In Nepal everywhere you go you will see small colourfully woven stools called Muda. The making of these stools is ancient and the skills are passed down through the generations. The Nepalese are also experts at metal work and you will see beautifully crafted gates and doors at the entrance of homes and gardens. I saw the vision of combining these two skills and drew a chair that represented Nepal to me.
Finding a welder was easy as there are many workshops in the streets of Pokhara. Krishna Tiwari worked with my design to make the frame of a chair the measurements were perfect and it was a great finish I then sanded and varnished it. I asked around where the Muda was made in my search for a weaver the answer came as a surprise to me. These stools were made in the local jail by the prisoners which made the story even better.
I went to the jail in Pokhara and passed through a number of checkpoints where I was introduced to a prisoner that could speak English. He was young and had a arm in plaster and gave me a warm welcome. I showed him my drawing of the chair and told him my plan. He said it was no problem and took me to a courtyard with a dozen or so men behind bars.
I spoke through the bars to the weaver who would complete my project. We agreed on a price and four packets of cigarettes a few days later the chair was finished. Not only did this beautifully crafted chair exceed all my expectations but it had been made into a piece of artwork. I will always be grateful to Sunil Gurung and Ravi Gurung for allowing me to actually hold in my hand the chair I drew on a piece of paper.
To be continued……..