Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Trini Tuesday (a day late)-Susie's Question

barefoot_mistress said...
Ok Lime, I wanna know about Trini Textiles, clothes, textile arts, weaving, baskets, dying, blankets or quiltmaking, or whatever they are up to... I know there's a lot of Indian influence....but, what about the rest?

For some posts I do a little research, for this one I'm just going to report on my own observations. I am not aware of any specific craft that is unique to Trinidad but there are all sorts of locally made items that are available, moreso since tourism has increased.

Most villages and small towns have some sort of little shop run by Rastafarians or someone else who specializes in leatherworking. Baskets, knit caps, incense, and items made from calabash gourds are also often available. In the capital, (say it with me Yahoo trivvers...)Port of Spain, there is a terrific back alley network of shops called the Rasta Mall. Take a turn off one of the main roads lined by department stores and you'll find yourself in the dizzying maze of tiny crowded shops stocked with local handmade items. It's dark, sweaty, and the smell of ganja wafts here and there but it's the place for unique handmade items. Want a pair of sandals but they don't have any that fit? 'No problem, I'll trace yuf foot. Yuh could pass fuh de slippers in two days.' Two days later you'll have custom handmade leather sandals for less than $20. Now when I was there last in 2000 my friends told me that local shoes were hopelessly out of style since Payless Shoes had come to Trinidad. I said I didn't care I thought the local sandals had much more personality than some mass produced stuff. Don't you agree?


Here's a calabash gourd purse. This one is about 8 inches long. They can range from bigger than your head to tiny enough for just a lipstick. My girls have ones that were left round rather than flat backed like mine but finding them would require an archeological expedition of their bedrooms.

My large basket

Trinis love color and many women can sew since it is often much cheaper than buying ready-to-wear. Fabric shops abound. If you can't sew there is no shortage of tailors and seamstresses that will custom fit you. Everytime I've been there I've loaded up on batiks which can be had for about half the price you'd pay here in the US.

This garment is called a shalwar kameez. The loose, slighty fitted dress comes to about the knees with matching loose pants worn underneath. Shalwars are Indian style women's wear. I bought this one because the tiedye design shows the African influence and I loved how in one garment I could see the intermingling of Indian and African styles to produce a comfortable thing of beauty...much like the culture of the island itself.

Now, if you enjoy my spin as an American who lived in Trinidad I'd love to have you stroll over to Ttfootball's place. She's a Trini living in the US and has so far posted just a few of her observations of us. I'd love to see her post some more so go show her some love and encourage some more posts from her. Thanks!

Happy Trini Tuesday on Wednesday!


Sheri said...

I definitly think the handmade sandals are better! AND they look more comfy too. The basket is beautiful. I love handcrafted items and I thank you for sharing yours with us.

I love Trini Tuesday

steve said...

I am a cowboy from Texas who wears boots but I REALLY like those shoes!!

barefoot_mistress said...

Yay Lime Yay! I love it! I love it that you kinda did your post in rebellious Susie style dang research, I'm just gonna tell ya what I know.....LOL Excellent!

I am so up for heading over to (lets say it together Trivvers) Port of Spain to check out the local textile reality. It seems incredibly colorful, and I love the african/indian mosh!!

Gotta get me some of those sandals too!

Thanks Lime, way coo!

lime said...

sheri, thanks. i'm so glad you enjoy it

steve, when i go next you can send me a tracing of your foot and i'll bring a pair back for you.

susie, even when i do research it's pretty minor, just confirming a few details usually. glad you liked the post. you and me hittin' the rasta mall and then jimmy aboud's for fabric!

snavy said...

That is all so very cool!!! I love the purse - it's beautiful. Also, I would love to have some large baskets but the girls would want to play in them and that would be the end of the pretty baskets.

Breazy said...

I love the sandals, the handbag , the basket and your hardwood floors ! hehe. Sorry I haven't been over in a while but things have been crazy here and I haven't had time to scratch my head let alone blog! I hope you have a good day !:)

lime said...

snavy, i completely understand!

breazy, no problem, glad you liked....i'd expect you to notice the floors ;)

Moosekahl said...

I love sandals and those definitely haev character.

BTExpress said...

I used to wear sandals like that all the time when I was a hippie. I practically lived in those things. Well, at least I think I did. My hippie years are a tad foggy so I can't be sure.

I hope your feeling better. Hey, I want a pic of your new hair cut. Mine is finally growing back in and still looks stupid, but at least it's growing finally.

ttfootball said...

It was pretty good even without any research Lime. Did u know the Rasta Mall burnt down? But as u might expect its already on its way back :)
Thanks for encouraging the visits to my blog. Now that the semester is done I'll definitely put more effort into it.
...o and I'm a "she"...I'll go put up a better pic ;)

lime said...

moose, you have impecable taste

bt, i haven't cut it yet since i am dependant on the hubby to get me there. i think itis a conspiracy

tt, i hadn't heard about the rasta mall. what a shame...and oh gosh GYAL. i'm so embarassed... sorry!

miss_lissa said...

I love sandals like that much better than any crap you find at payless. What a shame to hear that place burned but it rises from the ashes :)

I love that dress too btw, so free and flowing. I think I'd love Trinidad!

gloria jean said...

The sandals are kick ass! LUV 'EM!!