Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Finding a Duck Girl

One day back in Trinidad and Tobago and cynicism takes over. All over the news, reports of corrupt practices, Section 34, murder; you might wonder why Batman does not come and save us all. The heat has not helped, each day has dawned clear, typical picture book perfect Caribbean, blue skies, thin streams of clouds. Missing from the picture is the relentless humidity that causes one's clothes to stick and make up to run long before lunchtime.

It becomes easier to be cynical and jaded, to not find hope or see any possibility that anything will change in the any time soon. Because people in authority are saying, "oh forget about that and time to move on". Never mind the incident that they refer to strikes at the heart of our structures. Instructive to note, for once the people are speaking.

What does this have to do with ducks? Not a thing unless one is thinking of the ubiquitous curried item usually served up with roti and rum to a population who will wine till they die.  No no, this is much better, a tiny store, perched on the edge of a busy street where one could more commonly buy barbecued wings or illegal DVD's. The Duck Girl is chock full of curios run by a free spirit called Jade Drakes. Perhaps now the name of the store becomes clear. Drakes are the male duck.

Stuffed into every conceivable corner are handmade things, or found things which have been repurposed with love and a great deal of artistry. Presiding over the space is the creator herself, sitting at her bench sewing away at another apron or fashioning clever earrings. Handmade books, necklaces, sun reflectors, all manner of wonderful things that invite you to pick them up, caress them, ask about them and best of all, take them home.  The store is more of a happening than a retail centre. Jade will chat, show you her things, talk about cannot help yourself. Only the most mean spirited will not wish to stay and enjoy the beauty in small things.

It's easy to be angry, or to forget the things that make a place special. Having lived away from this place for 14 years the artist has returned. Hoping that her dream will meet with success. That people will love her things enough to buy them and give them good homes. That her expressions will be received and appreciated. And so they should. Because they are made with such hope and goodwill. Something we all could use.