Sat | Nov 17, 2018

Ishama unleashes creative gene

Published:Saturday | August 16, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Horace Fisher, Gleaner Writer

Forget about Paris, the Milans, the Madrids, the New Yorks and the other fashion capitals of the world. Some of the most contemporary pieces of clothes, shoes, slippers, handbags, belts and to-die-for accessories are made right here in Marlie Hill, Old Harbour, St Catherine.

The designer/artist Ishama, a deeply spiritual, creative designer, told Rural Xpress that she is a self-educated artist who paints, draws, designs and relies on her 'inner vibrations' for inspirations. She said all of her designs are made from local raw materials, (except leather), including the versatile bamboo, coffee wood, gourd shells and other local materials.

Ishama, who was displaying a collection of her distinctive male and female, African-inspired clothes, bamboo- and gourd-accentuated leather goods and other creative designs at the Jamaica Agriculture Society Agriculture and Industrial Show at Denbigh in May Pen, Clarendon, said that every one of her designs is unique, and are carefully hand-stitched.

"I am self-educated, I-and-I taught myself to sew, paint, draw and design all kind of creative stuff, no one show I-and-I to do this: it's from within," Ishama, decked out in one of her designs, told Rural Xpress at the recent Denbigh Show. She added, "The I get my inspiration from the I inner vibration, the I see it?"

"No two of I-and-I designs are the same, each is unique and is hand-stitched. Whenever a client purchases an item from the I, that item will not be replicated, nothing is repeated," the soft-spoken artist/designer insisted.

However, with the abundance of creative talents, the rastafarian woman draws, designs or paints pieces whenever she has some materials, or if she has an order from her brethrens or sistrens.

Harsh economic climate

However, with the harsh economic climate in Jamaica, she has since early 2000 turned her creative genius into a growing business, operating out of her Marlie Hill residence/studio.

"Usually, the I just do things when a brethren or sistren ask the I to; or when the I have some leftover material, but about the early 2000 or thereabout the I start take it serious, and so far it good," she explained.

Ishama explained that she doesn't use specific measurement in her designs, but cuts and sews freehanded from a mental blueprint and are at times unsure what the finished design would turn out to be, especially when working with garments, but is usually amazed at the outcome.