Wed | Dec 19, 2018

Celebrating nature with Antillean Charm

Published:Sunday | May 13, 2018 | 12:00 AMLatara Boodie
Antillean Charm peices are handpainted for a life-like effect
Symerna Blake - Artisan Owner of Antillean Charm.
There is a piece for every taste - from ornate to understated.
The ceramic flowers achieve a multi-dimensional effect, as if the actual hanging in your wall.
The Lignum Vitae, Jamaica's national flower, is the flagship peice in the FlowersofJamaica Collection.
Jamaica's Doctor Bird is the first in Antillean Charm's newest collection Hummingbirds of the Americas.
Antillean Charm art is delivered in attractive gift boxes.
The shadow boxes are made exclusively from Blue Mahoe.
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Antillean Charm, created by self-taught artist, Symerna Black, offers an array of ceramic wall art collections, which brings the vibrant outdoors into any living or office space. The name, 'Antillean Charm', hearkens to the Caribbean roots of the business, which focuses on native Caribbean flora and fauna.

"Art was always in the background of my life, but never something I considered making a living from," explained Black. The inception of Antillean Charm occurred after realising that there was a healthy demand for gifts and decorative items within corporate Jamaica.

"When I travel, I collect art and craft that capture my experience in different destinations. I wanted to have a few pieces that captured my experience of living in the Caribbean. One of my fascinations about the tropics is our natural heritage," said Black. On the quest to improve her craft and cultivate her vision, Black began to teach herself woodwork, painting, pottery, and sculpting. This took five years of intense training, which led to the birth of her first collection, 'Flowers of Jamaica' with the Lignum Vitae as the flagship piece.

An Antillean Charm piece, consists of a shadow box, which houses a beautifully sculpted tropical flower. The shadow boxes are made from Blue Mahoe wood, which depicts variations in grain and the colour. This is the perfect complement to the diversity of the flora and fauna. The ceramic components are sculpted from earthenware clay and fired in a kiln. The fired pieces are painted, sealed, and secured on the canvas with concealed wire.

Black noted that the inspiration for Antillean Charm, is the beauty associated with our planet.

"It is beautiful in its grandeur and in its fine details. Antillean Charm, started as a creative exercise, but along the way, has become a form of worship. I have to make a study of flora and fauna to create the designs and it is an awe-inspiring experience. God's handiwork is amazing and I'm just trying to pay the best tribute that I can," said Black.

The current ceramic wall art collections, make great gifts for business contacts, weddings, birthdays and anniversaries. There is a piece for every taste, ranging from very ornate to understated. The latest collections are, 'Wild Orchids of the World' and the 'Hummingbirds of the Americas' collection, which is slated for release later this year.

Retail for Antillean Charm is based online, however, viewing of the products can be made upon request. To view their catalogue, visit @antilleancharm on Facebook and Instagram. For more information, email atkeepsakes@antilleancharm.com.

"I have never fully embraced a calling until I started this business. Antillean Charm, is an invitation to marvel at nature, and take stock of how blessed we are," said Black.

latara.boodie@gleanerjm.com