24-YEAR-OLD FIDELA UMUHOZA, has found her niche in wood art.
Having harboured a dream to be self-employed and create jobs for the youth, she established Umutako Wooden Arts in March this year, having utilised her education background in Building Construction Technology at the University of Rwanda, College of Science and Technology (UR-CST), further her art skill in wood carving.
Umutako Wooden Arts is a company that makes modern wooden art crafts for home decoration, and Umuhoza is determined to use her skills to make to beautify people’s homes.
“My purpose is to let the world know that through wooden arts we can have beautiful homes, create jobs and promote our culture. Our company designs and implements different decorations that also serve as a method of communication depending on the desires and feelings of our customers,” she said.
The artist shared that she ventured into wood art, inspired by her love for arts, particularly decorating, and her desire to beautify home interior by using available eco-friendly materials and technology.
“Wood is mostly used as a building material in construction, but I also use it to decorate the inside of different homes,” she said.
Like most start-ups however, Umutako Wooden Arts is not without challenges.
some of her wood designs at Umutako Wooden Arts.
One of her challenges while starting out, she said, is the negative feedback from people on social media that discouraged her.
“I posted some designs on my Instagram account and asked my audience for feedback, some didn’t like them and would say that there were just photos that couldn’t be turned into physical art crafts,” she said.
After taking her time to learn more about wooden art however, she implemented some designs and people started believing in her idea. As she rises, she keeps discovering and experiencing more about this art.
Her artworks are made from different types of wood including wood pine, Markhamia Lutea (Umusave), Mahogany, and Medium-density Fibreboard (MDF), an engineered wood product made by breaking down hardwood or softwood residuals into wood fibres.
She is currently working with other young people around Kigali and with the aid of different machines like lasers and CNC machine, manufacture different art pieces.
Umutako Wooden Arts’ works also include key holders, photo frames, watches, and other decorations, which Umuhoza said are popular mainly due to the creativity and uniqueness behind them.
She explained that their uniqueness depends on how decent they customise artworks for their customers while at the same time instigating their dreams. The prices depend on the dimension and the type of material used on a particular art craft.
When asked about her favourite art craft, she mentioned that it is a wooden wall clock professionally cut in wildlife style. She said that it’s because her clients love it so much.
Talking about the impact of Umutako Wooden Arts on the community, the founder revealed that it has created jobs for more than 15 young adults and has started receiving orders from abroad.
“Most importantly, our company has proven to the young generation that it is still possible to be creative and innovative,” she added.
So far their biggest challenge remains the insufficiency of production machines and lack of a big showroom where people can find their products.
Tackling their plans, Umuhoza revealed that they aspire to become a big wooden art company that offers more job opportunities.
“We are looking forward to having workshops across the country, expanding the size of our market, and promoting the use of advanced technologies in our work practices. This industry is growing big and we also look forward to expanding across the country,” she added.
For more information about her or Umutako Wooden Arts, you can check out their social media platforms @umutako _wooden_ art.
Email: [email protected]