Handa carved this work, shaped as an abstract fish, in his small studio in the suburb of Annaka, in Gumma Prefecture, the city where he was born. He studied at Tokyo University of the Arts (Geidai), and briefly considered a career as an architect. Handa chisels, chips, cuts, hammers and polishes stone, usually black or white granite, to create powerful abstract sculpture as well as public monuments. His work is in the Kochi Prefectural Museum and the Hakone Open-Air Museum, among others. He prefers Swedish stone because it is a bit denser than Japanese, and when polished, a deeper black. Black granite, he reports, is a challenge to work with—every stroke shows. An early mistake with the hammer or chisel will eventually show up in the final polishing. You can’t hide a scar or a slip working in black granite—there is no margin for error. He wears out three pairs of gloves in the polishing phase; it takes more energy to polish well (as much as forty days) than to shape, but the polishing gives the stone warmth.