EASY MAGAZINE: Can’t stop this hobby
EVAN CLARKE is unsealing the beauty of bottle cap art in Barbados. He has found a way to give these easily discarded items a brand new purpose.
He is not only taking recycling to a whole new level but he is also adding a twist to the concept of art on the island. So the next time you think of disposing of a bottle cap after drinking a refreshing cold beer, remember the cap can be put to creative use.
This Bajan Yankee returned home with his wife of 49 years, Jeanise, to enjoy a relaxing retirement in Union Park, St Philip, but Evan could not help but find a hobby to commit to.
“I just like collecting bottle stoppers,” he said.
“I like drinking beers too, but I did not drink all of the beers for these bottle caps. I get some of my friends to collect them for me and sometimes when I go to Q In The Community I ask the bartenders there to collect them as well.
“But my friends who own bars collect the most for me. My friend Hilda from Angel Bar, my friends from Tina’s Bar in Six Roads and Julia from Fairchild Street Market really help me with my projects and for that they have my sincerest gratitude. I started doing this type of art in May and I do not stick down the stoppers so I can move them around and create new things at my leisure.”
Clarke said he did not know the total number of bottle caps he collected but the caps he used to make the parishes on one of his first work of art range from 20 to 143.
The Union Park resident said this process requires a certain level of patience and skill to create his craft.
“I was collecting bottle stoppers for about ten years and now that I am making art out of them I realise that it takes certain technique. After I conceptualise the idea in my head, I start colour coordinating the caps and I move from there, my first piece took me over two weeks to complete. Sometimes I get inspiration from my life or what is going on in the country, hence why this collection is mainly independence themed,” he said pointing to some particular pieces that reflected Barbados’ 50 Independence anniversary celebrations.
“If you look at them carefully you would see that they are mainly Deputy and Banks beer bottle stoppers but that is because they are the most popular to come across. However I had initially plan to only use Banks beer and Guinness bottle stoppers, Guinness is my favourite, but a friend told me I should stop being picky and collect others.”
Clarke said that when he had completed his first work of art he was so excited that he invited his neighbours to his home to see the art on display. His first piece was a layout of the map of Barbados, the number 50, a broken trident, and the number 49 among other things. He explained that the 50 represented Barbados’ 50th anniversary of independence while the 49 was tribute to the number of years he and his wife have known each other.
Clarke, known to many as Rudolph, decribes his wife as the love of his life. Jeanise explained that they were destined to meet.
“We worked for a biscuit company in England, I worked there for 24 years and Evan 28. In 1967 I met him on the first day I landed, we were staying in the same house; back then there weren’t apartments, who lived in separate rooms but shared the small house.
“When we fell in love we bought a house and we have two children together but Evan has two children from another lady and two grans.
“We originally come from Society Hill so most people from Clifton Hall and Gall Hill know us but he liked St Philip so we came down here. We have friendly neighbours and they like to see Evan’s work, they call him Mr Stopper.”
One of Clarke’s newest creations is a portrayal of Six Roads.
If he was a poet he would arrange his description of this piece like this:
These six roads lead to every destination in St Philip
Beulah, Union Park, Eastpoint and further up
You can stop and ask for directions from friendly people without having to rethink
It’s a social hub for chit-chat, relaxation, food and drinks
It’s more than a roundabout, it’s an experience to feel the fresh breeze
And for a good laugh and karaoke there is no place like Hoodees (SB)