|Milton John of Millington's sits outside his workshed weaving, surrounded by a few of his craft pieces.|
Remember those mats and rugs your grandmother used to own? The woven rattan or rafia ones that greeted you at the doorway or graced the living room floor? I've noticed that you don't see many of them anymore in Trinidad and Tobago. It seems the amazing artform of weaving grass into exquisite baskets, rugs, seating and furniture has been replaced by imported blends of unnatural, chemical filled rayon and polyester blends of madness. Or on the other hand, when you do find a grass woven product, it was imported. Hmmmph!Why do we seem to prefer imported items to our local riches? There are about 6 people in our country that still practice this art, one such person is Milton John of Millington's.
|Saltwhistle Bay Beach, Mayreau, St. Vincent and the Grenadines|
(Photo courtesy About.com)
|A Partial View of the St. Ann's Valley from Millington's|
|My commissioned rug|
|Milton stands in the midst of his zettia grass.|
|Dried grass for weaving stands next to the beginnings of a round, |
plaited rug and a completed hat.
|Some completed chair seats flanked by freshly cut bamboo stalks for drying.|
I share Milton's belief that the craft is vastly underappreciated. At this point he is struggling to pay his bills and must seek alternative employment. He believes that his craft is an old one that the Trinbagonian populace would rather forget and replace with what they believe to be the newest products on the market. Is this true? For me, I look to the past for a certain beauty and uniqueness that can be only achieved by the perfect imperfections of the handiwork of man.