Emphasizing local creativity
Stabroek News
March 28, 2004

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Local creativity is the theme of the Calabash Gift Shoppe, a new store located at the Hadfield Foundation in Hadfield and Cross Streets, Werk-en-Rust.

Behind the recently-opened business venture, which sells only local items, are three entrepreneurs - Elizabeth Deane-Hughes, Nigel Hughes and Arthur Thijm.

Speaking to Sunday Stabroek recently, Managing Director Deane-Hughes said that they were moved when they went overseas to exhibitions and fairs and saw local designers, artists and artisans displaying their creations there, and yet these same items were unavailable in even a single outlet in Guyana. They therefore decided to remedy this situation.

"Everything sold in the shop is local, natural and organic. We have approximately fourteen suppliers. We try to have unique items by... locals and aspire to make it a one-stop shop," she said.

In consonance with the local theme, the managers started with the shop's interior, which is made from bamboo in addition to other natural, local materials. A variety of colourful shoulder bags

The gift items on sale include mosaic mirrors, wooden pens, wooden walking sticks, pottery, recycled glass-beaded jewellery, sterling silver jewellery, hand-painted and tie-dye clothing, and notelets, among other things.

Some of the suppliers include Lisa Thompson (whose items are sold only at the Gift Shoppe); David Persram; the Correia family; Trevor Alfred; The Sewaks; LizArt's Accessories; Dominic Gaskin, Deane-Hughes; Sonia Noel; Alison Gaskin; Judy Joseph; Albert Barnwell and Paula Betuzzi.

The aim of the gift shop is to harness and develop the high level of creativity and talent available in Guyana, and to showcase this variety in one space. In furtherance of this end, the Calabash will be holding various activities to promote local craft, either fortnightly or monthly.

On April 3, for example, customers will be given a chance to express themselves with an Easter hat. For a fee the shop will provide the hat and all the accessories needed to decorate it.

There is only limited space for this exercise, so persons are being asked to make reservations not later than March 27, 2004, by calling the shop on 226-1370. Children up to 12-years-old will be charged $1,000, and adults and teenagers, $1,500. Refreshments will be on sale in aid of the St Ann's Orphanage.