Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Putu Veyanawa!


Does anyone know how to keep people from standing on a chair with a caned seat? Beat them? Knock them from the chair? Make them pay for new caning? A caned chair just seems to invite people to stand on it.

I inherited 12 chairs from my aunt and all needed to be caned; the old seats torn over the decades. I stored them hoping I’d one day be able to afford to have them redone – not a cheap undertaking in California.

But in Sri Lanka, the cane man doesn’t wait for you to call, he travels around your neighborhood, crying out, 'Putu Veyanawa' Chair weaving! I saw him one day, on his bicycle with the cane strips hanging out the back end and I yelled to him, ‘Enna!’ Come here!

I dragged four chairs into the carport. Someone had stood on them and broken each seat. Most likely the maids who had no clue that they were damaging the furniture while dusting the top of the almira (wardrobe closet). Lipton knew better.

The weaver laid out his cane strips and went to work. I thought it’d be a quick and easy job to do, but he was diligent and took all day for the 4 chairs. Amazingly enough he only charged RS 800 ($6) per chair. Too bad he couldn’t fix the dozen chairs I had inherited from my aunt!

The weaving man with his cane strips.

Fast (not really) at work.

Intricate work.

Takes concentration.

Time for a smile.


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