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.


  1. i get it..i hate having my picture taken period. i can't believe you had the kahunas to sneak pictures! good for you...and this is an interesting post. the people sound interesting, more so than the markets i'm used to seeing here in the states.
    cool too that you are using rice bags in your new work. those bags are like peeling skin kind of...can't wait to see what you are up to.

  2. Glad you like the post--and that you found it. It was in my drafts and when it was published I didn't pay attention and it had the original date on it, so it didn't get into anyone's readers. After all that work! at least I learned something about blogger, which I've found to be pretty user friendly, less buggy than fb, what do you think (o computer guru--seriously though, you are!)?