George heads up a group of artisans who make our beautiful brass hooks and knockers. He is based in the crazy, busy and fast moving capital of the Ghanaian Ashanti Region called Kumasi.
George started working with AARVEN in 2018 when Bee met him on her first trip to Ghana. She bought about 20 hooks to gauge they reaction and they flew off the shelves. AARVEN is now one of George’s biggest customers. George lost a lot of customers during Covid, and he says thankfully our orders kept him busy and earning a living. With the constant supply of work from AARVEN he has realised his dream of building a home big enough for him, his wife and their 6 children to comfortably live in.
George has been practicing his craft for around 15 years. He learnt from his uncle whom he was living with at the time. He really loves working with brass casting. He did not finish school and was unsure how to earn a living until he joined the family casting business and his love for his craft has pushed him forwards.
George is married to Afia and they have 6 children. With such a big family the business we and his other international clients bring him helps put his children through school which is very expensive in Ghana as there is little state help.
This biggest challenge George's business faces is getting recycled brass. The purchasing power of the Chinese and the Nigerians is serious competition and this pushes the price higher and higher. Another challenge is getting clients to pay a 50% deposit up front. A lot are unwilling to do this. They also want the products on Credit and for George this is a very bad situation as he cannot buy brass without a deposit. At AARVEN we always pay a 50% deposit up front to our artisans so that they can purchase materials and pay their staff. George works with his business partner, Monica and they employ 5 other people in their team.
George loves working on big pieces and is especially proud of a beautiful group of figures he is casting for a famous musician. It is a traditional piece of the King and his entourage.
George dreams of expansion, of getting a bigger workshop and some machines that will make his work faster. His business currently uses a machine cobbled together from a piece of car engine and a long pipe to blow air into the kiln to help it burn. He would love to get some equipment specially made to help him work more efficiently.
It was great meeting George and his team and being taken through the long process of lost wax casting. This process is time consuming. First a permanent concrete mould is made. These moulds are strong and used over and over again. Wax is then softened and beaten and pressed into the mould. Once the wax has taken on the shape of the mould it is removed and covered in a layer of fine charcoal and water sludge before being left to dry. Once dry 6 or so pieces are put together in a small bundle and again covered with another layer of charcoal sludge – this time a bit more dense. This is again left to dry. Once dry they are coated in clay and once the clay is dry the mould is baked in a huge oven for many hours – this process is usually done at night when it is cooler. The wax melts leaving a negative impression inside the clay covering. The brass is then melted and poured into the mould. Once the brass has hardened the mould is broken and the piece is then sanded and polished.
Find our Ghanaian brass hardware collection made by George and his team here.