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I receive enquiries from around the world on the Society Web site which I endeavour to answer. A few weeks ago I received an e-mail on the Society web site from Vanessa Chang the Marketing Manager of Ho-Bridge Enterprise Ltd based in Taiwan.

“I’m a veneer supplier based in Taiwan. After seeing the works posted on your website, I’m intrigued to see the range of possibilities that one can do with timber veneers. I wish to visit your society in person in the not too distance future to further expand my horizon in this art form.

I couldn’t locate information about the location of your society; maybe this is because your organization is dispersed around UK? Maybe you can shed some light on this issue as I am working on a possible visit sometime in late April or early May 2008 to coincide with my visit to Europe.  Looking forward to hearing more details from you and your society, thank you!”

Vanessa at Chelmsford top photo
Vanessa inspects some masterpieces at Chelmsford

Apparently Vanessa had viewed the Society and Redbridge websites and was amazed at the wonderful Marquetry shown in the galleries. As stated, she was coming to Europe on Business and ensuing correspondence resulted in producing an itinerary for her to visit the Bexley, Thurrock, Redbridge, Chelmsford and Harrow Groups culminating with a visit to the National Exhibition in Stoke on Trent.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to take Vanessa to meet the Harrow Group, so she went on her own, but I took her to visit the other Groups mentioned. To say she was enthusiastic would be an understatement. She was positively excited by what she saw. There does not appear to be anything similar in Taiwan.  I thought that it might be worthwhile to conduct an interview with her to highlight her interest and the fact that our art/craft, which we often take for granted, is appreciated in other parts of the world where Marquetry is virtually unheard of in the form in which we practice.

Vanessa and Roy photo 1
Roy (Redbridge Group) teaches Vanessa the rudiments of marquetry
Vanessa and Roy photo 3
Vanessa cuts her first marquetry project

Vanessa and Roy photo 2
"You see, I cut that one perfectly!"

David  “ Where did you first hear about Marquetry “

Vanessa  “ When I first looked at your website I was very impressed and excited by what I saw. Our veneer at Ho- Bridge is mainly used for the furniture industry. We produce some designs but these are inlaid into the finished product and not made as you do it.”

David “What exactly does your company produce?”

Vanessa “Our main product is veneer which is sold to the furniture trade. We also supply MDF, particleboard, hardboard and other sundries. The veneers we supply are from sustainable sources from all over the world. We currently hold supplies of over 100 different species. We have offices in Taiwan, North China, South china, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.”

David  “What is your position in the Company”

Vanessa   “I am the Marketing Manager. I was in Europe for business matters and I decided to come to the UK and visit your National Exhibition which I read about on the website. When I had a reply I asked if I could visit some Groups in and about London where I will be staying.”

Vanessa at Chelmsford photo 4
Vanessa studies an example of Gordon Baker's superb marquetry
Vanessa at Chelmsford photo 1
Vanessa takes a close look at more Chelmsford marquetry

David “Well you have now visited some Groups, what is your impression.” 

Vanessa   “ I am most impressed. The welcome that I received was wonderful.  Everyone was very friendly and helpful. Each Group had a small exhibition of their work which was most impressive.  I’ve fallen in love with Marquetry. At Redbridge, Roy Murton showed me how to start cutting and by the end of the evening I had cut out a small design. I would like to carry on when I get home. There are, at this moment, no Marquetry Groups in Taiwan so I’ll be working on my own to start with. Perhaps with practice I will improve and maybe get other folk interested.”

David   “Well we are always very pleased to have the chance to welcome new members.  Perhaps you will eventually start a Taiwan Group. Roy and I would be more than willing to come and give advice and instruction if the Society will pay for us!!!  Until then you will have to make do with looking at the Tutorials on the websites to get advice and help. If you have a webcam you could contact us that way.”

VanessaYes it’s a shame I am so far away but I have a webcam and with the websites I hope I can improve.  I am really looking forward to visiting the National and I will join the Society there. Thank you for all your assistance and I will definitely visit the UK when I return to Europe again and maybe visit some Groups once again.”

Vanessa at Chelmsford photo 3
Vanessa with Gordon Baker at Chelmsford

David: I took Vanessa to Bexley, Thurrock, Redbridge and Chelmsford where her undoubted enthusiasm was an instant hit with the members in those Groups . Thanks to all those members who made her so welcome.

Thanks to the web site we now have some new members and, since the national, a brand new group in Taiwan. A big thank you too goes to Alan Mansfield who has made such a professional job of creating and maintaining it.  I get regular comments from all over the world about the quality of the site.

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