Design Caribbean For Calabash
Awe-inspiring beachfront vistas and a roster of prolific Caribbean and international writers have come to define the Calabash Literary Festival hosted at Jake's Hotel, Villas and Spa in Treasure Beach, St Elizabeth. But there's more than rapturous book readings to digest at the literary festival, as showcases for artisans and craftsmen have figured prominently at the event that was founded in 2001 by novelist Colin Channer and filmmaking scion Justine Henzell.
This year's Calabash staging, slated for May 30 to June 1, will feature the Caribbean Export Development Agency-sponsored Design Caribbean stand, set to introduce the work of 11 participants culled from nine sister islands.
Those at the stand include Barbadian Vanita Commissiong, who will have her eye-catching Very Vanita line of beach bags, scarves, slipcovers and tea towels that marries traditional art and digital technology, on offer. The Haitian design duo of Stéphanie Dartigue and Sara Maglorie are set to shine the spotlight on their Créations Dorées brand of shoes and jewellery that feature handcrafted leather and intricate beadwork.
Guyanese native Nicholas Young's Rainforest Pottery collection of clay crafts is a mix of traditional Amerindian motifs etched in clay sculptures from Guyanese kaolin and red clay.
Other exhibitors for the Design Caribbean showcase include the all-natural cosmetic Belzeb Incorporated brand from Grenada; the hand-painted fashion and home furnishings of the Barbadian Avark line by Ava and Mark Daniel; Arawak Leather Craft out of Guyana; Kay Expressions from Belize; Designs by Nadia from St Lucia; and RêVE Jewellery and Hands of Clay from Jamaica.
"We are thrilled not only by the invaluable support from and collaboration with Caribbean Export, but the opportunity to fully showcase regional artisans alongside local craft and fashion," Calabash's producer Justine Henzell told SO.
Equally excited about the platform for the artistic potpourri is Pamela Coke-Hamilton, executive director of the Caribbean Export Development Agency. "The Caribbean's artistes possess an overwhelming wealth of talent making it an extremely difficult deliberation process when we can only support a limited number. This particular staging of Design Carbbean provides the artisans with exposure to an international audience and also much welcomed media attention," Coke-Hamilton shared.