MONTEGO BAY — The HEART Trust/NTA's Falmouth Vocational Training Centre (VTC) is equipping residents with skills to become entrepreneurs and to serve Trelawny’s burgeoning tourism industry, recently offering a training programme in the old and beautiful art of glass bead making.
Approximately 18 persons from various communities in the parish recently completed a three-week course conducted by international expert Professor Kudjo Owusu from Ghana, who has practised the art for some two decades.
Recycled glass bottles were crushed into a fine power and the material used to create beads mainly for jewelry. Participants were also taught how to make the clay moulds and kilns, which are necessities in the bead-making process.
The hope is that persons trained in the skill will start small businesses or boost existing ventures, by producing craft items that are unique and sustainable.
Centre Manager for the Falmouth VTC, Shorna Newsome-Myrie, tells JIS News that bead craft was just one module of a full programme that the VTC is offering as it looks to expand training in art and craft. “We realise that with what is happening in Trelawny, we have a lot of craft vendors in Trelawny, and so we want to diversify the kind of products being offered,” she says.
She informs that participants have the option to enroll in a full programme, which will last for about four to six months.
Professor Owusu, who owns the Kudjo Glass Beads Industry in Ghana, tells JIS News that he learnt the craft as a young child as he comes from a family of glass bead makers. He informs that he has done advanced studies in the craft and has conducted training programmes all over the world.
Before coming to Trelawny, he conducted a training course in Kingston, in which approximately 22 persons participated.
“I have been training people even when I was very young in school. I went to so many different countries, most of the African countries like, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, and others,” he tells JIS News.
Professor Owusu informs that he also studied European techniques in glass blowing in Holland, and torch work and bead making in Italy.
Trelawny 4-H Parish Development Officer, Natanish Hines, who participated in the training, is very optimistic about the benefits of the programme to tourism in the parish and the 4-H movement in particular.
“My organisation is basically about skills training so I think this is going to be a positive move for our clubbites and the parish,” she tells JIS News.
She says she “cannot wait” to pass on the knowledge she has gained to the more than 5,126 clubbites in 89 registered clubs.
Villa Thomas, who also participated, says glass beads making is one of “most wonderful and exciting things that the art and craft industry in Jamaica could experience at this time”. She says the programme has the ability to take Jamaica’s craft industry to another level.
“Jamaicans are a very creative set of people. You only have to show it to us and believe me, we will produce it, and we will improve on it,” she states.
By BRYAN MILLER, JIS Reporter