“I CAN TAKE SOMETHING that you have at home to throw away and make it a thing of beauty.” This is the promise of upholsterer and joiner Jefferson Walrond, who has dedicated several years of his life to seeking to perfect the art of breathing new life into old furniture. Walrond said in these days when most people opt to throw away their old furniture and purchase a new living room suite or a bed at a fairly reasonable price, some people may ask what sense there is in getting something repaired. But, he said: “If you have a favourite chair, you do not want to go and buy a new one. I can fix it. “I can customize it. If you want a particular design, I can do it. I can repair almost anything,” Walrond said. Walrond said although some level of creativity was required, he can make many items from scratch or he can make repairs to anything no matter how damaged it may appear. “If you have an old bed, an old table, any old piece of furniture, you would be surprised at the transformation that I can give to it. Just show me the styles you like; the options are endless. “If it is too big, I can make it smaller; if it is too small, I can extend it,” he said. Walrond said that even though the work was seasonal he got a lot of jobs during Easter, Christmas and for Valentine’s Day. His large repertoire includes ironing boards, tables, chairs, pouffes, throw cushions, frames for portraits, beds, bed bases, beach umbrellas, boat sails, cushion covers and car seats. He said his latest creation is a baby box, which is upholstered and very portable – not bulky – and is well ventilated so the busy parent could take the baby anywhere in the house with them while they concentrate on housework. Walrond recently registered his business, called Sujoe’s Sales And Upgrades, but he is so enthusiastic about his work that he has dedicated the past few months to teaching an upholstery and soft furnishings class for the Community Development Department. He said that he picked up the skill at one of the skills training programmes at Bush Hall Centre over 20 years ago and because the skill had benefited him tremendously, he wanted to work in a setting where he could share the skill with others. “I wanted to set up a workshop teaching the soft furnishing and upholstery. So I asked about using the resource centres and was told that I could get the space and get my own students to pay or join the Community Development Department, where they pay you to teach the participants,” Walrond said. He recently concluded his first class at the Weston Resource Centre, where he taught 15 participants in the 12-week basic upholstery course. He spoke proudly of the success of the participants, who hosted an open day at the centre recently. The class showcased a variety of pouffes, throw cushions and cushion covers. Walrond said the interest in upholstery had been growing as a lot of people saw it as a way to make money. Concerning the class at Weston, he said it was oversubscribed and people were seeking to join even after the classes had already started. Additionally, the participants ranged in age from 17 to 60. “When they start, it is like they just want something to do, but as they go along their interest grows. Right now the numbers for the basic class are growing greatly and the participants are asking about an advanced class,” Walrond said.