Local Artisans

Straw Weaving is Alive in Turks & Caicos Islands

MIDDLE CAICOS CO-OP & WHOLESALE OUTLET

Turks and Caicos Handmade handicrafts at the Middle Caicos Co-op

Thank you for supporting the local artisans of Turks & Caicos Islands. Be sure to look for our Middle Caicos Co-op Tag!

The Middle Caicos Co-op proudly sells handmade baskets and bags, all made from island grasses and palm tops growing wild here in the Turks & Caicos Islands. These exquisite baskets are likely the last of a kind of art that has been passed down through generations…..as few young people are today learning the craft.

In an effort to encourage the traditional heritage and culture of Turks and Caicos Islands, and to create an income for the island elders,  the Middle Caicos Co-op, a non-profit group, was established by a group of friends working in MIddle Caicos on an historic walking trail. Initiated in 1998 with 6 straw and basket artists, Middle Caicos Co-op has grown to over 40 basket and straw artists, and includes a mix of other local artisans throughout the island chain.

Saturday market on Providenciales of the goods from Middle Caicos Coop

Displaying the Middle Caicos Co-op goods at Saturday Market at Graceway IGA on Providenciales

The development of a cottage industry in hand-crafted products is an important element in the growth of a sustainable local economy in the outer islands. To this end, a series of policies were developed and remain in force to this day :

  1. All Artisans are paid in full when they deliver their handcrafts to the Middle Caicos Co-op.
  2. The goods are moved to the wholesale outlet on Provo where they are sold with a minimum markup to cover the co-op overheads
  3. Retail buyers come and select items for their own retail shops, and order signature items
  4. Money received after expenses goes to buy more handcrafts from the artists
Juslene Sinferme at sewing machine in MCCo-op

Juslene Sinferme at sewing machine in MCCo-op

Everyone is welcome to visit the Sales Outlet and Production Studio in Conch Bar ! In 2008 a simple outlet was opened in the village of Conch Bar to facilitate more sales of local handcrafts, and to provide a centre for production of larger orders. Come and see how this co-op venture is keeping the culture of Caribbean basket weaving alive, with demonstrations and interpretive displays as well as a gifted Artisan on hand for your questions. Open daily 11am – 4 pm.  We would like to encourage your support to please purchase our products ! Look for our Tag

White top Plait

Making Plait from White Top Palm on Middle Caicos

In 2013,  the Middle Caicos Co-op partnered with its long term eco adventure friend BIG BLUE UNLIMITED to further educate all visitors about the  cultural traditions. Mrs. Stacia Arthur joined the team working a few hours each day to inform all guests about the handcrafts, the artisans and the traditions. She is a skilled artisan and always has a display on hand of the raw materials, stages of each item, repair work and finely produced baskets.  The support of BIG BLUE UNLIMITED through paying Stacia to work in the MCCo-op has been truly welcome! Indeed the MCCo-op goal of creating income for the local artisans  is being well and better met as more goods are purchased in the outlet.  And the BIG BLUE UNLIMITED goal to provide  great historical education and in depth cultural experience for their guests moves ahead with her involvement on each “Hearts of the Islands” tour!   Call Big Blue Unlimited for more information : 1-649-946- 5034 or     email      info@bigblueunlimited.com

 HANDCRAFT OUTLETS – LOOK FOR OUR TAG

ON PROVIDENCIALES, Turks & Caicos Islands, conveniently located in several retail locations

  • Department of Culture, Turtle Cove
  • Departure Lounge, Provo Air Center
  • Big Blue Unlimited, Providenciales

ON Middle Caicos in Conch Bar at the Middle Caicos Co-op Studio and Shop

ON Grand Turk, at the Turks & Caicos National Museum on Front Street

SUPPORT TURKS & CAICOS ARTISANS

MCCO-op Artisans meeting July 2011 (3)

Middle Caicos Co-op Artisans meeting in Conch Bar on July 2011

Sara in MCCo-op Provo Depot

Sara  ( founder) in Middle Caicos Co-op Wholesale Depot on Providenciales