Editor’s Picks of Useful Unconventional Souvenirs Made in Jamaica

  1.  Giclee & Commodity Prints from Edible Icons

Giclee & Commodity Prints from Edible Icons

As the daughter of a Jamaican mother raised in Canada, Lindz was among the Jamaican Diaspora, who had many fond memories of their child-hood. “They would talk of the ackee tree in their garden,” she says, “And almost every yard has a fruit tree, like breadfruit, which is part of the diet and the landscape. It’s iconic, and it has iconic value to them.”

Between 2006 and 2010, Lindsay (Lindz) Barrowcliffe took photographs of eight different fruit and vegetables across Jamaica.

Lindz says “The idea behind the name has to do with my view: the fruits and vegetables are such a part of the life and culture in Jamaica. By encapsulating them in photographs, they become little icons.”

 

 

2. Copper Tubing Jewelry, by Kristina Broderick

Jewelry designer, Kristina Broderick, has been handmaking jewelry locally since 2008. Her flair is rustic, yet classy, hip, yet not too outrageous.

Kristina says, “Nature inspires me, and my designs are organic. For example, my mesh earrings look like the ‘Old Man’s Beard’ plant that grows in a tree outside my studio, where I make all my designs.”

Using materials such as gold, silver, brass, and wood, Kristina’s most unique alloy is local copper tubing, from which she has made earrings, bangles, necklaces and rings. Although a controversial concept, cop-per has been worn by people with arthritis for centuries, as it is thought to relieve joint pain. Broderick does not know if it really helps, but she aims to please her customers, and if they ask her to create a set of bangles for them, she will do it in such away that they will simply seem like a part of your style.

 

3. Jamaican Trivia Playing Cards by Emprezz Mullings

Born in Falmouth, Trelawny, Emprezz Mullings moved to Australia with her family when she was a young teenager. Returning years later to her home country, Emprezz has made a name for herself as an ambassador for empowering women and young Jamaicans in general. Continuously evolving her missions and projects, the idea of Jamaican Trivia Playing Cards came to her halfway through 2010.

She wanted to put a twist on regular playing cards, so she decided that it would be fun for each card to have a different trivia question, the value of which would equal the value of the card itself. Emprezz is inspired by her home country, so she felt it was fitting to change the four suits: Spades, Hearts, Diamonds and Clubs, to the Jamaican Map, Ackee Fruit, Hummingbird and Coat of Arms, respectively. Each suit pertains to a specific category of questions: geography, culture, music and people. She also changed the King, Queen and Jack in the deck, to three of Jamaica’s National Heroes: Marcus Garvey, Nanny of the Maroons and Paul Bogle.

The next step was to do some market research. Emprezz personally took her cards to bars, encouraging people to play, and give her their feedback. She found that they were a huge success, and by December 2010, the cards were on sale.

 

4. Botanical Place Mats, Coasters & Trays from Contemporary Caribbean

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Jamaican-born Susanne Fredericks wanted to make art prints more affordable, yet functional, while creating some kind of artistic Caribbean identity. Her Botanical line originated from a thought that, “nothing really reflected the kind of food we have in Jamaica”. So Susanne took generic antique prints of the fruits of the Caribbean from the 1800s, and sat with a graphics designer and manipulated them.

The result is a picture of the fruit, spice or tree, with its description and the latin botanical name. One set is botanical trees: papaya, banana, date palm and aloe vera. The other is fruits and spices: vanilla, otaheiti apple, sweet sop and cocoa.

 

Jacqui Curtis Leather Goods by Jacqui Sanguinetti

Jacqui Curtis Leather Goods by Jacqui Sanguinetti

5. Jacqui Curtis Leather Goods by Jacqui Sanguinetti

Jacqui Sanguinetti has been making leather products since the 1980s, including handbags for a SOHO boutique. Her work is neither neat nor structured, but rather harmonious with “whatever I think of at the moment,” she says.

Jacqui likes to use the rugged and raw, choppy edges of leather, because it gives a more natural finish. Hand-stitching everything herself, Jacqui Sanguinetti has most recently delved into designing shoe accessories, yoga mat carriers, toiletries bags, hat boxes, wine and rum sacks. She even makes the buckles on the belts!

“Doing handwork is hard labour,” Jacqui says casually. “It’s tough, but very fulfilling.”

 

6. Jamaica Mermaid’s Tears by Andy Golding

Raised in Montreal, Jamaican-Canadian Andy Golding moved back to Jamaica in the mid-1990s.

A fisherman at heart, Andy spends much time on the beach searching the sand on her hands and knees for smooth beautiful glass and stones to take home. She says that each beach in Jamaica has different stones and glass, and favourite is Port Royal, which she describes as “incredible”.

However, having the glass and stones sit in a bowl was not enough for her. “I wanted to wear them, so I started making jewelry,” she quips.

Andy does nothing to the glass and stones except drilling a hole to push leather or metal through it. This stalwart environmentalist insists on maintaining the integrity of the seashore loot she finds. “You can literally pop it (a piece of glass or a stone) in your mouth and taste the ocean,” she announces proudly.

 

Tony Barton's Woodwork

7. Tony Barton’s Woodwork

Engineer GS Barton (AKA Tony Barton), became a designer and a craftsman, making functional and decorative accessories out of wood.

His repertoire includes jewelry boxes, clocks, salad bowls, chopping boards and cheese boards, and educational toys for children.

Barton is truly an artist, working with the colour of the grain, and using it like a palette.

With great skill, he carves the most intricate designs in his larger pieces, such as mirrors, screens and cabinetry. To conserve, he creates large items first, then uses the smaller pieces for bangles and pendants.

Creating contemporary pieces allow him to “push the boundaries and make a statement,” he says.