In spite of my all-or-nothing nature whereby I would typically hit Cost Plus World Market, TJ Max Home Goods and Pier 1 Imports in one shopping spree, thus transforming my entire living space from spartan to chic in one obsessive/compulsive day, I have been making subtle, less ambitious changes to our interior that are temporarily quenching my thirst for transformation. A cruising boat doesn't have a lot of space to keep random trinkets, so I have slowly been picking up cool pieces that I find and placing them strategically around the boat where they won't break, fall, or get in the hands of a baby who appears to be part monkey.
The other day Scott and I happened upon a road side glass blowing studio. Yes. This place was - like so many other thriving businesses here - a modest shack on the side of the road with some compelling signage. There were a couple folks inside working diligently, but the most welcoming was a friendly, smiling rasta man blessed with the gift of gab and a passion for all things glass blowing.
"Welcome to Green VI!" I heard him boom in a distinctly Caribbean accent as we walked up. In his harms he held a giant metal rod with gooey, ember about the size of an apricot on the end. "We are a local initiative that is aimed towards a greener, cleaner and healthier British Virgin Islands" he then dipped the scary stick in some multi colored powder, twirled it around for a bit and then stuck the rod (and now multi-colored apricot) in a glowing furnace. "All of our products are made out of recycled glass from here on the island..." as if on cue, I heard the sound of a bottle breaking out back.
He continued to tell me about the process of heating the glass, working it and cooling it while forming it into things like starfish, turtles, vases, ornaments and small pendants. Always a sucker for a cool cause and the opportunity to support a local business, I whispered to Scott that I was going to buy something, "okay?" Knowing there was no arguing despite his ardent belief that glass should be limited on a boat, he shrugged with an approving nod and made a bee line to Isla who was happily chewing on a piece of dusky beach glass she had picked up from the ground.
My rasta friend - Lion was his name - enthusiastically answered all my questions as I scoped out the beautiful glass creations. After some back and forth, I finally settled on a pretty little vase that looked as if it had been made out of a beer bottle. "Oh, this is a rare one!" Lion told me. "We don't get blue beer bottles all the time, but that is how this one began..." Ever the scholar, he then told me, step by step, how my vase was made. Lion has a passion and it is infectious.
After a teeny bit of haggling (I learned the art of the haggle in the markets of Tanzania and Thailand, but I just can't haggle aggressively with a non-profit). He wrapped up my vase in a neat little recycled cloth bag and handed it over. Not only did I get to support a very cool local business with a great vision, but I got one more little knick-knack to add to our growing collection. Shabby chic, here I come!
If you find yourself in the British Virgin Islands, Green VI is located on Tortola in the beautiful Cane Garden Bay just past Bobby's Grocery Mart. You can also find them on Facebook.