The art of the chair maker: A persistent craftsman carries on his craft as he nears his 100th birthday!

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Mr. Yiannis is a traditional chair maker and farmer from Arsos, Limassol. He has lived there for almost 100 years, always prosperous and creative. The authenticity of his smile and the tireless muscle memory of his hands make one wish they had lived his life, despite his endless hours of work and the difficulty of village life in the past century.

He was born in January of 1924, and at age 13 and a half, he followed the path of most children of the time and took up an apprenticeship with a local chair maker. By the age of 15, he had learned the craft well, carving wood and weaving the wicker made with reeds from Akrotiri. In fact, he was making chairs with such skill that people from the surrounding villages would seek him out for his work.

Like most village residents at the time, he was also a farmer, plowing his field with his horses for 55 years. He never abandoned his chair making craft, however, not even as he nears a century of life. When he began weaving chairs, he did so in order to support his family. Now, his motivation is no longer making a living, but rather the pride he feels for his creations.#

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The devotion craftsmen once had for their work is difficult to come by today. For 80+ years, Mr. Yiannis has not stopped weaving chairs, making sure they are more than a handy household object, but rather an ornament for the home. At the same time, his craft makes him an integral part of the community, as he continues to make a contribution at the age of 97, by fixing the neighborhood chairs.

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The skill and experience he has gained over the years allows him, even with his weakened strength at the age of 97, to make beautiful and durable chairs. The movement of his hands as he handles the wicker is almost like a ritual that transforms a cheap and simple material into a true work of art. His craft gives value to wood and wicker, and at the same time, provides him with some invaluable: a reason and a way to live proudly for all he has accomplished in his full life.