Glossary of Traditional Caribbean Craft Materials
Caribbean artisans have used similar natural resources in fashioning traditional crafts and preparing local foods. Yet these materials are often known by different names throughout the region.
Scroll through this glossary or use the search box at right to find out more about regional craft materials and recipe ingredients. You can filter the glossary by the first letter of the term using the alphabet below. To reset the alphabet filter, click “All” to the right.
One of a family of succulent plants (Agavaceae) with long, thick, fibrous, stiff and spine-tipped leaves radiating from the root; they are often used as barrier hedges…. This plant is a source of fibre familiarly known as sisal.
A type of sandal of plaited rope, or cut from a piece of motor-car tyre or wood; its toeless upper is a broad instep strap made of canvas, leather, or other suitable material….
A large evergreen forest tree with abundant, leathery leaves and small edible fruit, producing a very heavy, hard and durable timber and a thick, white gum for which its bark is tapped or ‘bled’;
A wild herb growing to about 4ft in height, erect with a four-sided stalk but no branches, having leaves almost entirely on the lower stalk and a few ball-like spiky, reddish-brown inflorescences spaced along the rest of its length; the weed is used both for medicinal and ornamental purposes;
This plant is frequently used in dried flower arrangements
A tree about 30ft. tall that flourishes in Barbados with wood that is dark and close-grained and polishes well.
A light-brown hard wood used in construction and boat-building
In Guyana, candle-wood is a heavy and very tough ‘yellowish-pinkish’ wood useful for saltwater piling, sleepers, bridges etc.
In Jamaica, candle-wood is a light, easily split wood that burns readily
A fisherman’s circular net about 12ft. in diameter, carrying lead weights around its circumference and controlled by a long cord at the centre by which it is thrown over a shoal of fish in shallow water.
A very quick-growing tree assuming a tall narrow shape resembling a conifer; 18-36m high, ending in a conical spire which waves to and fro in the wind.
The fruit/pine needles of this tree are used in doll-making and jewellery-making.
A yard broom home-made from the dried spines of the leaf of the coconut branch, tied in a tight bundle.
Originally, an open, round-bottomed, iron basin 15 ins in diameter for cooking or for potting pork. Now a locally made clay pot of similar size as a traditional heritage vessel.
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