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Nkinzi’s gifted hands

Nkinzi Muhwezi is a Fine Art student at Makerere University but she hasn’t waited to graduate. She is already earning off her craft, writes Edgar R. Batte

W hat explains your love for art?
It is more of inborn for me because most of my siblings have done art.

When did you discover the artist in you?
In senior one when it was more about drawing and I grew to help out my big sisters as they went about doing their art pieces. I am now a student at Makerere University doing my Bachelors in Industrial and Fine Art and these are some of the skills that I am acquiring as a first year student. One of my course units is textile and fabric design and there is a textile part of designing and printing T-shirts and the textile part where you can weave door mats and wall hangings.

What materials do you use?
I use yarn and loom to weave.

You already have some mats done, how long did you take weaving them?
It was two days of hard work. These are children’s mats and they’re smaller and more decorative but something bigger like a two-by-two mat would take me weeks because it is more work, more yarn and it is quite thick.

How much are these children mats?
These I did on booking and each is Shs50,000.

Apart from textile and fabric, what else do with your hands in as far as art is concerned?
I actually make jewellery and do a bit of painting too as well as plaiting hair, which I do during my holidays.
How much do you sell jewellery for?
I do a set of earrings, bracelet and necklaces for Shs30,000.

What materials do you use for making jewellery?
I use stones, African beads, strings and metals. They are affordable. I can buy a packet of beads depending on the size at about Shs2,000, stones at Shs4,000 and a string for Shs4,000 or Shs5,000.

What do you use your money for?
I am a fan of jewellery and spend most of the money to buy myself jewellery and the rest of the money goes into buying more materials to make these products.

Who are your main clients?
It’s mainly family – my aunts and uncles. Recently when my aunts came from the UK, I got a chance to hike prices for my items and left Shs100,000 richer. Friends sometimes may like earrings or bracelets and when I make them, I get paid for them.

What’s your wish list?
I try to make my items different because many people make jewellery but their items are the same. So I use stones because many people don’t use stone and that’s how I standing out as unique.
After school I want to invest in bead work because one day I was going to a function and the outfit I had matched well with blue jewellery and because I already knew how to make them I began making myself some. I figured then that I could do it.

Do you only make ladies’ stuff?
Yeah, for now because guys’ things are a bit tricky and the market is ready on the ladies’ side but guys always ask me so I guess I will begin making some for the guys as well.

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