Mon | May 1, 2017

Tun u han mek fashion

Published:Monday | April 5, 2010 | 4:00 AM
Jamaica Cultural Development Corporation's Executive Director Grace Silvera models two of Cochita's creations at the recent culture club conference held in St Elizabeth.
Sixty-year-old Cochita McCalla at her craft.
Plastic bag hats and bags featuring the national colours.
Plastic bag hats and bags featuring the national colours.
You can't go wrong with black and white. This creation can fit almost all of your outfits.
You can't go wrong with black and white. This creation can fit almost all of your outfits.
The pattern variation is created by the writing on the plastic bag. - Contributed photos
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Nashauna Drummond, Lifestyle Coordinator

Sixty-year-old Cochita McCalla may be described as an alchemist in her trade. For several years, she has been turning the proverbial 'trash into cash'. Using the skill she learnt as a child, she has been transforming unconventional and often discarded materials into treasures. She uses old, new and discarded plastic bags to make hats, hand bags and kitchen sets.

"I love to crochet and that is how I got the idea," notes the Goshen, St Elizabeth resident.

Each of McCalla's masterpieces sells for approximately $1,000. However, she laments that the cost of the raw material is rising, and she often depends on persons who shop at MegaMart or travel from overseas to supply her with used shopping bags.

McCalla's customers are predominantly persons who are travelling overseas. "I want to sell them in stores, but I cannot make the quantity," she notes, adding, "I would love to get some young people to learn how to do it and then help me." Each item takes about two days to complete.

McCalla's efforts undoubtedly epitomise strength and creativity and she has been a beacon of hope within her community. Many around her say she is an inspiration to think creatively and make an honest living.

Check out her creations.