Young entrepreneurs make art and craft from unlikely sources

From left: Samantha Ramah, Crystal Baptiste and Aneisa Douglas in front of their booth at GuyExpo yesterday.

Among the abundance of talent at this year’s GuyExpo are three young women, Crystal Baptiste, 18, Samantha Ramah, 19, and Aneisa Douglas, 25, who are making art and craft from the most unlikely materials.

When Stabroek News visited their booth on GuyExpo’s opening night, there was an almost mystical feel to the space, perhaps the effect of the display of jewellery hanging from tree branches or the eerie landscapes painted onto what appeared to be old liquor bottles. It could also have been owing to the fact that the first piece of craft presented was ‘Crystal’s Magic Bottles.’

Baptiste was not been there at the time, but Wayne Barrow, Director of Interweave Solutions and Manager of Dis Is De Place, under which the items were displayed, guiding visitors through the exhibit, had pointed to a quantity of jewellery laid out on the table and proclaimed, “This is an 18-year-old’s dream.”

Baptiste yesterday explained that Dis Is De Place began in 2013, but was officially launched in 2014. She stated that the business focuses mainly on the production of upcycled jewellery, as she and her partners recognised that more and more persons are becoming environmentally conscious.

They began with the production of paper beads, which are quite colourful and solid in feel, very near the texture of hard plastic. These, she said, are created through a marbling process. They later came to incorporate CD jewellery, Crystal’s Magic Bottles, cracked marble jewellery, candles and nebula bottles (a galaxy in a bottle) among other art works.

Douglas is a painter by profession, having majored in painting and minored in sculpture at the Burrowes School of Art and graduated in 2012. She, however, came to love leather craft. She has also been trying her hand at paper jewellery.

Douglas’s jewellery, largely jubilee themed, features chains and earrings of Guyanese prints including the national colours and abstract shapes.

Quite apart, but somehow, managing to fit naturally into the landscape was Samantha’s pepper sauce and seasonings.

Ramah said she received the inspiration to start her own business from her parents, who are also entrepreneurs, and are owners of a fishery. She started her business in June, just a few months shy of joining Interweave’s programme, but said the business training she received has enabled her to make better financial decisions.

Baptiste is the chief designer at Dis is De Place, which is owned by Zailoon Barrow and managed by her husband Wayne. She shared that they are all members of the same congregation at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose teachings were the driving force behind the Barrows’ inspiration to teach self-reliance to communities.

Interweave Solutions Guyana aims to promote self-reliance within communities to alleviate poverty by providing business training. Ramah and Douglas are both graduates of Interweave’s programme.

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