"My dream is to one day have a big workshop to train a lot of people – especially school dropouts who think life has ended. Their success in the art of carving would be my legacy."
Update (July, 2019)
“I am Godfred France, and I joined NOVICA in March, 2010.
“I am a producer of home decor items. In the beginning, finding a market to sell these crafts was a big challenge, until NOVICA came along. A global marketplace where art can be displayed; it was such a relief.
“There have been incremental changes in my business and finances over the years. Catering for my children's education has been one of my successes; currently all my children are about to graduate from tertiary institutions. I have also been able to train close to 20 artisans since I started the art business.
“My major challenge in my craft is the aspect of a carver not being trustworthy.It delays my work, and as a result I can’t always meet deadlines. Carvers take my money in hopes that they will carve out my designs, but later they keep postponing the work.
“I have maintained the same workplace since I joined NOVICA, but my wings have expanded to include other artists around my community. I have people who work for me doing metal finishing. After joining NOVICA, my life has been more comfortable and largely improved. I have had a lot of recommendations from other artisans, and my main aim is to give back to society; that is, to train more and more artisans.”
Original Artisan Story
"I was born May 25, 1966 in Accra. My creativity seems to be inborn. During my childhood days, I'd create boats with worn-out metal utensils, which I'd float in water to play with my friends. I could also mold pots and animal creatures from clay, to the delight of family members.
"Due to financial constraints, my parents could not further my education and so after the 6th grade, I had to drop out of school and join my uncle, who was a wood carver.
"Since 1983, I myself have been into this art of carving. I was determined to make it even though I could not further my education. And God has been so good – I had the opportunity to sell my works to foreigners who visited the country on holidays. The only challenge then was due to difficulty in communicating; I found it difficult to correspond with my customers to get feedback on the designs they purchased. Those who returned in subsequent years told us how they would best like the carvings and this helped us to improve our quality. However my sales were slow because, except for tourists, our local folks did not show much interest in our art.
"I have trained about 30 people to carve and some of them have now set up their own workshops. I currently have five people working with me. In addition, some university students have spent their vacations with me as interns. We take them through the practical aspects of this craft, and the students carve beautiful designs.
"Thanks to the woodcarving art, I've been able to educate my four children and I know that with constant sales, I'll be able to give them a brighter future than I had. This motivates me to wake up each day to carve!
"My dream is to one day have a big workshop to train a lot of people – especially school dropouts who think life has ended because their parents couldn't further their education. Their success in the art of carving would be my legacy."