Monthly Archives: February 2012

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I had been corresponding with video director/editor Vassili Shields since November of last year, introduced to his work with his “Shed” music video for Ingrid Gerdes.  As the still photograph above indicates, the video was not only beautiful, it showed just how gorgeous Turks and Caicos is location wise for production purposes.   When he inquired whether I would be interested in styling for a video shoot for The Palazzo at the pretty and pristine Villa Renaissance, I jumped at the opportunity.  The video’s romantic storyline was designed to highlight the unit’s incredible wedding capabilities; 7 bedrooms to accomodate family or the wedding party and a gorgeous beachfront location.  Just in time for Valentine’s Day:
Big thanks to everyone who participated, well done and what fun!

North Caicos, Middle Caicos, and the 12th annual Valentine’s Day Cup

Last Saturday we loaded up the bicycles and took the 6:30am TCI Ferry to Sandy Point, North Caicos for a day of adventure and the 12th Annual Valentine’s Day Cup.  Our first stop was at cottage pond, pictured above, a beautiful sight with the morning dew clinging in the air.  Incredible to imagine that this small “pond” is actually a sinkhole that cave divers on a daring mission tethered by 600 feet of line, actually discovered bottoms out at around 255 feet.  To read more about the exploration of cottage pond, please see The Times of the Islands.
A few wrong turns later we knew we must be close to Wades Green Plantation, and thanks to the assistance of several villagers and one particular goat herder, we were able to find the gatekeeper Alvira to gain entrance so early in the morning.  I had read a great deal about the plantation and was thrilled to finally have the opportunity to visit one the best preserved landmarks in the country.

Wade’s Green, originally called Bellefield by founder Wade Stubbs, was even more lovely than I had imagined.  The moisture in the air and all the lush vegetation surrounding the area, supported the decision to establish he production of cotton, sisal, sugar cane and guinea grass here in 1789 was a wise one.

Lilypads now inhabit two large metal cauldrons which were once used for daily life; washing, cooking, and most likely turning sugar cane into molasses.
Much of the remains of the old buildings are being reclaimed by nature, reminding us of the temples of Angkor Wat.  Etchings of slave ships were carved in one of the buildings, stoking pangs in us of the horror and hardship that must have taken place there.

There is a great variety of plant and tree life for viewing, some with labels (even the poisonwood had an appropriate skull and crossbones warning), others are highlighted within the reading guide.

The original well with shadowy morning light.

Some of the labels are now perceived to be incorrect; the overseer’s house is now thought to have been a chapel, the buildings to the left of it most likely stables, the gardens a roofed building for storage, and the slave’s quarters more likely would have been rudimentary and outside the town.  Shame as they are such charming labels.

As we had almost 40 miles to reach Bambarra Beach, we had to be on our way.  To make this trip by bicycle is not for everyone.  Though the road is fairly flat, constant peddling for two to three hours is just not everyone’s cup of tea.  Since our last visit, where we received a ride from Sandy Point to Bambarra and cycled back, versus this trip where we bicycled to and caught a ride back, I would say the latter was more difficult due to the wind favor.  Now there are several options for hiring taxi’s and renting cars so there are plenty of options for getting around once you are there.

We were very excited to reach this sight by 1pm, and perhaps even happier to frequent the local watering hole nearby!

As I had only ever seen Bambarra like this in the past, it was great to see it thick with people and food and festivity. 

It was a glorious day, even though the wind was slight.  There was a great show of boats, captains, and supporters.

It was a great visual representation of TCI craft and culture.

After depleting our six reusable metal water bottles we were forced to buy plastic, but at least it was made and bottled right here in TCI.

Eco crusader Lynn, demonstrating stand up paddle board technique to several island boys, was just one of many Big Blue representatives who joined in on the fun.

This vibrant event,

and music,

and crowd

 is one I do not wish to miss in the future.  For many more amazing photos, please visit the Tropical Imaging blog.

Field Guide Fridays – Wild Pomegranate

Last week on a morning rubbish run, we caught a flash of scarlet in the bush just off the side of the road.  Upon closer investigation we saw what looked to be a very small shrub heavy with ripe, bulbous fruits.  We took one that had fallen to the ground home to open it up, not convinced that we had ourselves an actual pomegranate.   Sure enough, this scraggly looking little shrub was indeed producing beautiful, perfectly formed, super-fruits. But the pomegranate trend, thanks to its natural abundance of antioxidents, is actually not so recently fashionable.  Some believe that Eve herself, at the beginning of time, may just have been lured by the Chinese Apple

Pomegranate entymology in itself is a fascinating subject and since I don’t dare leave any of it out, read below from wikipedia
“The name pomegranate derives from medieval Latin pōmum “apple” and grānātum “seeded”.[10] This has influenced the common name for pomegranate in many languages (e.g. Granatapfel or Grenadine in german, grenade in french). Mālum grānātus, using the classical Latin word for apple, gives rise to the Italian name melograno, or less commonly melagrana.

