Indigenous Caribbean Network

Hey all!

My creative interests are very varied.  I was lucky enough to grow up in a home of artesanos and traveling the island following the Puerto Rican powwow circuit.  Fiestas patronales, ferias de artesania, ferias del pueblo, ferias de Bomba y Plena, Bacardi, Feria de las Flores, del Cafe, etc, all these were my haunts.  That is what I grew up with.  Anything and everything I wanted to experiment with by way of creativity was open to me.  My home was a revolving door of visiting artesanos who started out as friends and ended up as family and quite often shared knowledge of the crafts they mastered.  This gave me a lot of opportunity to experiment with different ways of creative expression and to experience what it feels like to do them. 

There is a huge difference between making figurines out of sea shells, making paper flowers, working leather, working gourd, carving wood, making jewelery, painting, working clay, tatting, embroidery, sewing, beading and on and on...  Personally I feel that, although there is a difference in the working of the materials according to medium, the inspiration and creative process is the same. Now that is just my view, others may feel otherwise (thus this group :).

My home is one where creativity is a main focus.  Some of our homes have had the living room converted to a studio/creative area and others, as in our present apt, it's been in the dining area.  Few come to visit that do not get involved in a project of some sort.  At the least, they leave with paint on their clothes.  

The crafting I most often do now is writing, painting, collage, embroidery, crochet, bead work, some leather work (along with the beading) and anything else that I can experiment with at the moment without going into too much expense.  You can see some samples of my work on my personal blog. I collect feathers and animal parts as well, and although I don't know how to tan skins or work with feathers much, I do wing it ;) (pun intended).  Always in a good way.

Presently, I am interested in learning how to do macarame, which I believe is finger weaving or weaving without a loom.  My interest is mostly based on the fact that our ancestors did weave and I have seen some jewelery, clothing and accessories made in macarame that look really good and could be used as part of regalia or daily wear. I could be wrong about our ancestors, but again, that is one of the purposes of this group :) to learn.  I would love to hear from folks who have experience doing this and any tips are deeply appreciated.

Other than that, I'm working on making some fingerless gloves in crochet for the upcoming cool weather and, as always, doodling and drawing up some possible patterns to make in bead work or embroidery.


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It’s funny that I stumbled into this group a few days before I teach a class in feather working, porcupine quill embroidery, and drum making. I also do beadwork (if fact, a few years ago the Ohio Arts Council sponsored me to take on an apprentice so I could pass it on) I also make pine needle baskets, brain tan hides, (the only thing you should use for quillwork) leather work, gourd work, finger weaving (a little) Lately I have been intrested in playing with natural dyes for dying porqupine quills as I have 3 porqipine hides to pluck!



I teach a variety of different classes - so if anyone is having some trouble on any of their crafts, feel free to ask for advice . . . if it's something I don't know, I'm not the type to pretend I do.

A question I DO have for the group is - If any of you have played with natural dyes (I gather my own plants) do any of you know if using vinegar to "set" the color would have any unwanted effects on the end color? I know it can be used with commercial dyes, but I don't know if it's OK with natural home made dyes.



Hey Wanda!

Thanks for your response and for offering your wisdom, knowledge and experience.  That's awesome! I for one, will be emailing you in the case I have any questions or run into any snags :)

It's been a while since you posted the above.  For myself, I am sorry it's taken so long.  I have been on a hiatus from the computer and I have only been back for a short time.  I wonder if you experimented with this and what were your results?

Look forward to hearing from you!

I have not experimented yet, but am now growing some of the plants needed for dye - I have to wait untill the blood root multiplies so I don't use it all.



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