The 67-year-old deftly cuts a plank from a massive log utilizing a storey-high band saw. “We are probably the few, if not the sole, people still carrying it out in Hong Kong,” he tells visitors.
It had been a thrill to discover Wong at work and tour his ten thousand sq ft sawmill, chock-a-block with assorted logs of various species, age and sizes. But just a couple decades ago, timber businesses like Chi Kee were common.
Wong and his awesome seven siblings matured playing with their father’s lumber yard, Chi Kee Sawmill & Timber, which began operations in North Point in 1947 before relocating to Chai Wan and after that its current site in 1982.
Nevertheless the timber business in Hong Kong has steadily declined in recent decades as cheap, Furniture shop in Hong Kong became easily available and manufacturing shifted to mainland China. Chi Kee is a rare survivor inside the twilight industry.
This has given Wong more hours for his personal pursuit of sculpture and carpentry. However, he is a lot busier recently after his business stumbled on public attention among the first slated to become cleared to the controversial North East New Territories Development Plan.
Intrigued artists and design students started to seek him out being a previously untapped resource on local wood crafts, and before long he was receiving school visits and holding woodworking workshops.
As the fate of his factory is uncertain (he hopes to be relocated to your suitable site), Wong is delighted it has been drawing so much buzz.
“They are crafts and livelihoods worth preserving,” he says. “We must look at a society’s sustainability; placing buildings can only get you up to now.
“When I’m too busy to hold workshops etc, I share my knowledge on our Facebook page which my daughter set up to me. I discuss everything, from what various kinds of wood are ideal for to utilizing different tools along with the wisdom behind techniques like mortise and tenon joints [whenever a cavity is cut into a piece of timber to slot in another with a protruding ‘tongue’]. The page has grown to be quite popular.”
However, artist Wong Tin-yan attributes the fascination with Chi Kee and its owner just as much into a revival in woodworking among younger Hongkongers as opposition to the government’s development plan and support for small companies.
An art complete Chinese University, Wong Tin-yan credits outfits for example street art collective Start From Zero and SiFu Wood Works for promoting craftsmanship and interest in woodworking, especially among younger people.
Lung Man-chuen of Mr Lung’s Wood Workshop is actually a pioneer on this movement. The 83-year-old master craftsman started running classes with the help of St James’ Settlement, and possesses since rekindled many people’s appreciation of traditional wood crafts. Now, Lung’s new workshop in To Kwa Wan teems with students wanting to figure out how to make basic pieces of furniture, for instance a rustic, nail-free bench. Among the latest to talk about their delight and data about handcrafted items is Saturn Wood Workshop, started by two graduates from Baptist University.
Wong Tin-yan, too, helped fuel the renewed curiosity about dealing with wood. He started creating large-scale animal sculptures using bits of discarded wood while still at university. His school was under renovation during the time, which gave him usage of lots of discarded planks and pallets. The piles of rejects reminded him of animal skeletons, Wong says, and the man has since created various installations for your Hong Kong Art Biennial, malls, museums and art galleries.
They are crafts and livelihoods worth preserving. We need to think about a society’s sustainability; placing buildings is only able to get you up to now.
“Also i create a indicate host [woodworking] workshops at schools. I want students to feel for themselves specially in this materialistic world what it’s like to make one’s own furniture,” he says. “To create can be a human instinct and there’s lots of enjoyment available as a result. People are so bored from the homogeneity [of what’s available] which they crave something different. They desire something unique and creating your personal is probably the ways. And creating is likewise among the best strategies to challenge society’s existing or mainstream value.”
Over the past 2 years, Wong Tin-yan has been specifically adding to a fortnightly column on woodworking for Ming Pao Sunday, introducing different artisanal brands and crafts people in Hong Kong and Taiwan, where there is also a surging interest in wood.
Unlike Taiwan, however, Hong Kong lacks a proper chain of supply and demand. Woodrite, a non-profit organisation which collaborates with designers and veteran carpenters to make Wood furniture Hong Kong to buy using recycled wood, is the nearest achieving a sustainable enterprise model.
“Needless to say, we can’t return to making everything yourself as a consequence of labour cost and efficiency, but mass-produced products from international brands usually are not always durable and seldom takes under consideration the tiny homes and humidity in Hong Kong,” Wong Tin-yan says. “A good thing is to have choices from both worlds so that each person’s preference might be met by using a relevant choice. Plus it doesn’t matter what you choose, but understanding the difference between them and why there’s this kind of difference in the price is essential.”
Start From Zero is rarely short of enthusiastic people hoping to grab a trick or two at founder Dominic Chan Yun-wai’s woodwork classes, run through its S.F.Z Untechnic Department.
Inspired by US street artist Shepard Fairey, the self-taught Chan started his street art initiative in 2000. Throughout the years, the crew, including artist Katol Lo, makes a name with regard to their stencil art, cool T-shirt designs and guerilla stickers.
And only while he became totally hooked on street art, Chan fell crazy about wood after he started picking up junk wood and using it within his work.
“One of the most appealing thing about woodworking is the fact whatever I feel of I can construct it immediately. It’s this sort of versatile material and there are many ways for you to handle it,” he says.
As his skills improved, Chan started receiving orders to help make furniture and make installations at events including Clockenflap and Detour creative showcase.
They have also hosted irregular workshops at Rat’s Cave, the crew’s now-defunct shop in Sheung Wan. These proved so popular that he or she has set up a normal agenda for short- or long-term projects, making from an easy clothes hanger to coffee tables, mirror frames and stools in his studio space in a Ngau Tau Kok industrial building.
Chan says he would not really surprised if woodworking turned into a passing fad – a lot of people just sign up to one class, viewing it an exciting gathering with friends with dexopky64 bonus of your cool component of Lounge chairs hk to adopt home. But Chan believes that may be not always bad.
“Out of 10 individuals who were intrigued enough to consider up street art, a minimum of two have kept doing the work. I’ve been at it over the past 10 years and I’m more excited about it than ever before.”
Concerning his obsession with woodworking, Chan suspects it would remain with him for about 10 years. It’s the medium he or she is spending almost all of his time on. And the man is confident once people try their hand at their own personal wood project, they may fall for the wonder and deeper meaning behind each item.
“Right after the last Clockenflap we was required to dismantle this wooden house we designed for the celebration but we saved the wood for other uses. Among those doors now hangs within my room in your own home. I also produced a stool personally right after the event – which means this stool is like it has experienced the foremost and second world wars before arriving in my flat. It offers numerous stories behind it,” he says. “It’s like, from a piece you made with your personal hands and something purchased from Ikea, which may you discard first?”
Advocates of the more laid-back lifestyle, the organisers offer a range of urban farming and craft workshops, including sessions on wood carving and turning, to create forks, spoons and rings.