Emmanuel the Alchemist
Whats your name & age :
My name is Emmanuel Simat and I am 28 years.
Where do you come from:
I come from Kajiado County Kenya from the Maasai tribe.
Tell us a bit about your work:
My work is making jewellery using recycled materials like brass, cow bones, cow horns and wood. I also make leather belts and bangles using processed cow leather merged with Maasai beads.
You are very passionate about your work, what do you love about it:
Jewelry making is a skill I first learned from my mom who raised us. She made beading belts and other Maasai attires, if I wanted a pair of shoes or a school uniform my mom would make me bead some belts which she would sell and buy me what I wanted. This taught me self reliance from a very early age.
I came to learn more about fine jewelry making and brass casting after working for a UK based jewelry company here in Kenya. Meeting very influential world designers encouraged me to take a jewelry making course which made me a great jewelry maker. I love seeing beautiful pieces coming out of what is deemed to be trash and no longer usable. The glow on the peoples faces whenever they see the end product always gives me great satisfaction.
Do you have any employees?
I have a group of eight boys who handle the brass casting and machine work and six ladies who do the beadwork and assembling. I give them a consistent and very fair wage, sustainability of my business is important as my workers and I solely depend on it for our needs and financial support.
What is your biggest struggle?
My biggest struggle is reaching markets that appreciate our work, consistent clients who can give us a stable and dependable supply of work and finance. Getting the right tools for fine jewelry making is a challenge as most of this cannot be found in Kenya and the prices are high. We tend to get held back from making far better and classic jewelry due to lack of funds to explore new materials, designing costs and initial cost charges that are paid before venturing into big craft fairs and sales.
Our aim is to support Emmanuel and his group to be able to explore better material and better tools so we all can keep doing what we LOVE.