Craft Makers Must Refine Skills and Innovate – TPDCO Head

Photo: Claudia Gardner Executive Director of the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), Dr. Andrew Spencer, admires a bust of National Hero Marcus Garvey done by sculptor Dwight Thomas of Negril. Occasion was a tour at the Uniquely 876 Craft Fair, which was staged by the TPDCo at the Whitter Village in Ironshore, Montego Bay, on Thursday (December 14).

Story Highlights

  • Executive Director of the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), Dr. Andrew Spencer, is encouraging members of the local craft sector to keep refining their skills and innovate in order to remain competitive and meet the needs of consumers.
  • He said craft contributes to the diversity of Jamaica’s tourism offerings, noting that it “demonstrates the colourfulness of our people”.
  • “I am absolutely impressed. To hear about it is one thing; to see it is another. By having gone to the booths, I have seen a combination of things. The diversity is what interests me most of all because we suffer from doing more of the same, and I see our producers doing things with fibre, with coconut shells, pâpier maché… they are doing wonderful things,” Dr. Spencer said.

Executive Director of the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), Dr. Andrew Spencer, is encouraging members of the local craft sector to keep refining their skills and innovate in order to remain competitive and meet the needs of consumers.

“You have to keep abreast of what is happening, but not only keep abreast – you have to be ahead of the game. You have to be cutting-edge. You have to always be developing new skills because you don’t want the game to move ahead of you and then you are trying to play catch-up,” he said.

Dr. Spencer was speaking at the opening ceremony of the Uniquely 876 Craft Fair, which was staged by the TPDCo at Whitter Village in Ironshore, Montego Bay, on December 14.

He said craft contributes to the diversity of Jamaica’s tourism offerings, noting that it “demonstrates the colourfulness of our people”.

“Many of the other things we do are intangible… . Craft allows them (tourists) to take a piece of our culture with them,” he pointed out.

In an interview with JIS News following his tour of the craft booths, Dr. Spencer said he was proud of the diversity and quality of the products being showcased at the event.

“I am absolutely impressed. To hear about it is one thing; to see it is another. By having gone to the booths, I have seen a combination of things. The diversity is what interests me most of all because we suffer from doing more of the same, and I see our producers doing things with fibre, with coconut shells, pâpier maché… they are doing wonderful things,” Dr. Spencer said.

“That is very significant because this is a large number of people, who are producers themselves, traders, middlemen, all coming together to provide what we are witnessing here today,” he added.

He noted that the Craft Development Institute to be established by TPDCo at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts will be tasked to ensure that the country’s artisans are “producing in the quantities that we need and at the quality that we need”.

“We have engaged in a partnership with Edna Manley to ensure that individuals don’t just engage in training but they are certified,” he said.

“We want more of our products to be out there, so we have to teach new skills, refine old skills, get more diverse products out there. We have an end game and that end game is to ensure that people buy in Jamaica what is made in Jamaica,” Dr. Spencer declared.

JIS Social