Anita Quansah creates jewellery, but to be wearing one of her designs is to be wearing a piece of art. It is hard not to smile or feel joyful when looking at an Anita Quansah design. Each piece is bright, intricately made and beautiful - a celebration of culture and craftsmanship, passed down through generations of Anita’s creative family.
Anita has exhibited her work internationally and worked with numerous high profile brands including creating some incredible footwear and legwear in collaboration with Swarovski.
It was the women in Anita’s family who inspired her from an early age, with their own textiles craftsmanship and dexterity. Anita marvelled as her grandmother hand-crafted amazingly extravagant clothes for many grand clientele, a exuberance which has found its way into her own work.
A Family of Inspiring Artisans
“I always say that my Granny Clara is my muse. Although she is late, all she instilled in me will forever remain with me as long as I stay focused on my chosen creative path. As the daughter of Igbo Land, Onitsha, Anambra state, the Southern part of Nigeria, I was exposed and brought up in an elaborate culture enriched with so much history.”
“Of course, my family played a massive influential role in celebrating our artistry and preserving craftsmanship.
“Dressing up in our traditional attires made with flamboyant textiles is what adds to our joy. When I was growing up, I watched my grandmother hand-create elaborate attires for the chiefs and kings. Seeing those richly jewelled colourful regalias and attires inspired me to look at colours and details much grander way.
“As you can see, I love over the top details, and I enjoy fusing unexpected materials to create textures that steer up reactions and get people to ask how and why it is made.”
It’s no wonder that people are fascinated by the construction of Anita’s work. The beading is an intricate and time consuming process, but that is something that Anita is more than happy to embrace.
“I'm a great believer that love takes time, and love is also patient. So, the creation of each beaded necklace takes time. It varies on the style. Some beaded necklaces have taken me three months to make, and some has taken me weeks and some days.
“In those times, I have learnt so much in the creative process. I never speed up the process or rush the love I feel for a piece that I am working on; speedy love diminishes the excitement, and as a creative, I want to express on the outside what I feel on the inside.”
In our busy and hectic world, where fast production is the norm, taking time over something it is a rare and precious approach - but one that we should aspire to.
The Joy of Making
There is no reason to rush the creative process, especially when it gives you as much joy as Anita has when creating her jewellery.
“Words cannot fully express the joy I feel when I get to create. It is a joy that surpasses all understanding.”
“The making process is like unwrapping a new exhilarating experience that will lead to another layer of surprise and another surprise. Then I am wowed and overwhelmed with so much joy. Which I do, because I have no expectations, I enjoy the process of uncovering and discovering. I have learnt so much that I have added to what I call my Life Curriculum Vitae”
Anita’s passion for colour and celebrating the art of dressing up shines through in her work, and the uplifting experience that Anita receives from creating her jewellery is something that is passed onto the wearer.
Anita has had many responses form customers who have felt the uplifting power of Anita’s wearable artwork.
“I have received these testimonies from great powerful women who have chosen to adorn themselves in their powerful shields of comfort and love, as one of my clients referred to it. That have uplifted their souls and brought joy and dazzling sparks to their hearts, faces and styles.”
One of Anita’s customers enthused that she "felt all the energy and love Anita put into my necklace. Trying to be ourselves is a constant fight. My necklace is my peace, feathery weapon."
Another customer was equally thrilled:
"I have been working all day. When I put on my necklace over my Tee shirt, it shines and sparkles; and I got so excited to dress up again."
Storytelling Through Art
For Anita, storytelling and her cultural heritage plays a huge part in her approach to designing.
“I enjoy going on various creative journeys with my craft.”
“Born in England and raised in Africa, I was very fortunate to be exposed to diverse cultures, which have impacted the way I use various mediums to tell stories within my hand creations. Of course, I love art, people, travel and many more, too; as an intuitive, creative storyteller, I start with respecting the ideas first. I believe that any concept that visits you is looking for the right channel to express itself fully.”
“With that in mind, before I embark on any creative project, I carry out my research to best understand the concept much better. For instance, if I am creating a piece based on my childhood recollections, I engage in conversations with the elders in my family. Or people who hold titled roles in my society will educate me on certain traditions and practices and why things are done in various ways that are unknown to me.”
“When I gather my information and resources, I allow my creative institutions to direct me in the best way possible. Trusting the path and having fun in the process of the unknowing adds to the excitement and thrill.”
Passing It On...
Anita runs jewellery making workshops in her local area in order to spread the joy of craft and making, passing it onto to future generations.
"When you know better, you do better." This citation from the great Maya Angelou is one that I love. As I am learning, I need to share that joyful experience with others to empower and enrich themselves. One is never too young or too old to learn, and creative skills rejuvenate the soul.
“It is paramount to do what we love best and share that love around in our current world. The pandemic reminded us to dive within and discover those things that we took for granted and do more of them so that they can spark joy."
“There are billions of people sparking joy worldwide, and I am so fortunate and delighted to be part of this incredible soul-enriching movement through the creative workshops I run for children and adults.”
Anita’s Advice For Other Creatives:
1. Never dull your light because of doubt and fear of what others think of you.
2. Practice makes progress.
3. Many will never understand what makes you very happy; follow that twinkling star that lights up your eyes and that rumbling excitement that makes your face beam with joy, stay on your lane and lovingly do the work; with time, you will get to your destined end.
4. What's excellent and life-changing never comes easy; I follow the mantra, Plough, Sow, Nurture Lovingly, then Reap at the appointed time.
5. Oh, another thing, Joy in Solace. Enjoy the time alone getting to know yourself, and form a relationship with your passion.
Thank you for inspiring us Anita and for sharing the joy of making!