Tue | Oct 23, 2018

Riot of colours under the sun

Published:Sunday | January 15, 2017 | 12:00 AMAlaina Watts
Pop-up greeting cards by Birdie's House of Cards.
Paintings on sardine cans by Alfonso Blake.
Crafts from Lexitori Designs.

Early one Saturday morning in December, I hurried to the Forestry Department and was greeted by a sea of colours - ceramics, paintings, jewellery, and functional art under white-roofed tents.

It was the annual Potters Fair organised by The Association of Jamaican Potters, where visual artists displayed their artwork.

Exhibitors from different parts of the country had made their journey to show everyone what they could do. As I walked the grounds, I could see beautiful paintings on one side and amazing sculptures on the other, each piece of art giving the spectator insight into what the artist thought and felt when he was creating his work.

Paintings were not just simply painted on the canvas. There were pieces that were painted on wood and whatever the artist could find, and there were paintings that were literally jumping out of the frames.

Alfonso Blake used sardine cans as his medium - which was born out of his love of eating canned sardines. "You have to use what is around you," he said, pointing to a few of his works that were painted on cedar wood.

There was jewellery and other accessories made from wood from Lexitori, mini-Dutch pots and mini-coal stoves from Napier Patterns Moulds and Castings, and wooden bow ties and rings from Bartley's All in Wood.

Walking around, some questions popped up: How did they think of this? and Did they really do this themselves?

The creativity of these artists was spread across the grassy expanse. It was clear that these potters, sculptors, painters, and craftsmen were eager to create something new and different. It felt as if it was a battle of the most creative.


Returning exhibitors


There were many returning exhibitors at this year's show - for some, this would be their fourth year - as well as a few first-timers. Howard Moo Young, a returning exhibitor, said he was pleased that the fair draws different types of artists.

Firsttime exhibitor Jonoi Messam of Birdie's House of Cards, who made pop-up greeting cards, said that the ups and downs of his first fair were a learning process, and he would be returning next year.

For many attendees, this was their first time at the show. Many of them said they enjoyed the show. "It's really nice," was a common refrain. And although one patron was there for most of the day, there wasn't enough time to visit all the booths.

There were definitely new things to see, and a few surprises at the Potters Fair. It is always a pleasure to savour what Jamaica's creative minds have to offer to the world.