Handmade St Lucia – a promotional package orgainsed by Sandals Resort is back on the scene following a two- year break due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is the fourth year that the arts and craft display is being presented to the public, and since then there has been an increased participation from local artists on island.
This year’s Handmade St Lucia edition, dubbed A Christmas Gift MARKETPLACE is due to take place on December 4th at Sandals Cap Estate, from 9.00a.m to 5.00p.m.
“It is a forum where we give artisans the opportunity to showcase their product, bring it before the public in a Christmas Gift kind of way, which allows the public to purchase on property,” Simone Skinner, General Manager of Sandals Cap Estate told reporters at a mini media launch, Wednesday.
Skinner said the concept aptly suits the ‘Yuletide Season’ as there are “so many great products on display, but also for the artisans who get to boost their finances”.
She adds that, “It’s a ‘win-win’ (situation) for everybody and Sandals is really proud to be part of this event …and really the catalyst of just giving them the forum to say this is all for you guys.”
Skinner described the display as a ‘charitable event’ that “gives back to the show”.
According to the Sandals GM, there has been favourable response to the event and the presentations have increased from 40 participants in the first year, with more than 60 artisans signed up for this year’s display and counting.
“It’s a one-day show and really a come-out to support and buy local …and it’s also an opportunity to meet the artisans that are in Saint Lucia doing incredible stuff,” declared Skinner.
She explained that patrons can also place orders to facilitate gift items for special occasions, such as birthday and anniversary celebrations, “or something else that may be happening in your life”.
Said Skinner: “The real importance for us is to have a really strong, vibrant industry for our artisans, because it’s so much of the backbone of who we are as a tourism company. We give them that platform but it’s also an opportunity for them to grow and expand their portfolio …and also given the opportunity to meet people that they would not normally meet.”
The Sandals GM says the event is open to all persons residing here, and most especially, the items produced must depict and be infused with Saint Lucian arts and culture. “You don’t necessarily have to be a Saint Lucian, but the products must be made here …and you don’t necessarily have to use Saint Lucia’s raw materials…but it must be made or conceptualised here,” she said.
Skinner said the ‘side attractions’ will include door prizes and a raffle- with gift donated by the artisans for the day’s activity. She added: “It’s a complete ‘family event’ and everybody is invited …because we have things for kids, we have things for the men in our lives, for the women in our lives and for parents. Everyone is welcome, because there are items for everything and everyone in our lives.”
Adam Cadette, a hand craft designer, began working on his pieces of “handmade jewelry … with cords, and so forth”.
He adds, “It was something I started and dedicated to my daughter, my first born at the time, and from there it has grown and I have gone into other products and services.
“We now do personalized jewelry as well …and so we make things like key rings, souvenirs, gift items, coasters and a wide range of products.”
Cadette, whose initial team consist of four workers runs his operations from various outlets, such as, the JQ Mall, in Rodney Bay, and AF Valmont Building, in Castries.
What inspired the young designer to take up this craft that he is so passionate about?
“Art is something that I have always been into from school (Castries Comprehensive Secondary), but I was more into decorative art,” declared Cadette.
He says that he dabbled with drawing and painting, but this aspect of the artform “did not appeal to me that much, but I preferred to work with ceramics and making surface decorations and that kind of stuff.”
On the future projections for his craft and company, Illuminating Designs- Fashion Jewelry, Cadette says, “I want to keep on pushing …and I don’t want to be contented with where I’m at presently. I have clients in the US, Canada, and Europe and I have exported quite a bit of my products within the six years since I’ve started.”
He also caters for a wide range of local clientele, but does not limit his options and is eager to take his craft work to the wider region, and beyond.
As a third-time participant in the Handmade St Lucia arts display, Cadette feels the experience helps to provide a wider outreach for artisans to display their products and interact with people.
“Usually that’s one of the main events that I look forward to, throughout the year …and we do get a bit of exposure, we get different people coming there and we have tourists coming there as well,” he said.
Cadette adds, “It is usually a very fun and exciting experience, being there …and generally, I feel Christmas time is my favourite time and that’s where it becomes very challenging, very busy. And because of our flexibility and ability to do things on the spot for our clients we get several orders.”
The handmade jewelry designer asserted: “My aim is to expand and to expand my outreach. I need to get more customers for my business to grow …and to produce products of quality.”