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The Art & Craft Man

At work, there is a department which is responsible for photocopying and scanning and making binding files (the spiral bound reports etc.). The department is manned by two people, one of whom is also an odd-job man and does the scanning. And the other, handles photocopying and coloured printouts and file binding activities. Needless to say, these are things which not everyone can handle efficiently, and neither are these activities which are of frequent need given that most documents are electronically shared. However, it is necessary, especially for departments like Compliance, Audit and the Company Secretaries, if not for marketing material and introductions to companies.
However, this means the person handling the department is, to a large part of the day, free to do as he pleases. Being efficient in what he does and having little or no knowledge of other activities (apart from being outside his Job Description), he is in a niche which is important but low on demand. The rights and wrongs of that can be debated, but I will not. What I will mention here is what he does in that free time.
Unlike the other people I have seen, he does not dedicate his free time to gossip and using the company phone for personal calls and so on and so forth. He makes small craft objects for himself.

He takes up small pieces of thermocol boards and plastic boxes, left-over useless papers from photocopies, cut off its of spirals from the spiral binding and almost used up highlighters. He then modifies them into pieces of art, as pleases his fancy. Most of the time they are houses with gardens, flowers, people figures. The beauty is, each of them is made from pieces no one misses. They are meticulous in details and were it not for making him self-conscious I would take photographs. The house would have curtains drawn on them and if the windows have cut-outs, you would see chairs and a rug inside. All with paper. Normal A4 sized paper. And the houses would be not more than a hand in amount of area covered. They are as sturdy as can be possible, but look as if made from one of the better shops with high class art objects. He displays them on his corner shelf for a few days, and then lets them go. If one of the office boys request it, he gives it to them, else just trashes it and makes a new one. He refuses to give them to me, though he ensures I see every one of his creations and add a comment to them. Including the spelling of "Home Sweet Home" he added to the house with a green, green lawn and few mango trees surrounding it (Yes, he ensured they were mango trees).
Once he took an empty Money Plant pot, and used that as a base to make a bouquet of artificial roses and sunflowers made of thermocol and plastic. I mistook them for real.
I wonder at what he will create if I hand him a shoe box!
It takes him time, and he is willing to spend it. He uses up his lunch time and sometimes a little after office hours, as he waits for someone to send him the final file which he would then print and bind for the next day's meeting.

Today, he was not there in the photocopy room. I sneaked a photograph of his latest creation. It is made of the neck of a plastic water bottle (that makes the petals) and a pink and green highlighter pen and a blue ball pen and some sponge which came with packed materials. He showed the rough cut to me yesterday and I suggested some yellow in the flower center. Today I saw this, and used my camera phone to the best advantage - which is pitifully not much. You cannot see the details on the leaves, and the details on the stem and flower.

Any suggestions of going commercial are met with a smile and a shake of head. 'It is for myself to enjoy' is what he says and rushes off, delighted that someone liked it. I dont know his name, but I know his face, his work, and the meticulous way he washes his lunch box at 4pm at the pantry everyday, not leaving it dirty for his wife to clean,  like most other office boys do.

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( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
20th Feb, 2009 07:47 (UTC)
The thing i like best, from your description is that, beside being so very creative, he sounds like such a humble and nice person. Its such a telling thing that he chooses to spend whatever little spare time he can get, in creating things of beauty, than while away isnt it.
That small photograph is evidence enough for us, Wish you had had a chance to take more photographs of this person's work. :)
6th May, 2009 10:04 (UTC)
You remember the person who keeps a scrap book of AB photos from news paper in TPL photocopy room?
:D conincident?
6th May, 2009 10:10 (UTC)
Re: :)
oh! I didnt know that!
And no, this doesnt sound similar
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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