by Marlon Madden
“I used to be born with this talent”, declared 47-year-old Tito Clarke, as he spoke fondly of his ability to carve nearly any object from wood.
Clarke, a mason by career, is the owner of Blessed Wood Carving studio.
Taking a break from creating certainly one of his latest masterpieces recently, the tradesman spoke to Today’s BUSINESS about his journey to date and his love for the craft.
“Since I start back up this work I don’t do [anything] else. Once it’s my free time it’s carving,” he said.
Clarke, who currently operates from his small workshop next to his St Stephens Hill, Black Rock, St Michael home, said his love for woodwork and his have to earn a living were two of the primary reasons for him starting back his carving in June last yr, after a break for nearly twenty years.
Acknowledging that he might have been more advanced in wood carving, he identified that not having the fitting tools and pressed to support his family, he was forced to place his carving on the back-burner only a couple of weeks after he initially got began just over 20 years ago.
“I didn’t have the right tools to cope with the work. I needed to ease off. The tools I used to be working with were make-shift tools. All now, in all of the hardware stores in Barbados, you’ll be able to’t find tools within the stores for carving work and that is gloomy,” he said, as he also pointed to the low level of interest in carving among the many population.
Nonetheless, proclaiming to be a hustler, the daddy of 1 daughter and two sons said notwithstanding his job in masonry, he decided last yr that he would resume his carving so he could earn a bit more to raised meet the growing needs of his family and the rising costs of living.
He said his inspiration to revisit his carving last yr was fueled from watching former reality TV series star and Youtuber Ryan Cook.
“Once I see him doing it, I tell myself ‘that is the work I actually love, if I could only be doing this work as my [full-time] job I might have so many pieces in my possession’,” he said.
Nonetheless, a reality for Clarke is that wood carving is seemingly underappreciated in Barbados, people are usually not willing to pay the value he places on his work and he said he has not been in a position to expose his work to tourists just yet.
Declaring that he has “a lot work done already” since he began last yr, Clarke said he was yet to “get some money out of it”, adding that it was the love for the art that keeps him going.
“Since I start back up this carving work, I actually have done so many pieces and haven’t got a correct sale for [any] of the work that I’m doing. It makes me feel I should stop because the typical person today when they appear at this work the very first thing that come to their mind and mouth is ‘I ain’t got nuh money to purchase that’, because they will see naturally that they’re works which might be going to last for a mighty very long time and it cost money. The labor that I put into it, I actually have to be paid,” he explained.
Clarke, a former student of the St Stephen’s Primary School and the Deacons Training Centre, said he was never one which was academically inclined, but he enjoyed carpentry from a really young age and knew he desired to work together with his hands.
In truth, he describes himself as a global tradesman, possessing the abilities of masonry, steel-bending and carpentry.
As for the wood carving, he said: “I adore it a lot, then. I don’t think I get the actual respect I should. I assume it’s since the individuals who would love these pieces and would buy them aren’t really seeing them”.
He said a few of his members of the family overseas helped him to source the tools he needed to make it easier for him to do his carving, which he described as “real technical labor”.
Declaring that since restarting he has been addicted [to his work], Clarke said: “I just wish to create beautiful pieces that others could be pleased with and feel good to know they’ve because it will last for a mighty very long time”.
While a lot of the pieces he makes are of terrestrial animals and things related to the Caribbean, Clarke told Today’s BUSINESS he’s in a position to carve nearly any object. His carvings are done primarily from mahogany that he said is given to him.
To come to a decision what piece he’ll carve a given day, Clarke said it was as if the wood would “talk” to him, adding that “you will have to have some patience, vision and know-how”. One in every of his art pieces can take as little as at some point or as much as every week to finish.
He advised anyone enthusiastic about getting involved in wood carving to have patience and a whole lot of love for it so as to persevere.
Clarke said his best wish now was for a location to showcase his growing collection, which is well over two dozen pieces, consisting of carvings of human and various animals.