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From Mahogany to mosaic tiles

TRE GREAVES, [email protected]

From Mahogany to mosaic tiles

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FROM MAHOGANY TO MOSAIC TILES, from grass to canvas, craftsmen and craftswomen talent at the 2016 Crop Over Craftworks showcase was at an all-time high.

Marketing officer at the Barbados Museum & Historical Society, Janelle Edwards, was full of praise for the artistes and said that this year’s event saw the highest number of vendors at the Barbados Investment Development Inc., (BIDC) and the National Cultural Foundation-sponsored show.

The event, which is in its third year, saw 49 vendors displaying their jewellery, clothing, paintings, ornaments, foods and numerous other pieces of handiwork. This number was an increase over the 40 in the previous year and 35 in its inaugural year.

Some of the vendors who had their work on display shared their stories with EASY about bringing their products to life and using mostly Barbadian products to make a living.

Long-time craft shop Medford Craft World was one of the many small businesses at the event. Business development and sales officer Anderson Holder said mahogany products are a hit with customers.

“There are plenty of mahogany trees in Barbados and we would never run out of mahogany,” he said.

“Before mahogany was used to make things such as furniture, but now we’ve found a way to make conversational pieces that people and businesses love.”

Ireka Jelani, owner of Roots and Grasses, creates baskets and decorative household items. She once worked out of Pelican Craft Village but when business slowed, she shut shop at the Bridgetown spot and used her home at Turner’s Hall, St Andrew, as a base.

She mainly uses khus-khus grass for her crafts and though it’s not plentiful, she said it was important to carry on the Barbadian heritage. “I find that you can’t get khus-khus grass like before, so I plant a lot of it. This is one of the ancient crafts so it will always have its place.

“There is a lot of competition from Europe and China but I don’t worry about that. I focus on creating exquisite artwork that is different,” she said.

Sandra Fitzpatrick of SanAlicia Mosaics also at the showcase, creates home décor items such as mirrors using mosaic tiles. She said it was a labour of love.

The three men behind Creation on Canvas – N. Clarke, S. Davis and Laval Husbands –  say their art is a part of their livelihood.

They have had some difficulty finding raw materials for the pieces that include acrylic paintings and a model of the Garrison Savannah. “We come together as a team and we have to end up buying materials for the frames,” Clarke said.

 “Craft and art is our thing so we can impress ourselves, show the tourists what is going on in Barbados and make ourselves proud,” Husbands added. (TG)