ТОР 5 статей:
An Interview With a Furniture Maker
Eugene Williams gives the impression of being a man in a hurry.
I arrive at his workshop, tucked under a railway arch in East London, and am greeted with a quick handshake and the words: "Well, fire away then!" Whether this brusqueness is real or a front hiding a shy streak is not immediately apparent. But a glance around the workshop reveals that Williams is obviously busy, with good reason not to waste a minute of his time.
The arched space is full of half-made pieces of furniture and planks of wood in an amazing array of natural colours. Williams has been a cabinet-maker for ten years and has built up a very nice reputation for himself. His order book is always full for several months in advance; despite the fact that he does not really promote himself. Word has spread that if you want a decent cupboard or table, bookcase or kitchen units, Williams is your man.
Of course, finding a furniture-maker is not that taxing a task. Wherever you live in the countryside, the craft is alive and well. But finding a cabinet-maker who prides himself on making beautifully crafted furniture with clean, simple lines is less easy. "There are few real cabinet-makers known. People call themselves furniture-makers," Williams says wearily. As a craftsman who sets himself exacting standards, he is continually disappointed by some contemporary furniture. "I am amazed by what some furniture-makers get away with, and saddened by what people will put up with." He rails against shoddy, mass-produced furniture, and craftsmen who churn out second-rate pieces.
Such a quest for perfection is obviously a key to Williams' success.
That and his talent. This man is not coy about his ability. Indeed, his blatant self-confidence is as surprising as his initial brusque manner. "I have a huge natural ability," he says, with a deadpan expression. "I have always been good at making things." If it were not for the self-deprecating mood into which he slipped towards the end of our interview, I would have believed his conceit to be wholly genuine.
Williams is self-taught. So how did he learn his craft? "I asked the right questions and picked it all up," he says nonchalantly. "Almost all of his commissions come from private individuals ("I used to do some commercial work for companies but it was soul-destroying"). Some clients have returned time and again." You end up doing the whole of their enough to admit that relationships with clients do not always run smoothly. "The most infuriating clients are those who don't know what they want, and then decide they do when it's too late ... my favourite clients are the exacting ones."
If Williams has every reason to be pleased with himself, he is also gracious in his praise for others - where it is due. With a sudden shop of modesty, he says: "There are people far better than me. I can admire other people. After all, I wasn't trained at Parnham" (the leading college of furniture design). However, he is also unremittingly critical of those craftsmen who are trying to be artists and take a year to make one piece." He also has little time for degree shows, in which students exhibit their work but at the same time are .trying to make fashion statements. That can be pretentious. A piece of furniture is not about making a statement. It has to be something that people really can use."
Confident Williams may be, even brusque; but you could never call him or his work pretentious. Indeed, his parting shot displays a welcome down-to-earth approach to his craft and a streak of humility strangely at odds with his earlier self-confidence. "After all, I am only making furniture," he says as I make my exit.
0 Eugene Williams __________________
A doesn't let anybody waste his time. B seems to be a shy person.
C can hardly be called a man in a hurry. D evidently has much to do in the workshop.
11 Williams has few problems selling his furniture because he _______________
A advertises locally. B is known to be a skilled craftsman.
C uses only natural materials. D has a reputation for being fair.
12 What does Williams think has led to the decline in the craft of cabinet-making?
A It is a difficult skill to learn. B It is only popular in rural areas.
C Consumers will accept poor quality furniture. D Simple designs do not appeal to modern tastes.
13 The writer says that when Williams describes his "talent", he ____________
A has a tendency to exaggerate. B reveals a natural sense of humour.
C becomes more animated than he usually is D appears more arrogant than he really is
14 When she arrived at the workshop, the writer _____________________
A was not sure if her first impression of Williams was accurate.
B was offended by the way Williams introduced himself.
C thought that Williams was pretending to have a lot to do.
D thought it was obvious that Williams did not want to speak to her.
15 Williams believes that it is essential for craftsmen to ___________________
A create original furniture. B exhibit to a wide audience.
C produce functional designs. D invest extra time in perfecting their work.
Task 4Read the texts below. Match choices (A-H) to (16-20). There are two choices you do not need to use. Write your answers in the boxes. An example (0) has been done for you.
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