Craft clever

2010-06-11 00:00

THE manufacturing sector has undoubtedly seen tremendous changes in the production of goods since the advent of technology.

Manual craftsmanship has been replaced by complex machinery, ensuring that a larger quantity of goods, such as furniture, is produced at a rapid pace.

But what if artistic fulfilment is the motive behind the craftsmanship, such as in the case of Hugo Partridge, the 55-year-old Hilton-based carpenter?

To Partridge, the owner of HP Joinery, who has been a craftsman since the age of 16, technology might be producing a competitive edge in the furniture-making business, but getting the value in manual­ artisanship is what drives his will as opposed to competing in the mainstream industry.

“Getting my crafts to retailers is not my line of work,” Partridge told The Witness. He said that serving the upper-class market is his priority because orders for his crafts come largely from that group.

He recently clinched a deal with Michaelhouse, the Anglican Diocesan­ College of Kwa- Zulu-Natal­, which will see him supplying 100 wooden chairs for the college chapel. Each chair will be specially carved with a St Michael’s cross.

His crafts range from custom-made chairs to tables and doors. Producing one item takes up to two days to complete.

Partridge said that his designs are largely dependent on the needs of his clients.

“I listen to people’s ideas and then create something that suits the plan of their houses,” he said.

It doesn’t matter whether he uses­ mahogany, ebony, pangapanga, kiatt, chamfuta or hardpear timber, artistic fulfilment is his quest.

“I import some of the timber from  Malawi­,  Mozambique  and Angola­,” said Partridge.

His next step entails him branding his products with a partridge.

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