Matilda Elizabeth Amissah
"I am proud to say my work has been recognized here [Ghana] and abroad, including Italy and the United States."
"Matilda Elizabeth Amissah is my name, and I was born on January 1, 1956. I went to school in the Ashanti region and finished my elementary education in 1971. When I was at school, I learned the different techniques of basket weaving and in the afternoons, I would visit any of the many ceramists living in our village. I remember sitting next to them and watching them work. Eventually they began to show me how to work the ceramic. They taught me how to transform clay into a thing of beauty.
"A year after finishing elementary school my parents died. I went through a series of hardships that made it impossible for me to pursue my education. In 1988, I decided to leave my village and go to the city in search of work.
"In 1994 a national association of artisans was formed, and I joined as a member based on my basket weaving abilities. The association encouraged and guided me so that soon I started crafting items for the local market and trade fairs. I realized more and more people were asking for my work, which motivated me to design and create new product lines, apart from basket weaving. I took up ceramic work again, and practiced until I felt confident of the products I designed and created.
"I have my own workshop now, but when demand for my products increases, I have to enroll the help of several other ceramists and weavers. I am proud to say my work has been recognized here [Ghana] and abroad, including Italy and the United States. I have also participated in several fairs around the world including Germany and the United States.
"I feel very proud when I say that, even after losing my parents at a very young age and having a very limited education, I have managed to transform the pain into something that has made my life easier to live."
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