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Re: carribean islands

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From: Jerry Vilenski (jvilensk_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Fri Nov 09 2001 - 07:35:25 PST


Laura,

I have visited Jamaica several times over the years, and have observed several different types of arts and crafts that are predominate in the country, some of which you might be able to adapt to your classroom experience.

One obvious art form is Raggae music, which is constantly playing day and night from large speakers, and is great to experience.

As to crafts, I have observed lots of carvings of varied styles. The craftsmen and women carve figures of rastafarians, sea life and local birds, as well as african-derived mask forms. These are usually made from soft woods, and are sometimes finished with shoe polish as a stain and varnish. In addition, carved gourds are everywhere, and are pretty cool. They sometimes are made into small purses that the ladies carry. They all have intricate designs that are Jamaican in nature or just plain linear designs. They use small round gourds for the carvings I have seen. Basically, the gourds are made by etching into the surface with carving tools. You could probably use flat bladed linoleum carvers with these.

Lots of weavings are sold in the shops, with macrame styled slings, belts and other tourist stuff available. Most belts are made on small handmade looms. Of course, if you wear dreadlocks, knitted caps are available.

A lot of Carribean art includes pottery, which is made with a rich, red clay found in the hills in Jamaica. I have visited local pottery shops, where they use kick wheels to produce a wide variety of ceramics. My favorites are small intricate figures of Jamaicans and bowls of fruit. Pretty touristy, but all original and hand made.

Jamaican painting is very colorful, reflecting the great scenery and colors of the country. Lots of work includes street scenes and depicts everyday life.
Hope this helps.

Jerry

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