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Antique Skill - Fabulous New Look
Published on May 31, 2011 by BMEX
Let us introduce you to Ava’s Crochet World, a company putting a hot, new spin on the art of crocheting.   But first a look back -- at age 12, Ava Gayle, the company’s Managing Director, anxiously looked forward to her summer holidays;  not only to get away from school, but she could not wait to get to Pelican Village’s summer programme. There, she would learn to master the skill of crocheting while finding an outlet for her creative side.

From hats and bags for church, to funky teenage tops, Ava experimented on her sister; never once thinking that somewhere down the road, this teenage hobby would produce work admired and sought after by many both in Barbados and North America.

When we think of crochet, quite often what comes to mind is granny or the retired neighbor making doilies or chair backs, to pass the time and add to the home furnishings.  When Ava Gayle thinks of crochet, what she sees is exquisite tops and jackets, stylish hats and elegant evening dresses.  This has given, and continues to give, her a name in the fashion industry.

When one looks at the work of this dynamic designer, you cannot but notice the attention to detail, the quality craftsmanship and a passion for crochet not readily seen here at home.  Not to say that there are not many people who still love and practice the art of crochet, but Ava Gale has a passion which is noticeable from the time she starts to talk about her work; and it is truly evident in the work itself.

The road from hobby to pro was one that spanned many years for this designer.  Starting in her childhood, she continued to crochet when she migrated to Canada and was faced with her children constantly losing mittens and hats during the winter season.  Necessity being the mother of invention, Ms. Gale would make hats, mittens and scarves for her children; this then extended to the neighbour’s children and her children’s friends.  This process climaxed in the production of a magnificent evening dress for a wedding, which became her first commercial piece.  From here the demand for dresses and other attire grew. Now having re-located back to Barbados, Ava’s Crochet World is creating its own line of hats, bags and clothing which can be custom designed on request. “We have developed a line for the mature as well as the youthful; it is funky, classy, tasteful, and stylish with an exquisite look” this designer indicated.

Ms. Gayle finds the art of crocheting to be very therapeutic and she has also used it in working with young boys with difficulties.  “Many people would think that young boys would not be interested in crochet, but while working with young boys with difficulties and challenges, concentrating in Canada, I thought them this art and it was amazing to see them working diligently on various pieces and really excited about what they were able to create and produce.”

In interview Ms. Gaye expressed “My desire is to see this craft rejuvenated and I work within my circle of influence to teach and revive the art of crocheting.  I teach the skill within the Cub Scouts and I want to teach it to as many young people as I possibly can.  It is a creative outlet, and the only limitation is your mind.  The mediums for crocheting have changed over the years; the textures, materials, colours and effects are all very dynamic and the fashion industry is a wonderful avenue for showcasing this art.  My plea is that we do not  let this skill die; for those involved in crocheting, I encourage them to teach someone else the skill, there are so many local skills that are dying out because we have not passed them on to the younger generation, we have a moral and social responsibility to do so.  My motto is – a skill can only be powerful if it is shared”

Since Ms. Gale returned to Barbados in October 2010, she has found a very receptive audience in Barbados.  She anticipated it would have been a very difficult market to penetrate, given the island’s long history of crocheting, however, the response has been extremely encouraging.  “I put all of me into my work” Ms. Gale noted “What I do is very intricate and there is no room for error.  I never thought there would have been a market for my work, but it still amazes me how my work is appreciated and how many people have gone out of their way to help me.  It has rekindled my faith in humanity and that there are still very genuine people around.  The Barbados Manufacturer’s Association has also been very supportive and I look forward to showcasing my work at BMEX 2011.  Their theme for this year is Innovation through Inspiration, and that speaks of my work.  My family and my lifestyle have inspired me and fueled my innovation and my creativity.  Look out for us at BMEX June 10th to 13th.

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