New generation artists

These new artist aren’t so new,they’ve been around for centuries. The definition of a new generation artist is simple,they’re craftsmen who can use several different aspects of their skill to build a single piece. Here’s an example; an artist in field of glass can work with both solid glass as well as blowing aspect. Another example would be a woodworker who skillfully works the lathe as well as carve with simple tools. The craftsman masters different aspects within his profession.

I’m not a new generation artist it’s just my observation about other artists I’ve seen and giving my personal definition for these craftsmen.


Coral Rocks not Paperweights

My inspiration for coral rocks came when I was snorkeling along the west coast of Barbados. I saw amazing brain coral which gave me my eureka moment. I wanted to build my interpretation of  coral rather than copy what I saw.

The techniques used for this is called compression or what some would call implosion. Lines and dots are drawn onto a flat disc of clear it is then held at a downward angle  while the fire from the torch heats the edge of the disc, it is periodically compressed. Depending on how the lines and dots are drawn determines the final look of the piece, in some cases the lines will be drawn in the opposite direction in order to achieve a certain finished look. The process takes much longer that the traditional methods used to form a paperweight. Gravity and timing are essential when using this technique. It’s complex to explain with words but if you ever visit Barbados I can give a brief fifteen minute demo.

People look at them as paperweights but I beg to differ, since they’re not made like traditional I renamed them Coral Rocks.

An Investment Opportunity

Why in the world would I want couple thousand dollars for one piece of art? It’s an investment not an impulse buy. They’re two lines carried in Crystal Forms the Fun & Flirt and the Luxury collection. The Fun & Flirt collection is what I started designing for. As a young enthusiast I made pieces related to island life that tourist can take back home as a reminder of Barbados. This collection  also makes jewellery pieces that locals grew to admire and purchase.

Designing for the Fun & Flirt is great I love it but I felt the need to express myself as an artist so I created the Luxury collection. Most artist would go larger, bigger, build as big as they can but I’m not most artist. The material for Luxury is the same that created the Fun & Flirt but the major difference lies in the technique used to create the piece. The entire Luxury Collection is made up of refined techniques I personally created. My  technique is to use lampworking skills to transform borosilicate crystal beyond the lead crystal effect.

The Luxury pieces are more about the technique than the physical look.  All the pieces can’t be reproduced as easily as how they can be in Fun & Flirt in fact only some can be reproduced. Pieces like image 1 and image 2 can’t be reproduced at all. There’s also a colour difference in Luxury, most colours are transparent or translucent this is to show the maximum potential of the crystal and it was factored in while creating the techniques.Each piece is made with a signature loop design as well. The true value of those pieces lies not only in the technique it also expresses the emotion of  me the artist which tells a story. To express myself through my art means my work  speaks my unique view on life.

Distinguishing marks

Christmas ornaments

Christmas Ornaments





What do you see? They just look like Christmas ornaments but take a closer look, they’re distinguishing marks that tell them apart from any other. First off the loop to hang it from the tree, it’s my signature without writing it’s on every single piece I make. The other mark on the Christmas ornament is the blue or golden brown. The blue represents the shore line where it meets sand, it’s a thick light blue line where I write on Barbados. The other one is the golden brown sand which carries a shimmer I also write Barbados on it as well .There’s another caramel brown before this golden one which usually has transparent vertical lines. The best part of all………………………….. The sand people love to shake up 🙂

Untapped potential

Barbados has done an exceptional great job of attracting foreign investment to our shores. Investors buy property  build houses or castles whichever they call it. Many times these individuals look for different and exclusive furnishings for their home or themselves , problem is they’re disconnected form sources or craftsmen that can provide a great job.

One of our international stores situated here on island brought in an artist from France to do a mural job, he came did a good job and left but months later his work needed some attention, it wasn’t holding up so the same store called a local artist (whose profession was in the same field for over fifteen years) to re-work the mural.

Now I’m not saying all craftsmen on the island are really good but you can tell when you take a good look at the work they do, that’s how you make a confident choice.  What I’m really trying to say is that our  finest artist can stand head and shoulders next to any other international artist.



Not so great customer service

Customer Service in Barbados is great if you’re a tourist, locals don’t get that same wonderful experience. When it comes to efficiency toward each other our service is far from polished most of the time. I benefited from a visit to California where I saw the true definition of great customer service. I didn’t deliberately go to inspect a customer service model I was actually there being taught by several master artist but while I was visiting I did some exploring. I visited Bloomingdale’s, Sak’s Fifth Ave,Macy’s and Tiffany’s all of which had astounding customer service. It amazed me how such a great experience it turned out to be. Upon my return to Barbados I had an entirely new meaning to customer service. I’m a sole proprietor which means I may have to juggle several things at once but I try to issue some of that wonderful service  no matter who the client maybe.

Jamal j Ifill