Artisan Organization: Worlasi Agbalenyo
"I am a quiet person and can sit peacefully just observing nature. As I do this, I am able to imagine a lot of things which I translate into objects with the materials I find. Some of my ideas are successful but others do not work out. I never give up on trying new things. It was out of this adventure that I came up with the use of sand designs on wooden frames. I also use the same method on paper to create greeting cards, etc.
"I use sese wood, glue, sand, acrylic paint and paper for my designs. My creations were appreciated by shoppers who purchased them and they made suggestions to improve on the items I created. This encouraged me to continue and incorporate their ideas in my creations.
"Then, in October of 2010, my workshop caught fire and all my tools and working materials burned up. I lost everything! The only thing I didn't lose was my talent.
"The loss affected me so much, but I was determined not to let this cripple me entirely. I borrowed tools and money from friends to get the colors, and began working under a tree to start all over again.
"Knowing how well people appreciated my designs gave me some inner surety that if I were able to produce some works, they would sell. It was on this inner conviction that I borrowed the money.
"Thankfully, the new designs began to sell very well. This helped me to pay off my debt, and I used the capital that was left to create new items. Novica-featured artisan Ben Agbee introduced me to Novica and I'm glad. Realizing the level of exposure here and the larger market for my designs through Novica gives me great joy.
"I remember a time when I was working on my postcards and unfortunately, the paint I was using slipped out of my hands and splashed on other cards lying on the table. Initially I got angry with myself and was wondering whether to discard everything. I didn't want the cards to go to waste. What I did was sit down quietly just observing the cards. I came to the conclusion that I would not discard them – I would go ahead with what I intended doing. The final finish looked very beautiful, as the splash of paint on the cards gave them a different look. These postcards happened to sell out more quickly than others. I learned a lesson through that experience, that when we make a mistake, we should not just fold our hands and not try anything else. The best might come out of the next attempt.
"It's been my desire to open an art center to train needy young people with this skill, which they can practice to earn a living. I'm hoping to put up a new workshop and start to train interested people this skill I have acquired.""