“Hand made with love” opened its doors last night at Crowns Court on Eastern Avenue with one primary goal: encouraging Caymanians to look at the craft industry as a legal way to make a living. Leather goods, quilts, jams, paintings, soaps and more were all on display, but store owner Supriya Bodden from Guyana says she wanted to do something more. She says “I decided to go to prison in Cayman and to teach them how to do leather craft and to set up a tannery there because I believe we can use the skins which are presently being disposed off in the dump; we could use iguana skin, tan them and have the prisoners make small leather goods prison.”
officer Auduke Josephs Ceasar says the prison’s service was happy to get involved, she said “It was a wonderful opportunity for us to partner with Supriya and bring another skill to our inmates, another skill that will give people who have the entrepreneurial spirit to develop and get their own little shop going especially for the craft market.”
Officer Ceasar says the prisoners will make a few extra dollars from the goods, but that’s only a start, She continued “It’s all about building self-esteem, giving people hope and giving them that kind of dynamic hope where they know they have created something and they can create something and build their self-esteem, change their cognition get them to fall in love with something so they don’t have to go a find illegal activities to earn their living. ”
For now the store is only displaying art on canvas by inmates but officer Ceasar says once the tannery is set up and the inmates have perfected their trade, their work will be on display with the best hand crafted leather work from around the region. The tannery at the prison should be set up in the next year and inmates have already begun learning the skills involved in tanning and making leather.