“Vision”, the Authentic Local Craftsman
Meet Vision the authentic local craftsman, emerging from the La Croix Maingot community. He earns a living by selling his handiwork at the Castries Craft Market, where he offers a variety of souvenirs and craft items to both tourists and locals alike. Those who know him well will declare Vision as being self-driven, self-motivated and an entrepreneur who is self taught in the art form of sculpting. He fashions every imaginable creature from the shell and husks of dry coconuts, such as monkeys, birds, elephants and crabs, just to name a few. The ultimate form of recycling of our natural resources many craftsperson’s would agree.
When asked how he got started within the sculpting profession he told 2Nite Magazine, ‘I was working at Le Sport Hotel and a friend of mine worked there at the time doing the very thing I am doing today. I used to bring him food and I observed what he was doing and retained it. I later traveled to Saint Martin where there was no work available, so I saw the coconuts, bought a knife and put what I had learnt into effect. This is how I began to earn a living through my skill; no one showed me, I observed people making carvings and picked up the craft, the art form on my own.”
Vision says he makes good sales from his work and that it is indeed a profitable business. Several tourists passing through the vendors’ arcade usually patronize him; in fact, 2Nite Magazine’s very interview with him was interrupted by two groups of visitors who stopped to enquire about his interesting pieces; (he managed to lock a few sales by the way). Vision’s creativity does not limit him to Saint Lucia though, his work allows him opportunities for travel to Barbados, Saint Martin and Canada. “I love what I do, its very nice and I earn a living out of it”.
When asked about the creative process by which he fashions his pieces, he explained, “With the birds for instance, I remove the skin, I smooth it - it takes a lot of time, about four or five hours.” The items he uses to manufacture his pieces are very minimal; just coconut husks and lucky beads are used for his bird feeders for example.
Vision has plans to upgrade his stock and take his craft to another level within the coming months, by offering an elegant, authentic and unique product by varnishing his currently untreated pieces. "At the moment, all my pieces are 100% natural and untreated, but some tourists request varnished pieces, so I will be introducing this into my business soon," he says.
Creativity does indeed come in all shapes and sizes and standing not much taller than a little over five feet, this St. Lucian man’s dreams and ‘vision’ for himself are indeed larger than life itself. - by Faye Chantelle Mondesir.