Approximately twenty talented folks of Bahama Palm Shores held their first ‘High Banks Art and Craft Show’ on March 15 in the High Banks Fire House. It was well attended by family and friends from the area who were astonished at the diversity of talents exhibited by their neighbours, which included many second home owners as well as locals.
The ladies of the Bahama Palm Shores art group who meet once a week had, during the year, amassed quite a wealth of work and decided it was time to ‘come out of the woodwork’ and put some on display along with crafts they knew were being made by others in the neighbourhood. This being the first time they were displaying to the public and being excited at the prospect of letting people see what they had achieved they decided on the theme “Shout it Out!”
As Lavonda Smith, one of the artists and a major organizer of the event said in her short welcome address, “Who would have known that there is such a wealth of talent here in Bahama Palm Shores? It reflects Bahama Palm Shores and the fun we have here,” she stated. She expressed her gratitude to all of the people who attended to support their efforts and expressed the wish that; “This will be the first of many”.
Some of the exhibitors were a little apprehensive as it was the very first time they had shown any of their work but they need have had no fear because everything was greatly admired by all and compliments were flying all evening. People were amazed by what they saw.
Water colour paintings were displayed by Mary Chamie, Maria Tearing, Liz Key, Lavonda Smith and Ann Kapling who has been a mentor to many new artists, some of whom had never before picked up a paintbrush and are now quite accomplished. Ray Adams, who paints in oil and acrylic, displayed three of his works.
Two persons displayed their jewelry. Celia Rogers makes sea glass and bead pieces while Melanie Rees incorporates a sea heart into every one of her pieces which makes them unique. Another very unique piece displayed by Ms. Rees was a remarkable chandelier crafted from driftwood and bromeliads.
Her son, David, who is the grandson of the late Colin Rees, well known master photographer, is obviously walking in his grandfather’s footsteps as he is an up and coming young photographer. While his grandfather was known for his amazing black and white photography, David is specializing in colour and displayed some amazing photography of the Abaco parrots which frequent the Bahama Palm Shores area.
Peter and Kay Gates also displayed photos of the local parrots, some of which they had made into notecards and calendars. . Tara Lavallee is another very talented young photographer who displayed a variety of stunning wildlife photographs.
Merle Askeland and Lavonda Smith were very ingenious in the making of one of a kind bird baths. Merle is from Alaska and she had made these at her home there using rhubarb leaves. Since we cannot grow rhubarb in the warm climate of the Bahamas the pair went on a search for the largest cabbage leaves they could find. It is hard to imagine bird baths constructed from cabbage leaves but, with the use of concrete mixed and handled by their handy husbands they were able to form exquisite designs which they then painted and glazed.
Mani Goulding exhibited some beautiful shell work and a scenic book which she had created from stunning photographs taken at Bahama Palm Shores. Leo and Renee Bethel ‘s ‘Star Crafts’ included pens crafted from acrylic and wood including olive wood from Bethlehem and an unusual birdhouse. Another birdhouse was the handiwork of Susan Lil who created it out of a lovely piece of a tree which she had carefully decorated with little pieces of nature. Another of her crafts was a circular frame made entirely out of small pieces of driftwood and adorned with sea glass.
Last but not least was Steve Knowles who is well known for his stunning wood turned pieces which include billy clubs, bowls, plaques, lamps, mortar and pestles and spinning tops. Mr. Knowles has been a master of this craft for about twenty five years and he brings out all the beauty of the Bahamian woods such as horseflesh, madeira, tamarind, dogwood, fowl berry, yellow wood and pine. All his tops are made out of white ironwood and Peter Gates impressed the audience by spinning a top and catching it on his hand, an amazing skill he learnt as a child and was surprised that he can still do after years without practice.
The first-time show was impressive and next year the organizers say it will be bigger and better. I hope I have not omitted the names of any of the artisans. The audience, who were all very impressed with the display of talent, left also looking forward to seeing what next year’s show will bring.
“This was amazing; their imagination knows no bounds,” I heard as I left the building.