Several years ago, I settled in Nevis and started a family. I quickly realized that if I wanted interesting work, I would have to create it. So when my son stopped me from sewing shirts for him because they were not what the other kids were wearing, I started a gift shop.
Starting my own business used all of me and felt like the best job I could have. Without a boss, every issue that came up was mine to solve. I operated a bricks and mortar store, I had one person in the shop and one person at my home studio working to produce the sewn items. This meant that my shop could be open longer hours and production didn't depend only on me. It also meant that my little business was giving 3 women access to a better life, job satisfaction and greater independence.
Beginning in 2008 I started to use fabrics in a new way. I call it making cloth from cloth. By stitching small pieces of cloth on top of each other my team and I make a new cloth. The things we make are unique, even if you call them by the same name. So my clutch purses and art pieces may very well be something you've never seen or never would have conceived, and each one is different because it depends on the cloth we have on hand. See photos on the website www.nevisislandliving.
I often reflect on the fact that Trinidadians created an instrument and an industry from cast away oil drums. We have as excellent an opportunity in the Caribbean as anyone to build our creative sector. To create meaningful employment, link cultures, satisfy customers, expand our exports, learn new skills and build something new and different. At Island Living we are doing our part, one stitch at a time. I'd love to hear from you, if you too are in a creative industry or seeking to increase your involvement in the industry.