Erasmus Philip Ahorlu
African masks and wood sculptures in West Africa
"My craft has helped me create an NGO which gives training to vulnerable youth and women in business development, strategy awareness and health education.""I am a woodcarver from Ghana. I create contemporary décor objects as well as authentic West African masks.
"My name is Erasmus Philip Ahorlu. My friends say I am disciplined, friendly and focused. I was born in March of 1982 in Aburi.
"A friend from my church is very creative. He introduced me to working in wood and I was interested I learning. I found a teacher in Aburi and became his apprentice. It took years of practice to master this art.
"I work with different kinds of wood with differing colors and grain. My materials are easy to obtain. The challenging part is the designing. My inspirations come from the blowing of wind, while the masks are based in Ghanaian tradition.
"I had to start producing for exporters for years to raise capital to set up a workshop and purchase tools and materials. It was an interesting time but I had a goal.
"I eventually embarked on an export project, sending Ghanaian handicrafts to the United States. However, I lost my investment capital of 3000 Ghanaian cedis. It was a very rough time in my life! I had to start all over again.
"All the effort has been worth it. My craft has helped me create an NGO which gives training to vulnerable youth and women in small business development, strategy awareness and health education.
"My dream would be to someday become one of the great exporters of handicrafts from Ghana. My hope is to be a motivational speaker."