“Hello! My name is Daniel Asare Nartey. My friends say that I’m friendly and hardworking. I was born in 1964 in Accra New Town. Crafting is a family tradition for me; I come from a family with an artistic background. My dad was a chief carver, so my interest in carving was ignited at a very tender age. I am very glad to still be doing it. Learning from my dad was not simple; he wanted me to be better than him, so he was very demanding of me. As they say, ‘No pressure, no diamonds.’ My dad’s pressure molded me into a fine carver. I just love carving; not only making a living out of it but it also using it to bring the best out of my creativity.
“I get my inspiration from nature and culture. I use sese wood, dye, and polish. They are easy to work with and readily available on the market. My ability to create new designs is my favorite thing about my craft. The most challenging part is when I get huge orders during the rainy season. It is so heartbreaking, because getting the wood during such periods is quite a task. Usually, I work alone, but when I have a huge order I sub-contract other carvers to support me. I enjoy having other artisans assist me, but proper finishing is the standard I look for the most when selecting artisans that would craft my designs.
“Starting on my own wasn’t an easy task in terms of finding a market for my creations. I had to develop good pricing, negotiating, and marketing skills. I acquired those skills from my dad and fellow artisans as I watched them negotiate prices with various customers.
“In my early 30s, I developed a hernia and went through more than three surgeries, which greatly affected my work. I’m not as physically strong as I was before. I still carve, but not in the huge quantities that I used to. However, I’m glad that I can still do what I love.
“Despite all that, I still experienced some funny moments. One December, I had a large order and budgeted the money for a Christmas celebration. I was super excited and couldn’t wait for the money. Can you imagine? The man who gave me the order left during the holiday season without paying me, and that year I had the worst Christmas ever.
“I believe that whatever we do must benefit others. Apart from teaching five people my craft to enable them to make a living, the women in my community use the leftover wood for firewood.
“As a creator of beautiful designs, I am always searching for more avenues to market my products. I am super excited to be on Novica’s platform.”