Wednesday, July 7, 2010
West Indian Market
A comment on my texture post reminded me how fascinating markets can be as a source of inspiration. Thanks Cynthia! Back in the days when I was painting plein air watercolors, I did a series based on our local market. The Marigot market sold fish, fruit and vegetables, spices and handicrafts. The crafts were some cool stuff--among the usual tourist trappish merchandise you could find original jewelry, papier mache birds and animals and painted tin items.
"Farmer's market" conjures up such refined and safe images to me. I can tell you that this was not that kind of market! The vendors and shoppers were as fascinating and diverse as the wares. In order to take any pictures that could possibly include a West Indian person, you first had to cajole and charm to obtain permission . That usually failed and I was known to "sneak a shot and run", not that I recommend that heart stopping method. The residents of St. Martin, the island where we lived (as well as every other Caribbean island) are fiercely protective of their identity and do not take their self image lightly.
I was thinking about the ubiquitous Caribbean straw hats and totes painstakingly lined with rice bags as I worked on one of my 3D collages. I'm using sewn rice bags in my new work as a nod to my sewing roots and to Caribbean women (and men) and their craft work. They were elevating the materials long before it was popular in Chelsea galleries!
These images aren't that great (reference photos taken on the sly and scanned by non-expert scanner me) but they do give you the idea.