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Jems launches textile workshop at Enhams

Jems launches textile workshop at Enhams

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When JEMS Progressive Community Organization launched its textile workshop at its Enhams headquarters last Saturday, November 8, it accomplished far more than teaching textile handcrafts to a group of interested individuals. It opened doors of possibilities for new business enterprises.{{more}} The workshop series is part of JEMS strategy to reduce the impact of poverty in the villages on the southeast of mainland St Vincent and the Grenadines through the development of sustainable livelihood initiatives.

More than 30 individuals from communities reaching from Calliaqua to Fancy turned out for the first of five textile workshop sessions led by fabric designer and seamstress Pamela Williams.

According to JEMS president Andrew Simmons, the purpose of the workshop series is to provide the needed skills in textile-based handcrafts to equip participants to establish individual or cooperative businesses.

“While textile crafts can be fascinating on their own,” says Simmons, “the JEMS programme is designed to go beyond teaching crafts to equipping participants with the skills needed to create merchandisable arts and establish business enterprises.”

Saturday’s session focused on tie-dyeing, which uses a resist-dyeing process on cotton textiles and clothing. Popular among the “hippy” generation in the United States in the 1960s, tie dyeing, with its use of bright colours and the opportunity for creativity, is especially well-suited to the Caribbean, notes Simmons.

“We have the opportunity in St. Vincent and the Grenadines to infuse our own heritage and culture into these popular craft forms,” says Simmons, expressing optimism about the impact of the workshop series and the potential for providing sustainable livelihoods to participants. The handcrafts are something both residents and tourists will want to purchase.”

Future sessions will focus on batik, appliqué and fabric painting, among other textile arts.

The JEMS-sponsored workshop is funded by a grant from the UNESCO Youth Path Project and UNDP Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme.

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