||Juvenal Assis Alves has worked on farms all his life. “I was born on a farm in Alegre (ES) in 1926. I used to help my father, who was also a carpenter. He used to build houses straight on the ground (without foundations), and they last a lifetime. I went to primary school and because of this I became a teacher in the countryside. I think I have a knack for poetry. I’ve even published a book with verses about the things that happen around here.” When he turned 70, there was a lot of pressure from his family to move to the town of Muqui (ES). “I used to come at the weekends (some of his children live in Muqui), but it was hard to sit still, so I started to collect tree branches and play around carving them, just to pass the time.”
Mr. Juvenal is proud of his first piece”. “A snake catching a fish. Two pieces in one! I enjoyed it so much that now I have many pieces. Some of my things have even been taken to Canada”. When the neighbours cut down tree branches, they give them to Mr. Juvenal, and he always keeps an eye on the trees he’s planted himself. “I’ll show you something beautiful: a humming bird in its nest. I didn’t make it; it’s just a branch with a bit of ivy that looks like a bird. It’s a blessing from Nature.” As the national saying goes, Mr. Juvenal has done it all: he’s had children, planted trees and written a book. Everything else is a bonus. A blessing that expresses itself in Mr. Juvenal animals, saints and human figurines.