Gareth Davis, Gleaner Writer
PORT ANTONIO, Portland:
WHEN EL MORTON made the switch from being a fisherman to becoming a craft designer, little did he know that the newly found occupation would be a resounding success. With assistance from his wife, Rocky, business is booming.
Morton, who described his skill as a God-given talent, made the switch more than 12 years ago and since then the hard work, support, commitment, and dedication is now paying off.
"At first, it was rather difficult. I had no tools when I started out, which forced me to use unconventional means to do stitching and other aspect of the work," related Morton. "My wife has been a tower of strength, and together we have combined all our efforts into this business. All the work is done by hand, and is skillfully crafted. As a result we have increased our clientele, and request for varied types of designs are pouring in," he told The Gleaner.
In the right direction
Together the two design and make slippers, handbags, wallets, women's clothing, sandals, shoes, hats, earrings, and bangles. The items are made from genuine leather and are sold to many professionals.
For wife, Rocky, the business is heading into the right direction, as over the years it has allowed them to support their children, one of whom attends high school, and to feed the entire family of four.
"He is committed to this business. When we started out, we were forced to use an umbrella bone for a needle and an ice pick for hole puncher," recounted Rocky. "We have put in the hard work and, as a result, we are reaping the rewards. It has been an experience that will motivate young people, as we started with nothing. And to get to where we are today is really a remarkable achievement."
The husband and wife combination, who have their eyes set on purchasing a number of machines to help with the work load, has so far employed two workers to assist them.
Designing, cutting of leather and stitching have now become a way of life for the couple, who are optimistic that very soon other persons will have an interest in learning the art of the trade, which they will gladly pass on.