Krzysztof Piwowarczyk, despite having a name that sends the spell-check into overdrive, is a wonderful source of ideas.
Krzysztof and I have worked on many projects over the years, he is a master carpenter, having learned his trade from his father before him. We sit together at the aforementioned kitchen table, while I serve him a mug of instant coffee, which he claims is “the best coffee in Dublin”, and he quietly shares stories about his family, his ideas and his experiences of living through interesting times during Poland’s difficult history.
I have met some extraordinary people who have immigrated to Ireland , in pursuit of a new secure life, they bring with them all of their courage and resourcefulness . I share a strong affinity with people traveling from Eastern Europe , I like to believe that this stems from a bond which my own ancestry brings, which saw my grandparents and great grandparents before them also, having to shift from their birthplaces in Eastern Europe in search of a better life. I have observed different tradesmen from countries like Latvia, Lithuania and the Ukraine, and have admired the can-do attitude, where the answer to any request is “no problem”, when a mend-it solution is often sought rather than a wasteful replace-it one. Where people have a multitude of skills and have a work ethic that is deep and strong.
Krzysztof, embodies all of that resourcefulness, along with superb skill and creativity. I was fascinated when he showed me pictures of his house in Poland which he had built himself, and lovingly finished. He showed me how he had clad an internal room with small pieces of timber that resembled a brick pattern. Krzysztof had been working in a factory which made transistor radios and he had held onto the small rectangle pieces of timber that were cut from the face of the radio to expose the dial, and it was with these that he painstakingly clad the walls of his living room!
A few weeks ago Krzysztof asked if he could look at my back garden. He had no idea about my thoughts or plans for it, or that i was thinking of polycarbonate plastic as a possible building material. He looked at it and said he could make me a Perspex conservatory. He was in the process of making one for his home out of found materials. He had been working in a factory in Wicklow which manufactures amongst other things, canopies for petrol stations. Krzysztof had been collecting ends of clear Perspex which were heading for disposal, and along with the timber from pallets he had constructed this terrace conservatory.
And here you have it a beautiful conservatory made from free materials.