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Ebony trees turned wall art

Faith Chebet @chebetkorir

Tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is John Nzau and I am 38 years old.

How did the concept of recycling ebony trees to make wall art start?

I wanted to mak money; keep in mind unemployment in Kenya has been a major problem. I then saw how my elder siblings would go and get discarded ebony trees and transform them into various beautiful pieces of art. There and then after learning and carefully seeing how they did it, I took it up as a business. I, however, do not make them personally, but we sell the pieces of art.

Why did you end up using ebony?

It is dense enough to sink in water and it is finely textured as it has a smooth finish when polished making it valuable as an ornamental wood. So how exactly do you make these wall-hanging art from ebony trees?

1. it’s actually quite easy because we first get ebony trees from Ukambani and various regions.

2. We later take the ready-made sculptures from Gikomba where they use sandpaper and sharp pieces of wood to craft each art. (Basically, the wood is difficult to glue because of its high content of oil, they carefully use sandpaper to create a perfect piece as it responds beautifully to finishes.)

3. We then bring them to Maasai Market.

4. To make them last longer and shine, we use kiwi and a brush.

How much does each piece of art go for?

It depends there is no standard price.

The best advice you can give to someone who wants to venture into this industry?

Work hard and be creative.

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