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Plus for pottery

John Springer at the potter’s wheel.

by Donna Sealy

Barbadians in search of one of a kind works of art should head to St. Andrew.

There you will find a range of items.

And visitors looking to take home a piece of this country have been heading to Chalky Mount.

Potters John Springer and Winston Jn. Paul told Barbados TODAY earlier this week, that after business had slackened off and visitors stopped coming to their shops in St. Andrew they had decided to do something about it.

Two weeks on, they have been reaping results as more people have visited their shops and bought mugs, and monkey pots.

Springer reported that his sales had increased after advertising the pottery festival, which started on July ends on August 11.

“I must say that we’ve got this promotion going and although I always knew that the monkey would maintain its market, [it] has definitely taken off. Almost every Barbadian who has walked in here has collected a monkey pot.

“This fulfills my dream because my dream was that one day I would see a monkey pot in every Barbadian home. It’s too important a part of our culture not to have that pot. Like the tourists who come from overseas and hear of the culture of the pot, no matter the size they take it back because they want to relate.

“One of the things that makes this art quite satisfying is when tourists buy a pice of pottery they are taking a piece of Barbados, a piece of the earth itself. I can’t think of a better souvenir and they appreciate that,” he said.

His cups, pots, large plant pots, candle holders, napkin holders and are sold in gift shops but he makes pieces to order. He also said that the cups are best sellers and they fly off the shelves.

He is assisted by Tamisha Cummins and Nageea Holligan who is now learning,

Jn. Paul, who operates Highland Pottery has spent 29 years in the business and his story is similar to Springer’s. He too has recorded increased sales since the promotion started.

Outside of the Pottery Festival, sales have been slow with people giving various reasons for not visiting the shop, one of which is the state of the roads.

Another challenge he and his wife Godidier, have been dealing with is trying to repair the showroom that was damaged by Tropical Storm Tomas in October 2010.

“We got hit by Tomas, we lost about 95 per cent of inventory. The whole building went down, the front which we haven’t put back up yet. The wall pots we had got damaged and all of our items that were in the showroom and the working area got damaged. …” he said.

They have a wide variety of items in their showroom inclusive of trinket boxes, casseroles dishes, wind chimes and jewellery. The potter said people can order full dinner sets from him.

“We try to work on more variety than Mr. Springer. My items are right here, we might get one or two gift shops that might come and purchase one of two but we do the majority of our sales here on location, ” he said.

The potters said they are grateful for the assistance provided by the Rural Development Commission.

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