Crafting a living

2015-11-18 06:00
MICHAEL PIENAAR, a woodworker and furniture maker from Bloemanda, is giving his community another option in buying quality furniture.  Photos: Boipelo Mere

MICHAEL PIENAAR, a woodworker and furniture maker from Bloemanda, is giving his community another option in buying quality furniture. Photos: Boipelo Mere

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IT has not always been easy for Michael Pienaar to finally have a set of furniture displayed at the front of his mother’s house, but he quotes the saying, “desperation and resilience have always been a big source of great ideas”.

Pienaar himself, who is a woodworker and furniture maker from Bloemanda in Galeshewe, reveals that he had no choice but to start something using his knowledge and quick grasp of woodwork, as he was unemployed.

He is focused on showing his community what is meant by “local is lekker”.

He elaborates on his stratergy of attracting people to buy quality, affordable and locally-made furniture instead of opting for material that he regards as of poor quality and that only lasts for three months before falling apart.

It all started at a previous employer where Pienaar was a gardener and his employer was someone who used to fix things including the restoration of pine furniture.

“My previous employer saw my interest and showed me how to mend wood and later lent me his jigsaw and that is how I made my first room divider.

“I later bought myself some of the necessary tools,” said Pienaar.

“I got my first order when one day people saw me carrying a chair I had made for myself and they showed interest. They then placed an order and through them I got other references,” continued Pienaar.

Pienaar said that business was, however, very slow as he did not have someone who could market his work.

He said his desire was to see his furniture displayed and sold in towns. He believes his products are very strong and can withstand pressure and do not buckle under weight like the new furniture imported from China.

“I need a market to sell more of my work and in that way I can be able to employ and train unemployed youth in our area. I know there is a market out there and this business can grow bigger if marketing is done correctly,” emphasised Pienaar.

Currently Pienaar is being assisted by his brother. His wish is, however, to empower unemployed youth in an effort to transfer his skills.

“If I can get enough orders I will then be able to attract serious-minded young people to my business. This will also help my community to shy away from buying cheap and weak furniture.

“For now it is very expensive for me to make furniture and it remains on display for a long time. I will carry on, however, hoping that buyers will appear and buy my things,” explained Pienaar.

On display on the street outside Pienaar’s mother’s house, is a beautifully handcrafted kitchen-size table and four strong chairs with a unique design.

He also pointed out the unique features on the completed side tables and one of the bar chairs that is also available.

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