Jamaican Arts and Crafts – Wood Sculptures (Jamaica)

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Jamaican Arts and Crafts – Wood Sculptures

Published May 30, 2011
Wood Carving

Jamaica exports more than just bananas!  Wood Carvings including Art Sculptures, along with other Arts and Crafts are definite exports of Jamaica.    Jamaican arts and crafts are typically exquisite, thought given, and well cultivated. Millions of dollars each year are spent by the Jamaican tourist industry and by returning emigrants buying arts and crafts. This is great, but in spite of this I don’t think enough values are been placed on crafts and art.

Arts and crafts come in many different creations. The use of wood, straw, fabric, semi-precious stones, clay, shells, metals, and computer generated graphic arts are visible elements of crafts that are bought and sold from art galleries, open air, flea markets, free market trade  or online.  Early Jamaican Arts & Crafts came from an influence of African, Indian, European and Arawak cultures as a way of using natural resources to enhance living. Craft persons ‘back in the day’ used clays and shells to make utensils and pots to cook, eat, and drink with.  So initially the use of Arts and Crafts also served as a lifestyle of living. Using bold and bright colors -another Jamaican culture, Artisans also depicted life and landscape in their crafts to tell stories, which can be seen in paintings, sculpting, fashion and designs and a whole lot more creative mediums.

Wood Carvings sometimes are underrated by the general public and the amount of labor time that goes in the production most times goes by unnoticed. In most cases it is the craft person or the artisan that truly appreciates the wood or other materials that have been used in making the craft. Quality wood carvings are typically made out of heavy wood like the Jamaican national wood –the lignum vitae, cedar, mahogany, or dog wood. The art of wood carving is a unique talent in itself. A lot of factors go into design and production.  Lance, a very skilled artisan from the parish of Trelawny, Jamaica W.I along with his brother and other family members creates immaculate original custom wood carvings. Keep in mind the woods used in all of Lance’s carvings are 100 percent pure and natural.   In Lance’s own words he says

 “di first ting I do when I carve is whatever come to my mine . I would talk to Jah to inspire me to do di tings I like to do faarr people.  I jus’ carve from wat’s in my mine;  I don’t look at nuh picture.  I jus’ get some wood and jus’ start carving.  After I carve I sand it down by h’ands – no machine.  Den I would stain it, den put my colors in to h’ow my customers would waant it or di way I see it in my mine. dis is how I get my one of a kind creations. “

Hand carved wood sculptures make great decors for homes, and gardens.  It can add beauty to your office space, music studio, living room, or anywhere in your home.  Psychologically, it can calm your spirit. Given the nature of the art you can also do your own customization.  For instance, painting, repainting, staining or re-staining wood sculptures are a great way to teach a child how to paint.  According to local Jamaican citizens ‘it helps a child to develop an eye for everything.’ In other words painting a form of art increases brain power and precision.  Art sculptures can also be a representation of who you are and what you stand for in the environment. Take for example, a dolphin, a fish, a cat, or a dog, all hand carved out of wood; having one or all of these art forms may create a strong consciousness about saving the animals or protecting wildlife.  An art sculpture can also portray a person you like, i.e., President Obama, or Bob Marley, or a basket ball player. Therefore, art in many different art forms are limitless to what you can do or think about, once in your possession.  The idea is to invest in great pieces of quality arts, crafts, or sculptures that you admire and want.   

I believe that we should put more psychological value to art sculptures just like how we value great paintings.  Given this, wood carvings and quality arts, crafts, make great investments, strong souvenirs and should be recognized as such.  These are but a few great masterpieces from our original ‘One of a Kind Creation’ and make great collectibles.  If interested, please view more original and wonderful hand carved art pieces  in our arts and crafts category.


About the Author:
Simone Wright has written many articles for many publications. As a free lance writer she explores many topics in art, beauty, skin care, hair care, and the environment.  She is a Temple University Alumni with a business degree in International Business and Finance.   She is the owner of Beauty Coliseum  and she has an online store. She attributes a lot of her knowledge from life experiences, travels, reading and study.  She is an advocate of saving the planet,  ‘going green’ and ‘preserving wildlife’.  She is also an avid collector and trader of Jamaican Arts and Sculpture.

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Tom Crain
Apr 2, 2014 3:34pm [ 1 ]

Does anyone have information on a Jamaican Woodcarver using the name Lazarus who sold his work through the Jamaican Artists Cooperative in the Victoria Crafts Market, Kingston, in the late 50s and 60s?

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