|Cleophas Chengo. He uses bits of gems to make walking sticks unique. (Photo:Pascal Mwandambo)|
By Pascal Mwandambo
The passion for beauty has propelled Chengo, 42, to experiment with rare forms of art.
“Talents are varied since all of us cannot produce the same works of art. It’s good to come up with creative pieces that can distinguish you,” says Chengo about his unique products.
It takes him about four days to design a beautiful walking stick.
To give his artwork the fine touch, he ensures he has enough supply of gemstone. He buys the colourful chips from mining sites in Kasigau.
To reduce on cost, he purchases gemstone sand, which he then sifts carefully to separate the gemstone chips from soil. The chips are normally from tourmaline as well as red and green garnets.
Woodwork is tastefully done to ensure the product is of high quality. Chengo carves the sticks using the rare and expensive local hardwood mwingo.
Once the wood is carved out to the desired shape, the artist meticulously sticks the gemstone pieces on the polished wood surface in neat patterns using special glue.
The finished product is not only an attractive artistic piece but also one that can fetch good prices in the market.
“The value of art is sentimental. If you love a piece of artwork, you shouldn’t feel the pinch if you buy it at a good price. Unfortunately, few people, especially in the villages, understand and appreciate the true value of art.”