26 February 2008

EarthWorks! Art Studio

When I was doing pre-trip research on Barbados, I learned that native "Barbadians" call themselves Bajan. They also speak a language by the same name, that to my American ears sounded almost completely intelligible. Basically, it's a mixture of African expressions, idioms, and syntax mixed with Scouse English of Liverpool. After talking to a few people, I learned that Bajan, is actually the accented and shortened form of the official word, Barbadians. I've read that it's comparable to Jamaican Patois, but more like Creole. I learn something new every day.

Since it was Valentine's Day, and we wanted to do something fun, Brian and I went on a tour led by Johnson's Tours of Barbados. They operate lots of tours, but this one is their "100% Bajan" tour, where we get to experience the crafts of several places close to the Bajan heart. We began our day with a long drive through endless sugar cane fields to head to a pottery and art studio called Earthworks.

We didn't have a tour of the studio, but I enjoyed that they gave us time to wander freely and watch the workers mold clay on the wheel, glaze, and fire their works, as well as having the opportunity to speak to each of the artists as they create their works.
This woman was molding a vase on the wheel. Below is an unfired clay carving of a head that I spotted on one of the many shelves of seemingly endless creations.
Outside the studio, I heard a rooster crowing, and I decided to follow my ears. Once I was outside, I saw a pretty impressive looking rooster walking around piles of broken pot shards.
I looked around outside for a while spooking and chasing the chicken in the grass. What can I say, I'm a kid at heart. I was thinking about all of that broken pottery, and what on earth they could possibly do to recycle it somehow. then I wandered around the studio some more and found this:
I thought it was pretty cool, all of the shards held together in what looked and felt like terracotta. These pieces were probably cracked, broken, or otherwise imperfect before they were put into the wall here. I think the effect is awesome. When I finally made my way into the studio-shop, I found this:

The finished products are quite pretty with swirling colors in shades of blues, greens, and yellows. Then I looked at the price tags. Each of these vases cost upwards of $60US. The smallest thing I found, and ice cream bowl that was much to tiny to serve my cravings was almost $15US (EACH!). In the end, I couldn't bring myself to buy any of it for the prices they were offering no matter how pretty or cool some of this stuff looked. Maybe someday in the future, I'll be more willing to drop hundreds of dollars on pottery like this.

1 comment:

Deutlich said...

Man, I wanna go to Barbados!