Metal sculpting is a difficult and complicated art. But Noailles, the city of etched iron, is city where many have mastered it.
What makes the Balan family, who are well respected in the competitive Noailles metal sculpting community, fascinating is that five of some of the best in the city share one bloodline. An even more fascinating thing about them, and what makes them famous and popular in an industry and a city where the art form is dominated by men, all five of the talented metal-smiths are female.
Myrtha Balan is one of the “iron queens” of the Balan clan. She’s a pioneer to her community and to women abroad, and she has much to tell.
I’m Myrtha Balan, a native of Croix-des-Bouquets, I live in Noailles’s village, where the etched iron is “KING” I come from a family of nine children and grew up watching my four brothersworking metal.
I've always had a soft spot for the work of my brother Jonas. He was one of the best in the family.
In 1986, I stopped being an observer and become an apprentice. At first, I remained in the shadow of my brothers and other artists of the village, so I can learn from them, to become a complete artist.
After over a year of learning, I got my first contract: 300 trees for an art store in the United States of America. For a beginner, it was a great opportunity, and I exploited it. The client was so pleased.
To this day, I continue to train and develop my talents while pushing my business and my clientele is multiplying.
Every year, I participate in many Fairs, Crafts festivals, and events that focus on the advancement of women.
I dream of seeing my work on the shelves of stores in the world, not necessarily to get rich, but to bring another image of Haiti to those who are accustomed to the horrible stereotypes about my country.
Etched iron is a part of me. Because of this art, I live well. But, I'm not the only woman who practices this art. My four sisters have and continue to follow the same path.
I learned many things along the way. And, I know the journey is far from over, and the best is yet to come.
For anyone who wants to get a piece of Myrtha, do not hesitate to contact her: email@example.com or visit his workshop; Croix-des-Bouquets, Village de Noailles # 25