Oshiwa Designs are the creations of Kavango Woodcarvers Paulus Mutunda, Joseph Dhumba and Josef Kanwa, who have been involved with the Oshiwa craft project in Namibia since 1994. At Oshiwa Paulus, Dhumba and Joseph have been able to dedicate themselves to carving and have developed a large repertoire of designs, based on a skill inherited from their forefathers. The designs are intrinsically African, but are at the same time unique creations, produced without copying from any source other than the carvers’ own creativity and a memory of traditional patterns.
When you purchase an Oshiwa Design stamp and use it in your own products, you are honouring the creativity of the carvers. The printing stamps represent a means to support their families, and allow them to continue plying their craft in the face of the immense pressures of globalization, rising costs and mass production. Each stamp is painstakingly carved by hand and each design is carefully considered – the opposite to a product that is mass produced with little or no connection to an original creator.
A certain amount of designs are repeated in every new series, but each hand carved printing stamp remains an individual piece. African Wawa wood is used. A soft and pliable wood ideal for carving, properly treated and certified free of contamination of insects, the wood is procured from plantations controlled by the Forestry Department of Ghana. The stamps can be used on fabric, paper or impressed into clay. They are also beautiful as carvings in their own right.
Note: The stamps are sold in the United States through Etsy, represented by Rachel Biel, TAFA’s founder.
Although we have the capacity to carve large quantities of stamps, we do consider ourselves to be artists and are inspired by the muse with each stamp that we make. Therefore, we do not take special orders or make copies of the stamps. You might find similar themes, like elephants, but each one will be different. We want to have the freedom to carve what comes into our heads, sometimes images from our childhood, sometimes inspiration from our surroundings and sometimes a new creature that only we can see and laugh about.