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If you love original woodwork, you simply must visit Moren Handmade! Located to the left of Çajupi High School in Tirana, this charming atelier is where woodworking maestro Fatmir aims to take the passion of a lifetime to even greater heights.
“When I look at a piece of wood, I always wonder how I can bring it to life. Just like Geppetto with Pinocchio.” These are the words of Fatmir Baushi, a telecommunications engineer who, in his free time, works with raw wood, pallets and even other recyclable material. We meet Fatmir as he works on a simple decoration, a starfish made of fishing rod. “It’s a gift for a friend who is decorating his beach house, something I do with pleasure.”
Indeed, Fatmir does this kind of work out of a pure desire to continue in the footsteps of his father. As we talk, he shows us many photos of his works, the majority created as gifts for his friends and family, the only ones, perhaps, who know Fatmir’s ability to create such wonderful works from wood.
Yet, it would be a shame to keep such passion and skill from others. As we look around, we notice a singular artefact, a lamp-shade made of oak veneer, a product of Fatmir’s imagination and skill. When Fatmir speaks of his pieces, his words assume a spiritual dimension which reminds us why his works would be a much more meaningful choice than mass-market products.
His profession, that of an engineer, has presented him with many opportunities to travel, become familiar with all corners of Albania and its landscape and draw inspiration from it. His atelier which, formerly, was the family warehouse, is filled with pieces of wood from all over the country. He says that, while he can cut the wood or give it another shape depending on the desired result, the wood cannot, ultimately, go against its inherent nature.
In the majority of cases, he works with the original shape of the wood piece, mostly conserving it as it is and giving it only a few finishing touches. He shows us a mirrored frame worked with pine branches gathered around General’s Beach (Plazhi i Gjeneralit).
“Look at how white they are, how pure, each of them with its own particular shape. You can see the effect of sand and seasalt,” – says Banushi.
He has given his woodworking atelier the name “Moren,” a combination of his daughters’ names, Morela and Reina. Though still young, Fatmir admits that they show early signs of an artistic disposition and approach to the world, which clearly makes him happy. We ask him in detail about the variety of works he can produce and he answers with a kind of passion we do not normally associate with furniture or material things.
“How can I make it speak?” – this is what Fatmir asks while leaving us speechless and in awe of his work, so full of the life that is absent from our daily objects.