"I do my designing with African concepts in mind."
"Since I began working with you, I've become a proud artisan. You have helped me grow and improve my designs and their quality. My design skills have evolved and I'm able to bring most of my ideas to life.
"It wasn't easy at the beginning. I might have a great idea for creating a new design but I didn't have enough money to bring it to reality. But thanks to Novica's interest-free micro-credit loans, I can now implement what ever creative idea I have. I no longer depend only on the local market, since you help bring my art to the doorstep of the world.
"I use to worry when we had less tourism here and how to reach them to sell my masks, jewelry and decor objects, but now I'm worry free because of you. I still work from my home where I started, but I now have better tools to help my work improve. I'm also able to train other and give them work when I have more orders. Thanks to your purchases, my children have completed their university studies and and two of them are yet to complete their vocational skill course.
"I appreciate every little comment I get from you because these comments keep me improving. I love you all and am grateful.
Original Artisan Story
""I am a designer by profession. I do my designing with African concepts in mind. Growing up, I loved to sketch things on paper. It was a natural talent, I guess. In high school, I pursued a course in visual arts that helped me develop my natural talent; this made my art studies enjoyable.
"I then attended a secretarial school, and stringing beads helped me generate income to support my education. I sold the beads to friends and students, and their comments encouraged and motivated me to create more designs. Over time, I made more to sell in the local market.
"After completing the secretarial course, my bead-craft became very demanding and I focused my attention on it. I also got into carving as well as developing frame designs for mirrors.
"I started out by creating a lot of designs and worked with a carver to translate my sketches on wood. I started painting them and added the metal plates. I got lots of positive comments on my work, which encouraged me to continue and not give up.
"I'm blessed to be married to a man who is also into arts and crafts, and is a designer as well. We work together. It's wonderful to work in such an environment where a simple design can turn out to be something very unique through the input of my spouse. This makes my designs different from those of other artisans making similar works.
"I find inspiration by opening my eyes wider to see things — in magazines, on TV, on the streets, and all around me.
"Requests for my designs led us to build a workshop at home and have proper supervision of the work. The carvers who collaborate with me use traditional tools. As the demand grows, I'm able to give work to more carvers, which generates more income for them and their families. I sometimes have young men in the community showing an interest in learning how to carve, and they come around to observe. It is possible one or two carvers who show a keen interest can make a career out of this. The workshop also provides local women with a constant supply of wood scraps for cooking. I'm proud to say that, on few occasions, I've chipped in financially to help a couple of children in my neighborhood. These children see me as their second mother and it is a joy to put a smile on their faces.
"With the sale of my jewelry, women in the neighborhood who enjoy stringing beads also get to earn some money when there is an increase in demand. We use mainly wood, recycled aluminum sheets and recycled plastic beads.
"Away from work, I love to be with my family and cook for them. It is such joy having three young ladies at home. With their love for fashion, they help out with stringing the jewelry, sharing their opinions on my designs and also suggesting color combinations for some of my jewelry. My beautiful twins are so interested in the jewelry. They are likely to take up the craft as a full-time profession in future. I commit to teaching them all the skills I've learned. I train and encourage my children to follow their passion just as I followed mine. My hopes and dreams for them are that they can be educated to the highest level and that they find and get established in their passion, and I hope to be a part of this dream by carefully guiding them.
"I am a hardworking, loyal, organized and religious person, and I believe my friends or family would say the same about me. I live by this philosophy, to focus on the positive, not on the negative, and to never give up."