Myrtle Morris - senior creative talent
It was just over ten years ago that eighty-seven year old Myrtle Morris, great grandmother of eleven and grandmother of 25 children discovered that she was blessed with a special talent and set about perfecting that skill.
For several years she worked at home diligently as a homemaker taking care of her family which included ten children and attending to her ornamental plants which adorn the yard.
One of her special talents was cake-icing where she found expression for her creativity by producing stunning designs and her fame spread far and wide.
Eventually the Community Development Officer at that time -Olive Sawyer engaged her services in the seventies to begin teaching Evening Classes in several villages in the Leeward districts stretching from Delaford to Bethel. Some of the persons who influenced the development of her handicraft skills were Zilla Saul, Edgar Davidson, Eileen Guillaume and Irene Beache. She remembers learning skills in the preparation of handicraft material from the screw pine and also the banana stalk.
As time went by she continued with her daily routine, then in 1996 on a visit to one of her daughters in Pennsylvania, USA her daughter told her of an Art Class which was being held at a Community Hall in the town for retired persons. Reluctantly, she decided to visit and for the next few weeks the Tutor outlined the basic concepts of painting and she began to use acrylic paint on small canvas panels.
A new creative spirit was ignited within her and she began to produce paintings which were of above- average standard.
She enjoys travelling and has visited Amsterdam, France, Germany, Israel, Canada, New York, Florida, California, Washington DC, Hawaii, Louisiana and several Caribbean islands including Barbados, Grenada and St Vincent.
A few years ago she attended a class in Chinese Art at the Mt Grace Community Centre and learned the Art of producing some exquisite pieces with simple glass jars by just applying different colours of Chinese laquer paint on the surface of the jar and rotating it.
The Class ended but it was not to be like so many other classes where skills are taught and ladies gather just for an opportunity to leave the boredom of life at home and socialise.
Every Thursday afternoon she hosts a group of ladies at her home to engage in the further development of their skills under the expert guidance of their Tutor. Some of her favourite creations are handbags and clutch purses which she makes from Clorox (bleach) bottles. After cutting open the bottles she would punch holes on the edges then use wool thread or plastic lacing to join the pieces together. At the completion of the basic items she would then decorate them with hand painted designs of flowers with acrylic paint. Visitors to her home have been so impressed with her handiwork that they have been ordering some handbags and paintings which she would produce in her spare time instead of focusing on the aches and pains which may arise from time to time.
Some of her Art pieces were on display at an Art Exhibition at Kariwak Hotel entitled:’ Heritage Generation of Artists’. During her lifetime she has been involved in many worthwhile activities which have attracted her to the attention of the authorities. When Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth visited our island several decades ago she was chosen as one of the persons who had the privilege of being introduced to the Queen; she also met two former Presidents – Sir Ellis Clarke and ANR Robinson. Some years ago veteran Masman Peter Minshall visited her home. She says: ‘Instead of sitting there and getting senile use your brain to do something. I am doing something all the time’. As a senior citizen Myrtle Morris is certainly setting a great example for many retired persons who can continue to experience a higher quality of life by thinking positively and making the best use of their God-given skills and the time that is available to them.