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Posted in Meet the Artisans
Metal art was born in the town of Croix des Bouquets, outside of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Companies from the capitol used to dump empty metal drums in Croix des Bouquets, along with other industrial waste. A local blacksmith, Georges Liautaud, took the metal drums and began combining them with iron bars to made elaborate metal crosses for the cemetery. His ingenuity turned waste into something useful, and a new craft tradition was born.
Caribbean Craft was founded in 1990 by a multinational group of young entrepreneurs, Caribbean Craft promotes employment in Haiti by training unskilled craftspeople, and by assisting the independent artisans through the introduction of new designs and new market outlets for painted Haitian metal art.
Used metal drums are still used to create these impressive metal sculptures, although the high demand for these crafts means that the waste drums are now purchased. The metal is re-purposed by cleaning the drum by burning any residues that remain inside. The drum is then opened and flattened and designs are traced onto the flattened metal.
Using a hammer and chisel, the design is cut out of the metal to get the basic form of the piece. Then the creative detail is added. Every aspect of the design is hammered in by hand. The result is extraordinary. Once the design is finished, each piece is sanded to bring out the shine and beauty of the metal. Some pieces are left in their natural silver color, varnished for protection against oxidation. Other pieces will be hand painted in vivid colors.
Several artisans will often work on one piece, the most skilled responsible for the fine details. A large wall piece can take days to make, from start to finish.
Caribbean Craft's specialty is the brightly colored, artistically hand-painted Haitian metal art wall hangings. These hand-painted Haitian metal art pieces are truly works of art. Wall art designs include painted metal geckos, painted metal dragonflies and painted metal frogs.