9 October 2012


During a recent downpour a 'boli' came floating down the drain. T, knowing a gift when he sees one, brought it home for me. Having been at a bit of a loose end all  morning the unexpected arrival of a 'found thing' lifted my spirits no end. Not being able to find my hack saw, T's electric jigsaw came to mind. Having drawn the circle I wanted to cut and made the initial incision  into which to slide the blade , cutting the hole was a piece of cake. The boli must have been adrift for a while as the exposed innards were a black mush. I meant to take a photograph of this stage but they didn't smell too good and I was a bit hasty in disposing of them, jettisoning them from out of the studio window to a shady spot where hopefully the seeds will sprout.(More likely than it sounds, most everything pelted from a window seems to grow, - lime pips,avocadoseeds, papaya,blackeyepeas,passion fruit- all have sprung happily to life from where they have landed, as opposed to all carefully cultured and nurtured attempts which, more often than not, fail miserably.) I digress. The inside of the shell needed a good scrape with a spoon and then it sat in a sink of full of water with a bit of bleach overnight. I'd been reading about the Amazon recently and with this in mind and the tribal connections to river and Anaconda, the design took shape. A friend had given me some lino cutting tools a while ago,(lino.... does it still exist?) and they worked well, providing texture and preventing me from being too careful and precious. This took most of the day, such fun and I was pleased with how it came out, especially the negative space which I hadn't thought about at all. The idea was to make a salt holder, one that requires putting your hand into the mouth of the beast. On reflection, I wasn't too sure how T would react to this. There are no poisonous varieties in Grenada but historically, Grenadians do not like serpents. Over time, we have come to an understanding, regarding all those that slither on their bellies.T is now able to resist the urge to exterminate them on sight and I am able to not be so dismissive about his cultural feelings towards them.
 Now all that is required is to sand it  and let it sit a while so it can tell me whether to paint it some, add shells, seeds, beads or just let the natural patina develop as it dries and matures. T likes it.


  1. a calabash! what a gift! i have been thinking about these for some time now...excellent to make a finger piano with! i love how everything just grows when you toss it out the window...as opposed to when we are calculating about it...sending you positive vibes, blackgirl on mars!

  2. Thanks 'bgom' :) a finger piano...great idea....how is that done? gosh, now I want another boli and they're hard to come by,... two, infact, one for you too!Will place order with T, positive vibes much appreciated, sending some back to you also with love x

  3. I like what you've done with this!

    I don't see a snake, so it doesn't scare me :-)

    Most Caribbean folks, including Guyanese, are terrified of snakes, and want to bash 'em into the ground.

    Has T told you the old uses for calabash?

    My mother said they used it to store water. Or as bowls. Isn't that great?

    I'm glad to see you blogging again. I was thinking of quitting...then I see this and am inspired to keep going.

    1. Thank you GG, yes, when I first came here and had no wares, someone gave me 5 calabash to eat out of..all cleaned and decorated!

      I had no computer for a long time but it is good to be back and please don't stop blogging GG.....we would all miss your words of wisdom, humour and inspiration. xxx


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