By Teri M. Bethel
Multi-talented is perhaps an understated description of the people taking the texture painting class in Central Eleuthera. A common thread throughout most of the students regardless of their profession was that they all were working on a second or even third stream of income. Such tenacity kept students like the bright eyed and bushy-tailed Susan Culmer throughout the entire class.
An accountant by profession, Susan is a consummate crafter by passion. In fact it appears that she is interested in all things creative. The moment you step through the doors of her home studio you realize that this lady eats, sleeps and drinks crafts. If there are any natural resources on the island that can be used in any way, Susan has to be the go-to lady. Whether seeds, shells, leaves or dried tops of coconuts, there is a collection of well organised supplies at her fingertips.
But her interests do not simply rest there. In addition to the crafts, Susan has her own brand of beautifully packaged and tasty native tea bags and crushed hot pepper. As the president of one of Eleuthera's craft associations, Susan saw the need to introduce her members to a new skill that would propel them to great heights with their products. That is when she contacted BAIC to have a texture painting class in Eleuthera.
A little sceptical at first, having never painted before Susan was very cautious. After the first 15 minutes of painting, all caution was thrown to the wind as creative designs overflowed onto her surfaces. By the first evening Susan had pretty much mastered her flowers. By graduation, Susan had painted decorative bottles, earrings, clothing and so much more for her displays.
Upon completion of the class Susan noted that the experience was electrifying for her. "I have already painted on some of my gift items, so it has already added value to what I am now producing. I am really thankful for this experience."
Asked where she would like to see her crafts go in the future, she responded, "I'd like to see my name in lights." Susan has such a passion for crafts that she wants her customers to experience the joy she felt when she was creating the product. "I don't know if that's possible for them to feel it, but I would like for them to look at the product and say "lots of love went into making this."
Susan would like to ensure that the youth are taught the importance of protecting what we have in the Bahamas and to keep our culture alive. She believes once Bahamians are involved in producing local crafts they will have a greater appreciation for what we have.
About the Author: Teri M. Bethel is a surface designer who specializes in teaching texture painting on fabrics and custom purses. Teri has been involved in manufacturing painted garments, handbags and souvenirs for over two decades. Email: Teri@PaintWithTexture.com or call 676-4474.