St. John Tradewinds News

Local Arts Community Adds Friends, Celebrates Season at Bizarre Bazaar

Pictured above: Eleven-year-old Murrill Tierney hands over purchase of her artwork to customer Ella Crew at Saturday’s Bizarre Bazaar. Sixty vendors of arts and crafts welcomed visitors and locals to the 4th annual event, held at Pickle’s.
Photos courtesy of Judi Shimel.

CORAL BAY — Artists young and old brought music, paintings, food and folkways to the 2016 Bizarre Bazaar in Coral Bay on Saturday, December 10, 2016. Sixty vendors from St. Thomas and St. John filled the tents around Pickle’s Deli on Rt. 107, showcasing handmade delights.

The fourth annual event was sponsored by the Coral Bay Community Council.

Hundreds of residents and visitors browsed, shopped and stopped to chat at farmer’s market tables, native crafts, paintings and book stands. Very young artists, as young as 10, displayed ornaments made from popsicle sticks, decorated centerpieces and sea glass arrangements.

For many years Coral Bay has been the home of creative arts on St. John, producing its share of authors, painters, wood carvers and basket weavers. In recent years other artists have come and found inspiration along the island’s east end and the south shore.

For close to 30 years Yolanda Morton has offered market lady dolls and other crafts she has gathered and made. Dressed in a head tie and dress with eyelet trim, she smiled as the crowd filed in.

“I’m fine!” she said to a passerby. “Unless, that is, something crosses her mind that ‘friggs’ her up about this place. Then you know how I get,” she said.

Artists … what can you say?

Likewise Daniel Pinto let a friend do the talking from behind a table laden with his most recent paintings. Turtles swam through blue waters. Conch shells gleamed a pearly pink in a still life.

“This is two weeks of work that I did for this display. Usually I sell them as I finish them on the web. My friends help me spread the word through Facebook,” Pinto said. Otherwise, he said he lives quietly and mostly out of sight.

More visible artists, like Karen Samuel, chatted up the customers over a table of homemade preserves and freshly fried pates. Samuel is one of the Saturday regulars who pitch canapés near the juncture of 107 and Centerline Road on Saturdays. Her faithful customers follow where she goes.

Julius E. Sprauve School shop teacher Kurt Marsh Jr, stopped foot traffic with his handsome profile and a table full of carved wooden bowls, a skill he learned from world class wood sculptor and relative, Avelino Samuel.

His mother, Claudine Scattliffe, displayed her creation, a whimsical Christmas tree fashioned from a metal filigree and hand made cloth badges.

Daniel Meade from Studio Oddworm explained the origins of his calabash art to shoppers. Long ago, he said, calabash were a household item. Carved into bowls, their shells were often decorated. “That’s where I come in,”  he said. The image of a turtle, carved freehand style, caught a customer’s eye.

Further up the row 11-year-old Murrill Tierney helped wrap up some of her home made ornaments, which she handed over to a shopper just her size. She smiled when asked to describe the popsicle triangular trees, trimmed in green tinsel.

She smiled again when asked about the wide eyed boy a few tables down showing off his sea glass fish sculptures, mounted on hand painted canvas squares. That’s Kaden, she said. He’s my friend.

Organizer Monica Arana surveyed the happy commotion around her. “It’s a very Coral Bay thing, as I see it,” she said. People get together to share good food, good music and to share in ‘Buy Local.’ That’s the way I think the world is moving. If you do have to consume, that you do it on a local level and you help people who are producing things.”