Dec. 1, 2003 Throngs of shoppers searched for that perfect, unique gift for friends and family in the Virgin islands and abroad on the biggest shopping weekend of the year, as, with Christmas songs echoing through the air, Whim Plantation and Museum presented its 15th annual Starving Artists Day.
""With over 95 vendors, this was the largest gathering of local crafts and food ever to grace the grounds of Estate Whim," said Susan Wall, Whim events director. .
"We started this event to showcase arts and crafts and give local artisans a place to sell their wares," said Wall, who has been in her job for the past 12 years. "Many people who do not sell crafts throughout the year make a special presentation at Christmastime." Shoppers who wish to purchase unique local items throughout the year can obtain a directory of vendors from Wall.
Paintings depicting local scenes, along with local foods, drinks and fresh produce, hand-made soap, hand-made jewelry, stained-glass lamps, mosaic tiled tables, ceramics, paper lanterns, temporary tattoos and mocko jumbie tree ornaments were some of the items that tempted shoppers to dig deep into their pockets.
One notable display was by artisan Lily Alverez, who showcased Christmas wreaths made of sea shells and native vines. "I collect the seashells in Frederiksted or Cane Bay," she said. "The live vines were collected from trees growing in the rain forest near Creque Dam."
Alverez also makes snowflake tree ornaments from sliced seashells. "They are very popular and are more durable then they look," she said. "You can just wrap them and ship them to relatives or friends in the states." Alverez can be contacted through the Whim Museum office.
Another unique Christmas gift item shown at Starving Artists Day was hand-painted pottery by artisan Erin Squero. Her plates and decorative items can be found in the shops at the Carambola Beach Resort. Although she and her husband have been on St. Croix for only a year, her designs capture the flavor of the islands in their colors and local scenes. "I create personalized items for weddings, anniversaries, new-baby announcements and birthdays," Squero said. "You can get a personalized item for any event."
Wall, who seemed pleased at the turnout of artisans and shoppers, noted that Whim Museum also highlights local arts and crafts on the last Sundays of November, March and August.
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