teach him how to turn, and in doing so, I realized that I could still turn. I just had to be careful and modify the way that I did it. I have been using turning as therapy ever since.”

Howard was born and raised on a farm in Wellington, Ohio. He has had several careers throughout his lifetime including working as a production manager of a plant in Oberlin, Ohio for 10 years and also Premier Package Corporation for 10 years, doing engineering work for both plants.

“When I was younger, I was in the Navy and spent my tour of duty at a research facility in Philadelphia as a photographer for two years,” Howard said. “I worked in the lab and processed all of the color film from 1956 to 1957.”

“In 1973, I lucked out and went into business as a self-employed remodeling contractor in Detroit for 36 years. I remarried and told my wife that the only way I was going to be able to slow down was to get away from my clients,” he joked. “We came to Tullahoma, liked the area, and moved here then.”

He worked on a few remodeling jobs here in Tullahoma for about a year until he had his stroke, ending his remodeling career.

The stroke; however, did not bring Howard down. “I had great determination. I accepted the fact that I was partially paralyzed immediately and spent a month doing physical therapy at a rehab center,” he said. “It was there that I realized that I could do anything I wanted to do if I just persisted. There were other therapy patients who just simply gave up hope. I saw them all get sent to nursing homes and I told myself that that was not going to be me.”

It took him more than a year to learn to walk. He walked up and down his driveway every day, rain or shine, until he was able to throw his cane away and never go back.

“I do walk with a limp, but at least I get around. I raise a garden and maintain my own property,” Howard said. “Anyone that suffers such a severe downfall and decides to persist instead of feeling sorry for themselves can recover and have a good life. Our veterans are also a great example of that.”

Howard participated at the Kiwanis Craft Show and is also a vendor at Normandy’s farmer’s market during the summer. He has family in several states. They often ask him for a bowl or vase as a wedding gift or Christmas present.

 Howard has done special orders for friends and others here and there, but says he is interested in taking orders from customers. For more information, he can be reached at howbarb93@hotmail.com.

Katelyn Lawson may be reached at klawson@tullahomanews.com.

Recommended for you