Christmas Tree – Island Style!
Deck the Halls with lots of Sea Side.
A handmade Christmas tree can not only save you time and money, but it can be magical and gratifying and can set the mood or theme for the entire Christmas Season. I was born and raised on the cosmopolitan and bustling Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tobago…..so I could never quite relate to a White Christmas, I’ve always found it hard to understand the use of cotton, fake snow-flakes and ‘snow in a can’ to represent a winter scene when I knew I’d be spending my Christmas vacation on the beach making sand castles and sand angles.
I grew up thinking that ice was invented for drinks or snow cones…..there could be no other possible use. It never occurred to me that people actually lived in it, and that entire holidays were centered around Winter Wonderlands. Yes, I read the books and I knew Santa lived in the North Pole….but I also read about the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. It was only year’s later in my teens and early twenties, after 4 years of school in Canada and another 4 more in the ‘deep freeze’ at RIT in Rochester New York, I finally understood the whole White Christmas symbolism and I learned to appreciate and respect the power of winter. I also totally understood why so many of God’s creatures hibernate or migrate south for the winter ; ) I knew then what I know now….this Island Girl’s blood is much better suited to a warmer climate so I moved as far south as I could and made my new home in Florida.
During the holiday bustle, it’s only natural to miss my little island. Christmas time is a big deal in Trinidad and I always miss all my ‘Trini’ friends and family. The smells in the air of all the traditional Christmas food and drinks, the upbeat sounds of Parang music playing, and the laughter of friends and family taking some time out to ‘lime’ and be together….that whole magical and intoxicating island vibe.
This year once again, I won’t be visiting the Caribbean for Christmas, but if I can’t be there, I can always find a way to bring a little of the island spirit here by recycling and repurposing items that remind me of the islands and incorporating them into my Holiday decorating.
Last year I made an ‘Island Style’ Christmas Tree out of driftwood scraps, decorated it with seashells, and placed it on a big platter with sand and sea glass. It turned out so beautifully, I think I’ll reuse it again this year! So now I have my Caribbean Christmas Tree that smells like the ocean, my Parang playing, my Ponche Crema chilling and my fabulous Cuban husband to share it all with me. I give thanks, this Christmas for all my blessings!
Christmas is a time when you get homesick – even when you’re home. -Carol Nelson
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‘Tis The Season
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Repurpose all Season long!
‘Tis the season to be jolly for sure but ‘tis also the season for lots of folly! Yes, it’s the season for spending lots of money and creating lots of waste. Here’s the thing…most people give their ‘green’ thoughts a rest during the Holidays, when in fact we should be more conscious of the excesses that can occur over the holidays, and more aware of how we can reduce, reuse, recycle and repurpose all season long.
Just because something is recycled doesn’t mean it’s trash and it certainly doesn’t mean it cheap. Good taste has nothing to do with money or how much we spend…and sometimes the thought or presentation can become the most valuable part of the gift. Spend more time with your kids, get them involved, this is their planet…we just borrow it from them for a while. Teaching your children the importance of living green is the best gift you could ever give them.
Spark your creativity and ignite your children’s imagination. The holidays are a great time to transform ordinary and discarded materials into new useful and beautiful items to decorate and inspire. And the way you wrap your presents with individuality and creativity can speak volumes about how much you love your friends and family and show how unique and special they are to you.
There’s a saying in Trinidad: “You may leave the islands, but they never leave you.” It’s so true…regardless of where I live, in a warm or cold climate, I’ll always be an Island Girl and I’ll always recycle tropical things to make and decorate my Christmas trees and to wrap my presents. It’s my way of putting a little warmth into all the presents that I give to my friends and family.
When I give a gift I always say…”The gift is just a thought, my present to you is the wrapping!”
Keep your love of Nature, for that is the true way to understand art more and more. – Vincent Van Gogh
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One of a kind and Limited Edition ‘Eco-Friendly’ Jewelry.
My Jewelry follows the “up-cycling” movement which aims to re-evaluate the worth of waste by reinventing and reclaiming discarded materials in new and unexpected ways giving it a ‘Second Life’ by transforming it’s beauty into ‘Something New’.
All of My Jewelry and accessories are entirely hand-made by ‘manipulating’ used and disposed materials. The reused materials give the jewelry and accessories a strong identity with unique characteristics effectively making each piece a distinct and unique work of art. My process and my inspiration are material-focused. Using non organic discarded materials and reworking them to create unexpectedly organic shapes and patterns. I aim to create Jewelry and Accessories that force you to look at the ordinary in a new in an extraordinary way. I strive to make jewelry that is distinctive and surprising…..jewelry that is contemporary and makes a creative and thoughtful statement.
The work came to life through a common deep rooted passion to working towards sustainable development. In our over-consuming society, already struggling to solve the problems of tomorrow, eco-design offers a new path towards more environmentally friendly products, by ‘up-cycling’ or ‘repurposing’ discarded materials into useful and viable Works of Art.
“For me the material cost or nature of jewelry is not nearly as important as the presence and feeling of an object that has been transformed from one material, having one purpose into something entirely different.”
The way of the Creative works through change and transformation, so that each thing receives its true nature and destiny and comes into permanent accord with the Great Harmony: this is what furthers and what perseveres. -Alexander Pope
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Jewelry As A Contemporary Art Form.
My husband and I own a Commercial Photography Studio that specializes in photographing and Styling Jewelry, so I’m always exposed to lots of traditional jewelry for the commercial market. Because of the sheer amount of conventional jewelry that we constantly work with, I find myself increasingly attracted to a more Avant Garde style of Jewelry. New styles of jewelry that is formed in the workshops of artists and designers who create more experimental jewelry.
Rather than following a more traditional and mass produced route I am more interested in exploring and discovering new forms, of intellectual and alternate material based solutions. My mother Judy was one of those artists, and as a teenager, I delighted in seeing her innovative accessory designs rock the runways at major fashion shows and Carnival productions for Caribbean designers like Meiling and Peter Minshall. I will always be inspired by those artists who are constantly breaking the rules, pushing the boundaries, and paving the way for the modern and progressive thinking of jewelry as a contemporary art form.
While I do have a need to share my thoughts, ideas and discoveries, I mostly work on my own, in silence, focused on what I am doing – like a mad scientist or inventor pushing the limits of what is ‘traditional’ or expected. The majority of my work has never been seen, I have always been quite satisfied with the sheer joy I feel as I get lost in my own process of discovery, experimentation and creativity. But I do enjoy the reaction of my friends who stumble upon the work in my studio or enquire about a piece I may wear. In retrospect I feel that the final effect of my work has to be shown and shared. I defeat the purpose of the work by keeping it to myself, because the very act of sharing My Work, brings my artwork to life and allows me to exist as a creator.
As an artist I am a work in progress, always growing, always learning, always inspired by the possibilities. I am constantly standing at the beginning of the next stage of my creative journey, full of passion, emotion, unfettered openness. I continue to search for my own artistic identity, and I freely experiment with different subjects and materials. I have much to learn, and am not overly concerned with polished, artistic good-manners, I accept that I am not fully aware, and because of that I can express myself in an honest and authentic way.
My work is characterized with transformation, purity of form and the metamorphosis that occurs when materials completely change in appearance and character creating a new elegant and organic piece, and at the same time demonstrating innovative techniques and new material solutions. I always have the strongest connection with my Newer Projects. Although, I know that my most important pieces are those that are still ahead of me.
Creativity is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift to God. – Bob Moawad
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