A 90 year old man mourning the loss of his wife seemed to be in a daze on how to live his life without her. His daughter encouraged him to take an artistic hobby that would help while away his time. Now, seven years after he began wood carving, Takehisa Saito is now ready to showcase his works in an exhibition at Kanagawa Prefecture’s Chigasaki City Library.
His 70 year old daughter, Tamiko, encouraged him to start the hobby. In 2006, she requested her father to create a doll from a piece of wood she found in the garden. Saito came up with a better idea and carved a bear instead. According to Tamiko, “It was such a cute little bear. The whole family fell in love with it. My father was happy with the favorable response, and that got him started.” Initially, he created only animal figures using a chisel, wood file and an electric saw from barks and branches he found at a riverside near his house. When his grandchild suggested to take up figures from children’s classics like Guri to Gura and 14 Hiki no Nezumi (“Family of 14 mice”), he obliged.
His works were featured in a private show in Chigasaki for three days in 2012 and it attracted more than 100 visitors a day. A bi-monthly “slow-lifestyle” magazine, Kurashi no Techo, featured him and his works, after which, his fan base grew and he even started to receive fan mail. Saito does not consider his wood carving as work and oftentimes, if he sees a person really like his work, he gives it away, and has given out a total of 300 pieces already. Tamiko is very happy with the effects his hobby has on her father. ‘”It’s just amazing how his talent blossomed after he turned 90,” she said. “And I see him getting stronger and happier each year.” For Saito’s part, he described his art as interesting, “I never get bored because there are so many new challenges.” He added, “Every day is exciting.”
[via Asahi Shimbun]