Tourists love to purchase native things.
That’s why Cayman Brac resident Starrie Scott is carving out a name providing unique works of art – things only made in the Cayman Islands.
“What makes my art unique is that it is made right here on the Brac,” she said. “Anything that looks good and interesting to me, I use it and the tourists love it.”
Ms Scott’s best-selling pieces are turtles and fish made from silver thatch. They are small, light and easy to carry or send by mail.
The gift shop, Nim’s Things located in Spot Bay in Cayman Brac presents shoppers with seashell dolls, sea fan posters, driftwood ornaments, conch shells designs, turtles made from thatch leaves, birds made from coconut trash, rocks and sand creations all indigenous to the island. You name it, Ms Scott makes it into a unique work of art.
Growing up in Cayman Brac, Ms Scott was always interested in crafts, she said. Her mother died when she was 3, but her grandmother made sure she learned the trade.
“Grandmother Linda Christian always plaited by lamplight,” Ms Scott said. “One night she said, ‘Come Starrie, let me teach you how to plait’, so by lamplight I got my first lesson in thatch plaiting.”
But craft-making days would not end there for Ms Scott. She spent every opportunity following her grandmother around watching how she made things. When she went to cut, scrape, pound and wash sisal, which made her scratch, she helped. And when she made it into slippers, baskets and hats she watched. At age 11 she was creating her own designs.
“In years gone by locals used their creativeness as a means to an end for survival,” Ms Scott said. “There were no venues to bring out art, no one bought it, and so we used it. It is different today; more local artists are being given the opportunity. We have hotels, the Heritage House, museum, Pirates Week, cruise ships, stop-over tourists and much more. This says how much the market has grown.”
While working at Divi Tiara in Cayman Brac, Ms Scott had the perfect opportunity to show and sell her works. This was when she realised she needed a shop.
“Tourist people love to have native made things, I knew that from the sales I was getting at Divi Tiara,” she said. “That was when I made the proposition to my sister by asking, ‘If I get a shop would you sell the items for me and if I make $10 a day then it is yours to keep,’ sometimes I did not even make that $10. But in two weeks her pay was there and I could give her the money.”
Ms Scott was happy. At that time, the shop had started to get established to the point where she could pay wages. She sold the items cheap because at the time she did not know the worth. She enjoyed knowing someone wanted to purchase her work.
With a full-time job, Ms Scott made as many things as she could with every opportunity she received. When she could not find time, she purchased items from other ladies in the community to keep the shop stocked.
The shop has grown significantly during the years and she has a lot more crafts available than when she started in 1986.
“I am glad that it has improved,” she said. “My dream is waiting for the day that I can stop working and really concentrate on my arts and crafts. A hobby in arts and crafts is a great opportunity to learn something, be creative and make money at the same time.
When she started working at Divi Tiara she made $1 an hour, but with her hobby she was able to do much more.
“Thank God I did it,” she said. “Having a nice personally helps to sell a lot of stuff. I love to laugh, chat and share information with visitors about the island.”
Ms Scott said young people may get into arts and crafts if they put their minds to it.
“Just think that you want to do it and pray God’s blessings over it,” she said.