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Treasure Collection’s Carmen Thompson - Offering free training in St Ann

Published:Saturday | March 14, 2015 | 12:00 AM
A motorbike made of metal.
PHOTOS BY CARL GILCHRIST A guitar made of metal.


CARMEN THOMPSON has been operating the Treasure Collection store, located at shop 57, Ocean Village Shopping Centre in Ocho Rios, for more than four years.

The store offers some very interesting collectibles and shoppers usually have a hard time deciding what to purchase from the wide range of wonderful items.

But, outside of the business of selling her wares, Thompson has a burning desire to help others.

A returning resident, Thompson brought some special items when she was coming back to Jamaica, in an effort to encourage craft manufacturers in an opportunity to expand their product range by teaching them how to make new items.

She brought several items specifically to show persons so they could generate ideas for new craft items. Some of these are made of ordinary materials such as seashells, coconut, burlap and, quite interestingly, zinc.

She also has several pieces of musical instruments, including a keyboard, an organ, a banjo, a ukulele, an accordion and two guitars, with the aim of offering music lessons.

She also has persons who have committed to help teach whoever wants to learn, all for free.

"Actually, I want to help the people who need help, mothers with babies, fathers who can't get a job, the student who didn't finish school - teach them a skill," explained Thompson.

"It's just teaching them how to make certain things so they can make a living."

"And there are so many different things that each person can make or do, and the beauty is that I have so many people who are willing to teach their trade to somebody else. For example, making fashion jewellery, carving, sewing, playing a musical instrument, painting, it's a wide variety of things that they can learn."

She added: "And what I did, I purchased items just to give them the idea. They don't have to make the exact thing that they see, but something that you can make and sell and, once they make the item, I'm willing to put them in the store and help them to sell it. I don't want anything from the sale. I can also provide some material to make patchwork spreads, I have some fabric that they can use. I would also teach silk arrangement."

To complete the picture, Thompson needs a few things. She needs someone who can work with zinc.

"It's amazing the things you can do with zinc. The motorbike is one example of what you can do with zinc. Also the lizard, the flowers, the guitar, so many things."

And she needs a location.

I need somewhere to set up, that's the main thing, to have a place to set up these things. Some of the people I spoke with said they (could possibly) come one evening, give two hours. It would be just for the people who want to learn to be in that spot."

To her, it's important to give back to society. She is hoping that some help will be coming soon in terms of finding a location to establish a learning centre.