Over the years, most of our staff have been recruited locally, are able to walk to work and return to their families every day.   All have been unskilled in any form of woodwork (besides chopping firewood!) and have gained invaluable experience in the furniture making process.  They are now able to complete a project from the drawn plans and sketches, without constant supervision, happy to ask for guidance when required.

We use the opportunity which quiet times provide, to get creative. We hone our skills, try out new ideas and restock the shop.  Everyone is encouraged to put their ideas into reality – sometimes they work and sometimes they don't, but it is all good experience and a challenge to broaden minds and horizons.

It's great to have such a talented, interested and enthusiastic team to work with, all of whom are, like Robin, third generation occupants of Corrie Lynn Farm.  Our fathers and grandfathers have worked together too.

Sharing skills and watching new talent emerge is not only good business practice, it is an absolute joy. The supportive environment at Corrie Lynn & Co nurtures craftsmanship and broadens horizons.

Raymond Zwake
Raymond just loves to work with Kiaat. “It’s soft and easy to work with, and it smells nice” he says.  Over the past eight years he has been at Corrie Lynn & Co he has had opportunities to work with many different types of wood and to create some beautiful furniture.  His favourite piece is a tall chest of drawers made of oak.  Each drawer is narrower than to one below – interesting and elegant.  Getting the measurements just right was very important, but that is what he loves to do “measuring and cutting are my favourite activities; it is very rare that I make a mistake.”  Raymond is a skilled cabinet maker, able to work from drawings to make a large variety of furniture. He has also designed a number of pieces of his own. A glass fronted cabinet on tall legs, takes pride of place in the Gallery. “I get excited when people buy something I have made and I think about where it is going.”

Raymond has lives all his life in the area and really enjoys the countryside, admiring the white storks circling in the sky and buck on the hills as he walks to work. “It is a nice quiet life and there are no tsotsi’s” he chuckles.

Sam Nkomo
Bungumusa Nkomo, aka Sam, has happy memories of the good teachers and fellow pupils at Corrie Lynn School which he attended as a child.  He grew up in Nxamalala village just across the road from the school, where he still lives today. Here his mother grows plenty of vegetables – pumpkins and mielies and his favourite imifino – and keeps chickens and goats too.  It is a good life with just a short walk across the fields to work, and three dogs – iBumusi, Sam and iNkomo to welcome him when he gets home from work. 

Sam always wanted to work with wood and was delighted to be offered an opportunity to learn cabinet making with Robin Fowler.  He particularly enjoys the strength and light colour of oak and is always pleased when they receive orders for oak furniture.  Although he has only been at Corrie Lynn & Co for a short time, he has taken to his tasks with gusto and is learning fast.  During quiet periods, he relishes the opportunity to learn new skills and create his own designs.

Brian Nthuthuko Ncwaba
Brian Ncwaba is a Kaiser Chiefs fan and in his free time, plays wing for the Dargle Stars soccer team in the Howick Association League.  With his colleagues, he set up a gym at Corrie Lynn and they train there together after work every day and during holidays to keep fit.  He enjoys living on the farm, dislikes the noise in town and is pleased he doesn’t have to catch a taxi to get to work.  His favourite subject at school was accounting and he would have liked to have studied business, but with his parents both dead, he needed to help support his siblings. At Corrie Lynn & Co he has an opportunity to learn first-hand how a business is run.

In the workshop he does all the finishing of the furniture. “I learn new things everyday” he says. “I enjoy doing special things, like mixing up different coloured stains for special orders.”  His favourite food is hake, which means he does have to take a trip to the noisy city shops now and again.  At least he can get the latest edition of Soccer Talk while he is there, to make it worthwhile.

Robin Fowler
Robin grew up on Corrie Lynn, a dairy farm, fixing tractors, baling hay and mending fences. Nowadays an Nguni herd roams the grasslands instead.

So how was Corrie Lynn & Co born? "I used to make bits and pieces for my family and often friends would ask for something special too. Then a friend gave us a template for an Adirondack chair, asked us to make some for her and we made a few extra to sell. In those days we did everything without proper machinery. I remember using a jigsaw to cut out the template, and screwing everything by hand!"

Encouraged by neighbours to open a shop and join the Midlands Meander in 1996, they converted part of the tractor shed into a gallery and were astonished when the first customers came up the drive.

Over the years they have sold hundreds of authentic Adirondack chairs and developed a loyal following of customers who appreciate quality workmanship. "I adore bird's eye maple because it is just so beautiful to look at, however, like Raymond, I love to work with kiaat." he says.

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