About Us

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About Nani Croze

Daughter of artist parents; her father HAP Grieshaber was a well known woodcut artist in Germany.
She is a muralist who experiments in a range of materials. Her commissioned works can be found all over East Africa, including large murals in hotels, ministries, hospitals, banks and office buildings.
Using the technique of concrete relief, mosaic, metal, glass blocks and stained glass, she shows immense versatility and creativity.

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About Kitengela Glass

Kitengela Glass, a long time neighbour to Nairobi National Park, is a hidden gem. Prior to entering the main gate, be prepared for the myriad of sculptures, glass art, and variety of animals along the rough and wildly entertaining road to “Nani’s” Kitengela Glass.
Kitengela Glass, founded in 1981, by Nani Croze provides a lively training center for over fifty artisans receiving on-going training and/or employment in various artistic disciplines. In addition to helping individuals make a living through their artistic abilities, Nani is committed to maintaining the natural landscape by planting trees, promoting renewable energy sources, and limiting waste. Additionally, Nani and her husband Eric are strong supporters of access to education for all individuals. This involves funding and promoting grant programs for children’s school fees, as well as providing space and guidance for adults in need of literacy training.

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Our History

In the late 1970’s, the Croze family visited the Athi-Kapiti Maasailand plains for a picnic. They were so captivated by the outstanding natural beauty of the area with its’ riverine gorge that they decided to move there. In 1979, Nani started the stained glass studio which has evolved over the last thirty four years into a group of studios, all occupied by artists and craft workers, all accomplished in their respective skills, including stained glass, glass blowing, Dalle de verre, faceted glass (glass blocks), fusing, slumping, mosaic, wrought iron, ferro-cement sculpture, pottery and glass bead making. “We had continuous threats from lions trying to eat our horses and cows and still have the odd leopard attacking the dogs and poultry.

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The only tree we had when we first came to Kitengela was a large strangler fig – the sacred Mugumo tree. Under this we built a geodesic dome, which collapsed some years later from the pressure of the fig’s roots, and is now the ‘jua kali’ metal workshop, as well as recycling and now felting space. I gave up keeping sheep after a blood-lust attack by a leopard killed twenty and left one insane. The ongoing battle with the large python has become legendary.”In the rainy season, the children had to swim across the river, with their books in plastic bags upon their heads, to get to school.
Urbanisation has meant that the location does not seem as remote as it used to be, although the Park has acted as a buffer to development and there are still no municipal services such as proper roads, rubbish collection, water, etc (but since 2012 electricity has arrived).Now the studios employ more than 70 people, about half of whom live there, with their families, creating a small community.

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Philosophy

Nani says: “Kitengela started as a pioneer homestead and grew into an oasis. As the area is semi-arid, few trees would grow, so I began to build my own shade in the form of sculptures. I encouraged artists from all around to join in.
Money was always scarce so we used available materials; grass, mud and stone. This has not stopped and we are still using mainly recycled materials; old glass, scrap metal and wastepaper. Glass is my favourite recycling material. I started with bottle shards as mosaic, this evolved into stained glass and then into glass blowing (by my son, Anselm) and beads (by my daughter, Katrineka).”

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