Arasimowicz, Theodore - News Article
News Article from 1976, highlighting Theodore Arasimowicz' work as a blind caner.
Blind Craftsman Grateful He Still Has Healthy Legs
WETHERSFIELD, Conn.(AP) — Theodore Arasimowicz, a blind craftsman who often spends 18 hours a day on his feet, says he's grateful he was born with healthy legs.
Arasimowicz, 59, reseats rockers, family sidechairs and "Ice cream parlor chairs" by the practice of caning. He works in the basement of his Wethersfield home, which is stacked with bundles of flat reeds and rush.
"It's getting to be a lost art," says Arasimowicz, as he weaves the wicker material in an elaborate pattern on an old chair frame.
He says the craft isn't lucrative, but it's enjoyable work with a steady demand. Much of the recent interest in caning has resulted from a renewed enthusiasm for restoring old furniture.
"It isn't something you can learn overnight," says Arasimowicz, "You have to put in a lot of hours in order to make it worthwhile." He adds that few persons are willing to take the time to learn the complex techniques because of the sometimes tedious nature of the work.
But he says he doesn't mind the long hours because he reads while he works.
For Arasimowicz, reading is listening to "talking books" of recorded literature produced by the Library of Congress. In addition to receiving nearly every recorded book, he also receives recordings of Readers Digest and Sports Illustrated magazines.
I probably read more books a week than most people," he figures.
The seven-part caning process begins with drilling holes in the chair frame. The wet reeds are woven through the chair from front to back and then from side to side, with subsequent diagonal layers added to form a complex pattern.
Arasimowicz, a New Britain native, was raised on Fishers Island, N.Y., where his eyesight began to deteriorate while he was still in school.
He worked with a contractor for nearly 20 years before suffering a ruptured disc in 1952.
While recuperating in Hartford Hospital, he learned about the state Vocational Rehabilitation Service. He look a job with the Connecticut Institute for the Blind and learned caning there from the late Burton Beavon.
Arasimowicz was in charge of the Institute's broom shop until the trade department closed in 1965. He then set out on his own, supporting his wife Myra and their daughter Janet, now 14, with the caning business from their suburban Hartford home.
View the original newspaper article: Blind Craftsman Grateful He Still Has Healthy Legs
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