Watanabe was famous for his biblical prints rendered in the mingei (folk art) tradition of Japan. He lived a life of humble excellence, bringing together fine craftsmanship and a unique expression of story that serves as an inspiration to what we hope the Guild to be.
Early in the life of the Guild, founders Richard and Liz Caemmerer became aware of the international significance of the art of Sadao Watanabe. Rich and Liz had received calendars and prints with his woodblock art from friends living in Tokyo.
The creative-edge spirit of Watanabe’s work resonated with the Guild’s mission. To honor this connection, Watanabe was named an Honorary Guild Artist. Rich and Liz presented a small stained glass piece to him in Japan. It was a life-changing experience for them to see his humble studio and meet his wife who packed and mailed his work all over the world.
Of Watanabe, Richard Caemmerer said: “We saw the work of an artist who, largely on his own, was connecting the Gospel to his culture.”