‘Give attention to handicraft, home decor sectors’

BY: Della Russel Ocloo
Mr Maier-Aichen (left) listening to Ms Awa Miete of Mali on how she creates her designs from cotton. PIX: DELLA RUSSEL OCLOO
Mr Maier-Aichen (left) listening to Ms Awa Miete of Mali on how she creates her designs from cotton. PIX: DELLA RUSSEL OCLOO

Ghana has been urged to create a unique identity for its ceramic products with authentic themes that will distinguish them on the international market.

A Professor of Design at the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design in Germany, Mr Hans Maier-Aichen, who gave the advice, said the handicraft and home décor sectors were in constant change and there was the need for Ghana to be socially involved in developing products that could be easily identified and which would become the country’s identity.

Speaking to the Daily Graphic at the 2019 Ambiente Trade Show and Exhibition in Frankfurt, Germany, Mr Maier-Aichen said the ceramics and handicraft sectors had become enablers in creating jobs in Germany, India and other places and urged the government of Ghana to pay attention to the sectors.

“In going after projects, governments ought to touch the right stuff, instead of undertaking projects that do not showcase any form of creativity but are rather ‘boring’, with no market identification,” he stated.

He said Ghana had great ceramic designs, in addition to several resources others could tap from, however, “the problem has been of logistics, transport and consistency which are key in making the needed global impact desired”.

He said fairs like the Ambiente often had 80 per cent repeat clients and a country or company’s consistency in a particular product design could ensure authenticity, which buyers were looking out for.  

“You need to have identifiable products, since the market is interested in identity and authentic ideas. So it’s not just a question of making new designs but rather creating modifications that will fit in all kinds of global markets,” he said.

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Mr Maier-Aichen stressed that the global handicraft and home décor market was also influenced by a rise in travel and tourism, since tourists often collected souvenirs, particularly handicraft, from the places they visited.

Regrettably, he said, low capital investment had seen Africa losing out on the potential of becoming a thriving market in handicraft in the global chain.

“Ghana, Mali, Ethiopia, Niger, Benin all have great prospects in the consumer market and all they need to do is address adequately product development issues by researching into market trends and making use of platforms such as the Ambiente to influence growth in their respective countries,” he said.

He also counselled individuals in the sectors to take up the challenge of financing their activities if the government was not interested in committing finances to their projects.

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