Perhaps stemming from the old French word for the fruit, pomme-grenade, the pomegranate was known in early English as “apple of Grenada”—a term which today survives only in heraldic blazons. This is a folk etymology, confusing Latin granatus with the name of the Spanish city of Granada, which derives from Arabic.
The genus name Punica refers to the Phoenicians, who were active in broadening its cultivation, partly for religious reasons.
Garnet comes from Old French grenat by metathesis, from Medieval Latin granatum, here used in a a different meaning: “of a dark red color”. This meaning perhaps originated from pomum granatum because of the color of pomegranate pulp, or from granum in the sense of “red dye, cochineal”.[11]

The French term grenade for pomegranate has given its name to the military grenade.[12] Soldiers commented on the similar shape of early grenades and the name entered common usage.”

After reading the above could you have guessed that Grenadine, the ruby red syrup frequently found in cocktails, originally was made with pomegranate juice, and not high fructose corn syrup as most processed foods are today?

Punica Granatum, or the wild pomegranate, may or may not have been picked by the biblical Eve but it has been cutivated since ancient times; revered for it’s great beauty and used often as a symbol of abundance and fertility.  With seeds ranging from 200-1400 per pomegranate, no wonder!  A common marital ritual in Asia was to shatter the fruits upon the honeymoon suite floor, sending seads in every direction and thus ensuring many offspring for the newlyweds. 
To read much more on the fascinating history of the pomegranate, from it’s culinary and medicinal uses, to it’s symbolism in Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Persia and significance to Christian, Judaism, Hindu, Chinese, Islam, Armenian, and Azerbaijan cultures and religions, please visit wikipedia.

Alloy Shoot 2012 – Grand Turk & Providenciales

Late in January Turks & Caicos Productions had the great pleasure of welcoming Alloy back to Turks and Caicos.  Known for youthful, flirty fashions we knew we were in store for some incredibly vibrant locations.
Here we are in no short supply of vivid colors; from turquoise oceans and royal skies . . .

to lemon and watermelon painted architecture.  We took Alloy to a wide variety of spaces and places,

from Americana classic,
to far eastern exotic, all within the 7 mile by 22 mile stretch of sand known as Providenciales.  Upon first introduction, I knew this crew was going to be a gas, (mind you not because of what we ate) due to the superb senses of humor of our cast and crew.  They were the perfect client to have the special opportunity to island hop and work in the capital island of Grand Turk.

Sure Grand Turk has the same crystal waters and stunning beaches, but there is a very different way here.  Grand Turk takes life easy, a no-stress no-hurry approach that one would expect in the Caribbean.  The people are extra friendly and full of character (like Jack, our wonderful taxi man conducting business by bicycle). Grand Turk is a place of history, and turn-of-the-century charm as evidenced by the pictorial gathered below.

It is a place where the tried and true methods of the past are still put into practice today.
It takes change in small strides.

It lets sleeping structures lie
until the appropriate person breathes them back to life.
It is a community that takes the time to chat

and leaves many open doors.

It honors it’s great landmarks.

and is home for so many adorable potcakes!,
and charmingly distressed old buildings,

and you just never know what you may find in any given alley.

Did I mention all the adorable potcakes?

We are thrilled we were able to take this great client to such a special spot.  Big thanks to Jack and the ladies of osprey beach hotel for unparalleled hospitality and a fabulous meal!

Special thanks to the man behind the The William Brown Project blog for sharing his enjoyment of Turks and Caicos with his readers and fans, of which I am now included.

Wednesday Woodworks – Fleur de Lys Villas Fourth Bath

On deadline for the first of February, the fourth bathroom at Fleur de Lys Villa was complete!   After converting the pool house/art studio to an additional bedroom last September, we quickly realised how beneficial a fourth bathroom would be to our guests.  After gathering a few indoor/outdoor bath inspirations we quickly set to work the first week of January.  The new bath features a large terrazzo shower, louvered doors and back wall for breeze and ventilation, bright white open rafter roof and tongue and grooved side walls, and a few charming details such as below to create the cottage like ambiance.
Here are a few photos below while the bath was in progress.
Modifying the existing native stone path to curve to the new doorway.
Painted frame ready for the louver doors and panels, floor ready to be tiled.
Pebble stones collected from the beach, laid out in design for the base of the terrazzo shower.
Big thanks to the TC Millwork team for all their hard work to complete this lovely bath in a very short four weeks!  Bravo everyone!