Twice the size in just two years
St Helena Arts and Crafts moved to the Canister from a gloomy room at the back of Broadway House just two years ago. The move to larger and certainly more pleasant premises in a far more prominent location has brought with it an Arts and Crafts organisation which is thriving now more than ever before.
The number of people making craftwork for sale at the Canister has increased by about forty, making the total number of craft workers providing work for sale double what it was just before the move. The range of local craftwork offered for sale has also increased. The longstanding wood and lace craft continues but the range of items made from local wood is larger and more people are now offering lacework as well as adapting the style of their lacework to what today’s tourists want to buy. Recycled products made at SHAPE’s (St Helena’s Active Participation in Enterprise) headquarters in Sandy Bay add further to the range of choice available.
The range of crafted wood available using local materials now includes dishes, clock faces and book-ends made to commemorate the RMS being taken out of service in 2016. A further range of commemorative items, this time marking the bicentenary of Napoleon, will also be available.
In addition to the recycled works from SHAPE another relatively recent addition to the range of souvenirs available is the raw flax work where some skilled work has been produced since the visit of world renowned flax artist Veranoa Hetet in 2012. Veranoa came to St Helena to train some craft workers in how to use flax. Since the training sessions given by Veranoa, Wanda Isaac has developed her skills to a high standard and is teaching others how to work with flax.
Embroidered shopping bags and handbags are another increasingly popular line and more interest is being shown since the Artists Corner Exhibition in November last year in offering paintings for sale.
Arts and Crafts have established their own quality assurance mark. ‘Uniquely Saint’ is the mark used to assure customers that what they are buying has been hand crafted in St Helena using local materials to a high standard.
Arts and Crafts is developing into a ‘nice little earner’ for those who are interested in craftwork and are lucky enough to have the necessary skills. The revenue taken by Arts and Crafts at the Canister is gradually and consistently increasing. The Arts and Crafts organisation seems to be positioning itself well to take advantage of the increased numbers of tourists expected after the airport opens.
Anyone interested in contacting Arts and Crafts directly can email them on firstname.lastname@example.org