"The nicest part about my craft is seeing several carved works lying down in the workshop, I get excited to know they may all go to different places in the world."
Ghanaian brothers Emmanuel and Daniel Nyadedzor have been working with Novica for many years. "After completing a course in auto mechanics, getting a job was difficult and neither my parents nor I could afford the high cost of the machinery I would need to set up on my own," recalls Emmanuel.
"I struggled by doing menial jobs, but I managed to save part of the little earnings I made. After some years, I had enough money to buy a small piece of land and raise a wooden store, but I didn't know what to sell. I remember one day, while standing in the shop still contemplating on what to do, I saw a young man hawking and selling carved figures. I admired this art work and so I decided to find out from how he got such items. All along I thought such art works were imported, so I was amazed when I was told they were hand-carved by local artisans!
"I became curious and wanted to know more. I gathered information on where I could see people actually carve these items. I was thrilled at the way they transformed a log of wood could be used to create such interesting and beautiful items. I wanted to be able to do it too!
"I started buying the finished pieces to sell at my shop and I happened to meet a man whose skill was in designing masks. I befriended this man and so when I'd close the shop for the day, I would walk to his workshop and observe the way he designed, and decided to by raw masks for this man to finish them for my shop.
"However, we had a strong argument and I decided I was going to design the mask all by myself. I went to the market the following day to get the raw materials I saw the friend use, and then came to try it out myself. My background in auto mechanics became very useful at this point because of my knowledge in cutting and designing of metals. I employed this skill, as well as the skill I learned from my father who was a blacksmith. My first attempt at designing a mask was appreciated by customers and this encouraged me to continue. With constant practice I entered the world of art.
"Since then, I have taught about 10 people how to design art pieces. Four of the people of them stayed on and the others have set up their own business.
"My source of inspiration has been through dreams about me carving a particular design, so when I wake up I immediately put the design on paper in order not to lose the idea.
"The nicest part about my craft is seeing several carved works lying down in the workshop, I get excited to know they may all go to different places in the world. But the most challenging part of it is trying to get a finished piece dry during the raining season.
"My dream is to expand my workshop, including building a place for my team to be able to rest."
Although initially working together, Daniel is no longer working with Emmanuel.