BT artisan at work

Calabash bags, coconut carvings, jewellery, decorative masks, embroidery and crochet, thatch making and painting are just some of the many arts and craft that artist Twyla Vargas is busy creating.

Working out of her home studio in Bodden Town, Mrs. Vargas has been a prolific artisan for the past 16 years, making many one-offs and unique arts and crafts items.

Decanters, wine cups, lamps and chairs out of native woods, scented sachet bags, children’s decorative items from calabash and coconut, straw dolls depicting the people of Cayman, gourd masks and colourful dream catchers made from feathers and beads all adorn the artisans home.

Often made out of native materials found locally on the island, the artist’s home is stocked full of her colourful and creative artwork, which she frequently sells at arts and craft fairs throughout the year, or to those who make the journey to her studio, keen to find unique one-offs and something a little bit different to the norm.

In addition to her crafts, Mrs. Vargas paints scenic and often comical children’s paintings, using acrylic on canvas.

A librarian by trade, the artist lost a large amount of her work in Hurricane Ivan, but now says she is slowly beginning to replace much of her work.

‘I have been working steadily over the last year, replacing a lot of what I lost. I am currently busy working on arts and craft pieces for when I exhibit at [email protected], later this month.’

Held at Government House on Saturday, 28 January, [email protected] is one of the largest visual arts events. Held annually, it is now in its seventh year and Mrs. Vargas has exhibited at every one.

‘In addition to preparing for [email protected], I am also working towards the McCoy Prize.’

The self-taught artist won the McCoy People’s Choice award in 2003 for a chair made out of Cayman log wood, and hopes to be equally successful this year.

Mrs. Vargas, who explains that she was born with a God-given artistic flair, is keen to pass many of her skills on to future generations.

Volunteering her time at Bodden Town Primary School twice a week, she teaches traditional Caymanian arts and crafts.

Pre-Ivan, Mrs. Vargas also kept busy teaching after-school art programmes at Bodden Town Public Library, something she is keen to continue once the library is up and running again.

The artist is available for commissioned pieces and can be contacted on 547-9884, or visit the artist’s Cumber Avenue Studio, 36 Daffodil Street, Bodden Town.