Craftsman adjusts to new global trend
August 12, 2005
Craftsman adjusts to new global trend

This is the era when the world is widely referred to as a global village; every effort is being made to adjust to what’s happening worldwide.

One Vincentian craftsman Alston ‘Ali’ Hepburn is ensuring that he is in line to take advantage of the new scenario. {{more}}

He has immersed himself in jewel production, using some resources almost readily available in his district, but which most likely would have gone to waste.

Hepburn uses up Black Fish bones and teeth to produce a repertoire of fine art.

“Bagga V”

These include bracelets, necklaces, bangles and a variety of other exquisitely designed items.

He uses shells red stones, and volcanic rock stones to enhance his production.

Hepburn is from the Central Leeward town of Barrouallie, known for its creative citizens. ‘Bagga V’ as the area is affectionately called, is well known for its fishing tradition, especially for the capture of the Black Fish.

The area is also surrounded with prime lands, previously used in widespread agricultural productivity.

Much of that land has been transformed into other economic usage in recent times, including the construction of hotels to the south of the sprawling town.

It is perhaps an act of fate that Hepburn has developed his craft into the jewelry enterprise.

He did wood carving previously, with objects like parrots being his specialty. But during his interaction with visitors, they disclosed to him that some of his carvings were too heavy for them to take back.

Hepburn is a scrupulous artist in addition to his conscious and dedicated outlook.

From that foreground, Hepburn plunged into his new form of artistry.

“I get the inspiration to do smaller craft,” Hepburn said.

New clientele

And he has no regrets since then. He has found a new clientele with lots of local people responding positively to his creativity.

Hepburn sets out his production on the streets of Kingstown, next to Music World on Egmont Street in the heart of the nation’s capital city Kingstown.

Hepburn could be seen completing some of his works while awaiting the next customer, so for him, there is no time to waste.

Even the tool he was using at the time when Searchlight interviewed him showed signs of indigenous culture.

Conscious African

His needle used in the work is locally made from wood and with twine, he completes one of his bangles displaying the green, gold and red colours, symbolic of a conscious African outlook.

Hepburn is a former fisherman, used to knitting seines. So with his versatility, it comes naturally for him to produce the kind of craft to which patrons will be attracted.

In addition, he has perfected an art of engraving symbols on the Black Fish bones and teeth, which has enhanced his artistry.

And he is proud to announce: “Doing local is the best.”

Married and father of five sons, Hepburn uses his home at ‘Pepper Village’ in Barrouallie as his factory.

He is not overlooking the possibility of upgrading his production and pointed out: “It will be good if I could get a shop where I could set up my craft,” Hepburn said.

With the Caribbean Single Market and Economy rapidly approaching, local industry is becoming more and more significant, and Hepburn is ensuring that he is one of the region’s useful sons.

Vincentians have grasped his perception, and they are responding with a degree of solidarity, which has given hope and support to the ongoing success of such an enterprise.

So once you are in Kingstown, check out Hepburn and make your selection of unique Vincentian craft. For there is everything to benefit the nation from this interaction.