Caribbean Art Hit Makers-CGCS (Copyright ©2006)

IslandWhere , November 2006

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26 trade buyers from 19 regional countries, the USA and Canada attended, interacted and engaged in business transactions with 190 participating exhibitors from the greater Caribbean, over 2 days of Trade show and 2 days of expo.

The four-day event has become a major forum for unveiling the Caribbean to the world market as a top-class producer of quality craft items.

Held under the theme ‘Excellence through Innovation, Creativity and Strategic Linkages’, this sector-specific trade and gift show organised by the Caribbean Export Development Agency, was staged at the St Kitts Marriott Resort. It showcased a potpourri of creativity and cultural expressions from the region, featuring exhibitors from thirty English, Spanish, French and Dutch speaking Caribbean islands.

A highlight of the show was the First Caribbean International Bank Best of Show awards ceremony at which a number of companies were commended for their packaging, booth displays and their new products and product lines.

First time exhibitor, Andy Manley of Caribbean Creative from Dominica captured the winning prize for ‘Best Handcrafted Product’ for a unique range of bamboo lighting including five feet tall bamboo standing lamps and bamboo sconces. This award is bestowed on the product considered by the judges to be highly creative, original in its design using indigenous materials, of good quality and export ready.

Caribbean Creative also received the runner-up award for ‘Best New Product Line’ for wine racks made of local bamboo and Blue-Mahaut wood. To be eligible for this premier award, functionality and original design is paramount in the gift and craft category.

The ‘Outstanding Creative Packaging’ was won by Outremer Autrement of Guadeloupe for their creative and attractive packaging of quality cane sugar in five gram pyramid-shaped packets, decorated with colourful madras designs. Island Dolls of Jamaica stole the hearts of the judges in the ‘Best Booth’ category for its display of ethnic dolls depicting the West Indies cricket team set for next year’s World Cup Cricket.

Barbados was well represented with fashion jewellery designers Luna Designs winning the ‘Best New Product Award’ and runner-up prizes for ‘Best Booth Display’ and ‘Best Handcrafted Product’.

The Caribbean Gift and Craft Show has been at the forefront of the regional effort to stimulate and promote the development of new products, new markets and increasing export sales in the handicraft and gift sectors over the years.

Based on this year’s theme, the event stretched the platform even further, displaying an extensive array of Caribbean creativity in the craft and fashion industries, including jewellery, painting, decorative accessories and speciality foods.

A special segment of this year’s craft exhibition which captured the attention of all was Caribbean Fashion Rhythms, ‘Creative Explosions’- a platform for promoting original creations by the top designers in the Caribbean Fashion industry. Designers included winner of the Best New Product Award in the fashion category Rykii De Jude Inc of Barbados, runner-up winner Brown Sugar of St Kitts and 19 year old Toni Thorne of Bouik Designs from Barbados. Arlie In White from the Dominican Republic made quite an impression with her versatile creations of linen summer wear, as did Kuumba Designs and Shazi la Boutique from St Lucia.

The 2007 edition of the Caribbean Gift and Craft Show will take place from September 26-30th at the World Trade Center in Curaçao.

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