Ceramics and handcrafted jewelry in West Africa
"I get my ideas mainly from nature and things that surround me.""Samuel Lovi is my name. I was born in the Volta Region on August 25, 1949. I was granted a five-year scholarship for further studies at Glasgow School of Art (Scotland), which I completed in 1981. I mastered a variety of media. I then went to the Saint Andrews School of Education in the UK, from 1981 to 1983, where I completed my highest education.
"After my studies, I worked with the Glasgow Arts Center and the Scottish Tourist Board. It was not easy to make a living in the arts and crafts field in a developed country at that time. As such, I worked for an American-European company specializing in clothing. I worked specifically in the designing field: designing and mending designs for the fashion house. I stayed outside the country for about ten years, and worked for three to four years before coming back home. On my return home, I worked at the Department of Rural Housing and Cottage Industry, until my redeployment.
"With the training I had, I was able to put my creative skills into use and develop a lot of clay work. I have my own studio and there are more than 70 women training there. These women came from various villages, mostly from the Volta Region, to help in developing the products. What they do most is traditional pottery. Clay pots developed by the women are brought from the villages for re-finishing. Different shades of colors are applied to the pots to make them look unique. I also try to introduce contemporary pottery into the designs to upgrade the traditional way of producing the works.
"I have recently included jewelry products in my collection with the help of a jewelry designer. I use materials which include soapstone powder fired and finished in similar manner as my ceramic ornaments collection. I design and craft every bead by hand at my workshop. As an artist and avid follower of the arts I constantly look for new ways to express myself through my products and it feels good to have found this in my jewelry collection of pendants and necklaces. I hope to develop this further to include more designs and styles.
"I have traveled extensively outside of Ghana to showcase my products or to participate in fairs. In 1998, for instance, I was invited to the United States, by Aid to Artisans, for the New York International Gift Show (NYIGS). My work has also traveled to Burkina Faso, La Cote D'Ivoire, and Paris for various fairs. It was judged the best of all the pottery exhibitors at a fair in Burkina Faso and was awarded the UNESCO craft prize in 1998 for its outstanding contribution to creativity in decorative pottery.
"I get my ideas mainly from nature and things that surround me. Again, with my training at the art schools, ideas just come to me.
"I am married with three children. My wife has been very supportive."
Clay abounds in the southern part of Ghana; it takes an expert, however, to get the sand thoroughly washed out of the clay. In fashioning this piece, Lovi first prepares and molds the clay. He then fires the molded piece in a kiln at high temperatures, ensuring that it is hardened to the required strength. After cooling, it is hand-painted with kaolin and oils, providing its distinctive appearance.
6 Testimonials for Samuel Lovi