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NOVICA Artisan Kennedy K. Aseidu

Kennedy K. Aseidu

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I love to carve because it gives me the opportunity to create something unique out of the ordinary. I apprenticed with my uncle, who also mentored me about life, and my inspiration comes from my mother, who is a hardworking woman. She has always encouraged me to give my best in everything I do, so a lot of my designs reflect her influence on me.

I was born in a town in the eastern region of Ghana, but my parents couldn't finance my education so they sent me to live with my uncle. At the beginning I was very sad, but my uncle has always been very kind to me and treats me like a son. He made sure I completed my education.

"When I returned from school I would pass by my uncle's workshop and watched him carve. I developed a love for the art of carving. My uncle was a talented and skilled master carver and he started teaching me so, after I completed school, I decided to get involved fully in the art of wood carving.

"He was happy to teach me all I needed to know, right from carving the items to the finishing. I spent a lot of time working as an apprentice for my uncle, and sometimes he would give me the opportunity to visit other carvers to learn new skills. He supervised me closely and constantly encouraged me to produce a high quality job.

"I work with different types of wood, but I prefer sese wood. I also use recycled metals with my designs. My favorite part is the finish, because I like to use two or more colors to show the beauty of the item.

"When customers complement my work I feel like I have been given a vote of confidence for what I do.

"Starting on my own was not easy: even though I had the skills, I needed money to get the raw materials to fulfill all the orders. I had to put in long hours to meet the deadlines in order to gain trust and more business. But it was worth it because now I have something I can call my own.

"I design and carve my own items. If I need assistance, I look for experienced carvers who have a reputation for good quality work. I can count on my family and apprentices to help out with the sandpapering, drying, and mixing paints.

"I hope to be able to support a lot of people through school, and build a large house for my family in the future.

"I get nervous when I have to speak in public, but I agreed to be the one to propose the toast at a friend's wedding. I prepared the speech, but when I stood up to give the toast, my mind went blank so I quickly asked guests to observe a minute of silence and say a prayer for the couple – it bought me sufficient time to calm down, recollect my thoughts and say what I had planned to say. By the time the minute was over I could recollect what I had planned to say. Regardless of this embarrassing moment for me, my friends regard me as a friendly and hardworking family life."