JIS News

Story Highlights

  • A wide variety of unique handmade jewellery, sculptures, pottery, natural products and clothing were on display at this year’s Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) Craft Fair, at Emancipation Park in New Kingston, last Friday (December 13).
  • The event, organized by TPDCo’s Craft Unit under the theme: ‘Crafting for Christmas: Give a Craft that Counts’, featured 33 booth displays by local artisans.
  • The entity’s Acting Craft Coordinator, Cheryl Lewis, told JIS News the initiative is part of sustained efforts to create opportunities and improve the livelihoods of local artisans.

A wide variety of unique handmade jewellery, sculptures, pottery, natural products and clothing were on display at this year’s Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) Craft Fair, at Emancipation Park in New Kingston, last Friday (December 13).

The event, organized by TPDCo’s Craft Unit under the theme: ‘Crafting for Christmas: Give a Craft that Counts’, featured 33 booth displays by local artisans.

The entity’s Acting Craft Coordinator, Cheryl Lewis, told JIS News the initiative is part of sustained efforts to create opportunities and improve the livelihoods of local artisans.

“We had all the artisans from across the island travelling to Kingston where we could have a wider audience and have more patrons passing through to purchase items that were available,” she said.

Ms. Lewis said the event’s family friendly atmosphere resonated with a wide demographic and encouraged members of the public to view and purchase products in support of the local artisan industry, while enjoying live music from local artistes Ernie Smith and Fab 5 Band, among others.

“The focus was really on encouraging persons to come out and purchase a Jamaican craft item. You can give it as a Christmas gift or maybe as pixies. There was clothing, painting carvings… beautiful unique pieces that persons could purchase,” she said.

The Craft Coordinator said each year, the organizers of the event, which had its fourth staging on Friday, seek to innovate to make the fair bigger and better, in order to strengthen the local craft industry and further reposition it as an essential component of the Jamaican tourism product.

“We are finding ways and means to keep craft, like basketry, alive for the next generation to take over. All these things are quality Jamaican made products and the producers just need more exposure to build the craft industry, as a whole,” Ms. Lewis explained.

Craft Vendor from the Kingston Craft Market, Judith Samuels, who specializes in crochet and coconut shell creations, and who participated in the fair for the first time, said the event provided invaluable networking experience, and anticipates that this will help to expand her client base.

“We [got] some exposure because you [got to] meet future customers who are interested in your products” she said.

Wood and Papier- Maché Sculptor, Devon Garcia, told JIS News that he has a close relationship with the TPDCo as a trainer in the Craft Unit’s training programme in the art form.

“The event was good and craft is important to the Jamaican economy… and it can go a far way,” he said, adding that he would like to see greater support for the local artisan industry.

Managing Director of Naturalista Distributors, Indira Boyd Mullings, said she was excited at the prospect of participating in the fair, adding that such initiatives are important for promoting small business operators.

“It is extremely important to have these opportunities. Jamaican craftsmanship is growing [and] so there is need for the expansion of TPDCo’s services. With the awesome team that they have at the Ministry of Tourism, we can only look forward to bigger and better things,” she said.

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