Thursday, January 8, 2009

Playing in the Clay




You can spot piles of clay all over Barbados but especially in Chalky Mount, a little village in St. Andrew famous for its potters and rich clay reserves. I didn't make it to Chalky Mount but I did witness the three generations of artistry at work in Fairfield House. Perched on a rocky incline in St. Michael's, Fairfield House Gallery and the adjoining Red Clay Pottery factory, three generations of the Bell family have molded Bajan clay into terra cotta pots and unique pieces like the mermaid mirror above.




I watched Maggie Bell, the main Fairfield designer, whip up bottles and bowls on the homemade machines that fill Red Clay factory. Her father Peter, had originally designed it as a clay processing plant. Now Fairfield is the largest pottery maker in Barbados and all of the wares are created from local materials and then individually painted. The Fairfield House has been in the Bell family for 70 years and I could feel all the history seeping through the walls. When I was searching for authentic Bajan souvenirs, I discovered that besides rum, hand-crafted Bajan clay items are a great reflection of Barbados culture.

5 comments:

Wendy said...

I love the mirror in the top photo. Did you manage to bring anything back?

Fly Girl said...

I love that mirror too! I actually brought back some clay jewelry that's hand-painted a brillant magenta.

Ebony Intuition said...

The mirror is beautiful.

Lara Dunston said...

Wow! Great pics - looks fascinating!

Fly Girl said...

Thanks Ebony and Lara!