Thursday, January 21, 2010

James and His Craft

It is no small task to transport this furniture from Buakop to Lae. Small motor boats leave and arrive once a day and that is the only transportation. James worked under a tight timeline because the furniture had to be finished and ready to ship on Saturday, January 3 so they could be blessed at a special church service at Martin Lutheran Seminary on Sunday, January 4 in preparation for the National Synod Assembly. We were privileged to watch the entire process from start to finish and, ultimately, to see the chairs in use. It truly was a blend of technical skill and creative expression, God's gifts at work.

We had the opportunity to watch a craftsman at work during our stay. James Kelau, Manoa's husband, has been trained to make lovely bamboo furniture. He was sponsored by the Village Life School, part of the Education Department of ELC-PNG, and sent to Madang in 2004 to learn the trade from an Indonesian man. He spent two months learning this skill and has made chairs and tables, some for special occasions like a Governor's Conference, and some for friends. He was contracted by ELC-PNG to make 20 chairs and two tables for the National Synod Assembly, January 10-16, 2010, so while we were there, he worked long hours and we watched the process from raw bamboo and cane to lovely chairs. These chairs and table were used on the dais for the dignataries and international guests who attended the synod. It takes James 2-3 days to make one chair or table. It is time-consuming work and all of it is done by hand. He has two men who help him, Hans and Simeon, but James is the principle workman/artist. He has gone on to conduct classes twice in 2009, teaching others so they will have a skill and be able to work and care for their families.

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