After the Easter celebrations my studio slowly became a hub. Word was out that the lady with the beach plastic needed help. On Tuesday five women came to sew and throughout the day more joined in. Zach had been helping since the first day – my master assistant who washed the plastic, laid it out to dry, cut it up and drilled it.
We had 180 tee shirts to do. 540 bits of plastic to attach. We also had to make 100 napkin rings for a fundraiser lunch on Saturday the 21st. Another 1200 pieces of beach plastic went into those. I did not think it could be done. I worried. Audrey said don’t worry. Two days later she was right and they all laughed and poked fun at my concern as if my worries were the funniest thing that had happened all week, but I had no idea there were so many talented artisans in town.
By Thursday we were doing bracelets and necklaces. Together we sat around big round tables. I prepped each piece, dismembering the monofilament nylon drift ropes that tangle all over the beaches and reefs, strangling birds and turtles and poisoning whales, dolphins and big fish. The colors of the monofilament are striking and I look for matching beads from turquoise to seed pearls and crystals. The crafters strung them and I attached the magnetic closures. We did dozens like this.
Before & After
Friday was earring day and everyone was excited to learn. I prepped crosses by cutting old washed-up lobster traps, bait pouches and one red and one orange crate. Zach drilled holes in their centers. I laid out the findings and gems.
Before & After
While we put the earrings together we compared birth stories. Rose had six kids, Audrey one, Sterlene two. I had three in two births. We talked about which of the Tarpum Bay super markets had OJ.
Sterlene: I have to get myself some orange juice
Me: I need orange juice, I went to Bert’s but they were out
Sterlene: They were out?
Audrey: Try 6 to 10.
Sterlene: And they stay open till 10
Me: They still have orange juice?
Audrey: Yeah they have orange juice, boat came in yesterday
On the island the rhythm of shopping is determined by the boat and the assortment an important part of daily dialog. As I sat and listened to their languid drawlin’ Bahamian dialect I wished I could stay long enough until I had their way of speaking down.
On Sunday I went to my favorite beach one last time and spent the morning drawing and collecting beach plastic.
Monday was my last day as artist in residence. I packed up all my belongings, my 180 tees, 100 napkin rings and another 100 pieces of jewelry. I was ready for the Eleuthera Earthday Weekend. But I was melancholy. I had loved my time in the Castle and the Prep building. I loved my new friends. I relished in my daily routine of working at the castle in the morning and sharing my trash to treasure process with my local team in the afternoon. I’d miss my early evening swims in Winding Bay where dozens of giant starfish dot the sandy ocean bottom and coming home salty and tired and having a vodka lemonade while cooking myself dinner and then working more into the night. I’d been oddly lonely, but I’d enjoyed the solitude of spending time with myself after many years of being immersed in the bustle of my wild and intense family.
Early Tuesday I moved to Palmetto Point, closer to the Beach House where I will show my new collection and One Beach film during the Welcome Party of Jammin’ for Nature, three days of Earthday celebrations sponsored by The Nature Conservancy and benefitting One Eleuthera. Tomorrow friends arrive from NYC to help and party and I shall be alone no more….