Top spot for handmade gifts and souvenirs
Are you about to embark on your dream vacation to Anguilla? You should know where to shop for local handmade gifts and souvenirs.
The Devonish Art Gallery is more than an art gallery, as the official name states, Devonish Art Gallery and Gift Shop. The CEO, Courtney Devonish, is not only one of the Caribbean’s top wood sculptors, but also one of the leading craftsmen in both ceramic and wood craft. His history goes back fifty years with the opening of the Design and Art Center in Barbados in 1969.
He later opened the COD Pottery and Ceramics in Pelican village until his moving to Anguilla in 1988. His first Anguillan venture was the Au Revoir Gift Shop in the departure lounge at the airport, along with the Devonish Cotton Gin Art Gallery and Gift shop, in the oldest commercial building on the island that once housed the Cotton Gin, which remained a historic fixture in the gallery for the time I occupied the building. The building also housed the main trading post on the island where all the commercial activity was conducted, including a supermarket. The cotton gin now resides at the Heritage Museum in East End.
Let me share a little story about the Cottn Gin Art Gallery. One of the conditions of the lease was to insure the building but none of the insurance companies would insure the building, until one day I asked the CEO of one company a question, “Which is the oldest standing building in Anguilla?”
He boldly announced, “The old factory building you currently occupy” to which I added, “It has gone through all of your worst hurricanes and it is still standing.”
“You are right, I never thought of that.”
The building is still standing today, even after a little damage from the strongest hurricane in the history of Anguilla and that was mainly due to alterations contrary to the initial building code.
The Devonish Art Gallery and Gift shop is now located in the west end, due east and in full view of the gas station. A testimony to the quality and international appeal of Mr. Devonish’s work, he still creates touch forms that started way back when he was at Teacher’s college in the UK, 1964-67. The touch forms were designed to help his fellow students to quit smoking. The only complaint was, what do I do with my hands? The touch forms was my answer.
Today, Mr. Devonish still creates organic touch forms, which he refers to as hand sculptures. But the most popular touch form are the hearts, hand-carved smooth like silk, mainly in mahogany. One Bajan art critic once wrote, “Mr Devonish makes wood feel soft.” To be modest, my finish is one of the best natural wood finishes ever.
Among the wood craft are birds, hanging and freestanding fish, trays, bowls and vases. The gallery also has an array of hand built and wheel thrown ceramic products. The ceramic production is limited at present, mainly because I am working through a 40ft container of cured wood that was collected during the past 30 years, whereas all my ceramic materials has to be imported.
One Stop Shopping
The gallery is the showroom for original sculptures by Mr. Devonish, plus other notable Caribbean and International artists.
Mr. Devonish is a renowned International Artist, having been featured in many newspapers and magazines, and had held exhibitions in USA, Canada, Europe, and the Caribbean. He has also won many prizes in government sponsored national exhibitions in Barbados, on one occasion winning first, second, and third prizes, plus the most outstanding exhibit.
During the eighties, Mr. Devonish was recruited by the Canadian Training Awards Project as a ceramic consultant to conduct training projects in the Eastern Caribbean countries, which led to him falling in love with and settling in Anguilla.
Other gifts found in the gallery are beautiful bead Jewelry by wife Carrolle Devonish.
Gallery designed T-shirts
Recorded music by legendary local musician Bankie Banks
Children’s Books by Joanne Mason
Handmade Bath and Beauty Products by Cari Bella
Anguillan book featuring beautiful scenes of the island
Hand woven Place mats
Take a bottle of the best hot sauce I have ever tasted, first given to me by the lady who initiated my recruitment as a ceramic consultant to Anguilla. May her soul RIP.
Prints and giclees of Caribbean and Anguillan scenes by international and regional artists, most popular are prints by Sheri Erickson and Antoine Chapon and Don Dahlke.
The ever popular Christmas balls and more.
To learn more about Mr Devonish and the Devonish Art Gallery & Gift shop just Google Courtney Devonish.
Be sure to visit us whenever you are on our beautiful little island and enjoy my favorite beach: Rendevous Bay. For some privacy, take a 5-minute boat ride and a picnic lunch and some drinks to Lime Stone Bay.
Enjoy the magnetic beauty of Anguilla.
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