Most of the Abaco artist community responded to the invitation extended by Schooner Bay to participate in its Arts and Crafts Festival, as over forty vendors gathered on the porch of the Black Fly Lodge and the lawn surrounding the harbour during the afternoon of April 25 to exhibit their creations.
There could not have been a more congenial atmosphere for artists to display their wares: the peaceful setting, the balmy weather and the hospitality of the organizers were perfect. As for people looking for a unique creation or a typical painting, there could not have been a wider choice of art work in one place.
Local artisans have used the many available raw materials found on the island to fuel their inspiration. The many, pretty shells collected from the local beaches had been used to decorate frames and mirrors. Colourful queen conch pieces had become part of exquisite jewelry. Cleaned and polished coconuts were transformed into drinking cups. Drift wood pieces were joined together to create a turtle, a bird or a fish; platted straw was made into attractive purses while palm fronds were turned into one of a kind sun hats.
Local hardwood such as mahogany and tamarind were turned into bowls of many sizes and shapes, some decorated with inlaid stone grinds.
Polished sea glass had been made into attractive necklaces, pendants or earrings, especially beautified with seed beads.
Baskets of pine needles and raffia and air plants growing out of sea urchins added up to the list of craft items as well as Androsia Fabric linen wares.
Painters were also inspired by the beauty of their surroundings. A well-known beach, a lighthouse, boat scenes, seascapes, a quaint shack, local scenes, flowers and birds, could all be found on canvasses. Pottery and quilt work were decorated with sea creatures such as mermaids, turtles, seahorses and fish. Sea fauna was also the source of inspiration for beautifully hand-crafted sterling silver jewelry: an array of star fish, shells and seahorses were made into pendants, earrings and more.
Visitors could be revived with a relaxing massage or by partaking of the sky juice or sangria offered for sale on the porch of the Back Fly Lodge.
One of the most famous Bahamian artists, painter and sculptor Antonius Roberts, also a resident of Schooner Bay, had come over from Nassau for the occasion. He was impressed by the number of artists who showed up and the quality of their work.
The organizers thought the event was a great success and have confirmed that the Arts and Crafts Festival will definitely become an annual event.