In a small basement on East Sycamore Street, German Village resident Dennis DeVendra uses his hands and the sound of his tools to create various wood works on a lathe -- a bowl, a pepper mill.

In a small basement on East Sycamore Street, German Village resident Dennis DeVendra uses his hands and the sound of his tools to create various wood works on a lathe -- a bowl, a pepper mill.

Nearly every weekend, he runs his rough hands across spinning wood, feeling the shapes.

Watching him work, no one would guess he is blind.

The 55-year-old information technology manager is an aspiring woodturner, and despite some setbacks he has pushed forward with his dream to turn his hobby into a full-time profession.

DeVendra learned he would go blind when he was 21 years old. Now, more than three decades later, he has some peripheral vision.

Still, DeVendra is quick to point out that he doesn't want his disability to define his career.

"If you are not going to pick yourself up, who else is going to do that?" DeVendra said in between working pieces of wood. "It's about drive, it's about motivation, it's about having the passion to do something. I want this to work. I want to be known. I want to have my work appreciated. I want to be good, not for a blind personI want to be good."

DeVendra started working with a lathe four years ago. He has always had an affinity for woodwork and said he simply fell into woodturning.

But staying with the craft wasn't easy. There were people who questioned whether he would be able to create varying works. DeVendra himself nearly stopped after he became bored making wooden pens.

After a friend from New York taught DeVendra to make bowls, his passion was reignited. He wanted to push forward, and that project came in the form of a pepper mill.

"I wanted to continue to advance," DeVendra said. "I wanted to make a pepper mill. Everybody was telling me, 'I don't know. There is so much measurement involved. It's going to be so difficult for you to make a pepper mill.'"

DeVendra became choked up describing the work that went into his first pepper mill. It was time well spent, as it showed his fellow woodturners he had both the ability and the desire to progress.

To set the stage: DeVendra was at meeting of the Central Ohio Woodturners, a group of people he described as coming from a diner out on U.S. Route 33 - farmers and truck drivers. Each member was participating in a type of show-and-tell of their latest works.

"I stepped forward and (a fellow woodworker) described it and I got a round of applause," DeVendra said, pausing to compose himself. "It was just like I have made it."

With help from organization members, DeVendra received a grant to study with Robert Rosand, a master woodturner from Pennsylvania. Rosand helped DeVendra through four projects and help push him toward a more artistic form.

"It was more than just a grant -- it was actually finding someone who would be willing to work with someone who can't see," DeVendra said. "When I went to see Bob, it just continued to evolve."

With Rosand, DeVendra learned how to hollow wood for making boxes and other projects. He also learned that the thing that had hampered him at times could be an advantage.

"I'm liking the hollowing," he said. "I think I have an advantage over people who do see. It's very difficult, but for me, it's the way I turn anyway."

DeVendra is a member of the German Village Art League. A league exhibition is scheduled for May at Caterina Ltd.

DeVendra's Web site is www.blindwoodturner.com.