BY AUGUSTO RODRIGUES
Stanley Barros Pereira is that rare breed of Goan that believes in crafting furniture exclusively with wood from trees grown in Goa and adhering to traditional styles. His cleverly named company Woodstock maintains high standards and keeps customers thoroughly satisfied.
“Our work sells. We are known to maintain our delivery schedule, and all our timber is from Goa. We start with a clean slate with our customers and end on a clean one,” says Stanley, who started Woodstock in 1988 and has not looked back since.
Stanley made his foray into the trade of carpentry making windows and doors. He eventually evolved to make furniture as tastes changed.
“All my clients are from Goa. There has been a societal change that has been going on and with that, the taste in furniture has changed,”
“We use teak wood ninety per cent of the time because it is good hardwood, not heavy or light, has good screwing strength and is available in Goa. Our trees are hundred or more years old and therefore have long growth rings,” Stanley informs us in his factory which is situated in one of his ancestral family homes in Utorda.
A lot of timber is imported to Goa.
“The timber imported to Goa is from plantations. The trees are around twenty to thirty years old. They are just like our broiler chickens and not suitable to replicate our traditional furniture,” explains Stanley, as he strolls through the factory interacting with his fourteen craftsmen.
“I started with three Goan carpenters. At some stage, I had a family of around thirty carpenters, but the number has dwindled to fourteen since the advent of machines,” confesses Stanley, who believes Goa lost a lot in manpower because talent was either not recognised or the talented were misunderstood.
“All my furniture is made by hand. The machines are used only for cutting and planning. Furniture in the days past was never done with machines,” says Stanley, whilst admitting that furniture made by machines cannot replicate the styles of the bygone years.
Stanley still does not have catalogues in this age of the internet.
“I first understand what the client wants; understand his requirements; and then sit down with designs. In the end, it is about making the client happy,” reflects Stanley, as he acknowledges his prowess.
Antique furniture has a visible symmetry with Goa of the past. Every curve on wood shows toil and traces of sweat, and as it weathers with time, a certain elegance that is now disappearing.
“There is no shortage of work because a lot of successful people want to reflect their success through good furniture. So, I have never felt a shortfall in demand. I don’t know the situation in North Goa, but in South Goa, people either build new houses or renovate their old ones and fill them with exquisite furniture,” claims Stanley, for whom life is about living realistically.
“Goans need to understand the value of other people. We went through a time when some geniuses were misunderstood,” muses Stanley, as he peeks back at the way of living in the past.
Woodstock employs carpenters from Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka.
“My carpenters from Bengal are carvers, the ones from UP are polishers and painters and the boys from Karnataka maintain the wood,” says Stanley, who single-handedly started Woodstock from scratch.
“I didn’t borrow a note from anyone,” he adds lightheartedly.