www.escape-bvi.com An Adventurers Guide To The British Virgin Islands

Nan's Craft Shop

Calabash Gallery - British Virgin Islands
"Calabash" Gallery
Nan's Craft Shop

Located across from the beach in Apple Bay at the end of Zion Hill Road on the North shore of Tortola, is one of the few locally owned handcrafts shops in the BVI, Nans Gallery. Nan and Ben have been doing their thing here for nearly 20 years. As a team, the Calabash fruit is collected from Tortola, and many islands down island.

Dominica is a source from where a certain shape Calabash can be found, so when Nan gets an order to make "lighted wall sconces," she tends to find the best calabash there, and calls a friend to send her some on the next island trader coming to Tortola. Ben is the fellow that does the cleaning of the calabash, opening them up, stripping the outer cover, carefully splitting the hard inner shell and then prepares them for Nan to do her artistic paintings on the shells. The maple wood bowls on display are designed and handpainted by Nan.

Art Gallery - BVI
Art Gallery
Nan's Craft Shop

When Ben has caught up with his work at the shop, he can be seen fishing the south shore of Tortola in the wee hours of the morning. An excellent fishermen as well as an artist. A lot of hard work goes into each piece and they don't mind if you come up with a theme or idea of what you may want her to paint for you. She paints many local scenes and portraits.

Both Nan and Ben are a wealth of local knowledge and are more than happy to help you with anything that you may need to know. Come visit their shop and take in another of the British Virgin Islands, "natures little secrets."

Nan and Ben's craft shop - BVI
Nan's Craft Shop
Tortola, BVI

The Calabash fruit comes from a tree that grows up to 30 feet in height. A woody fruit botanically in a capsule, is elliptic, oval or spherical and grows up to about ten inches across. The Taino Indians of the Caribbean fashioned the hard shell into bowls and spoons. When they went hunting they made masks by cutting eyeholes in the shells. The smaller Calabash were made into musical instruments as a Maracas. When the Europeans invaded the West Indies wiping out most of the Taino Indians, the slaves that were brought here to work the plantations still fashioned utensils from the Calabash fruit.

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