Trench Town back on the map with clay

The future of Trench Town, its children, are some of Jamaica’s most creative. Armed with the best clay in the country, how could they not be? (Photos by Don Waysome)

Music, culture … and clay?

It’s not something that readily comes to mind when one thinks about Trench Town, but the community is growing in popularity in many respects.

Master potter Abraham Grant shows the BUZZ team a vat of prized Trench Town clay, arguably the best in Jamaica! (Photo: Don Waysome)

Leading the charge is managing director of the Trench Town Ceramic and Art Centre, Garfield Williams.

(Left) Managing Director of the Trench Town Ceramic and Art Centre

Williams, in an interview with BUZZ, said he is proud that the Trench Town Ceramic and Art Centre stands as one of the few oases of creativity in the inner-city Kingston community.

“The rumours are true, I’ve seen it. I’ve felt it. The [clay] bonds our community.”

— Garfield Williams, managing director, Trench Town Ceramic and Art Centre

The centre, located on Upper First Street, recently concluded its annual summer camp programme, which saw the involvement of 30 children in and around Trench Town. And in the past 10 years, more than 300 children have gotten the opportunity to experiment and express themselves working with the clay.

What’s more, these works, no matter how simple they are, go on auction each year, and the proceeds assist in the kids’ back-to-school activities.

Want to know more about the centre? Watch our informative BUZZ video feature below.

Speaking with BUZZ, Williams, who is an artisan and sculptor, was beaming as he reflected on the great work being done by the children and the centre.

“To know we have such a substance that could be highlighted is amazing.”

— Williams

“It’s a great look. I have to say hats off to the Bob Marley Foundation, SDC (Social Development Commission), TPDCo (Tourism Product Development Company Ltd), Ministry of Mining and myself, we’ve been doing it every year. I feel really good to know that I have people supporting what I’m doing,” Williams told BUZZ.

“We always look forward to the summertime every year, having the kids out of school and being that mentor and father-figure looking out for them. That’s my satisfaction and for the guys around me. We’re glad we could have this magnitude of kids here.”

“Our whole history of crafts and culture is totally authentic and rich.”

— Williams

Having left Trench Town for Canada when he was six years old and returning to Jamaica nearly 30 years ago, Williams attested that the area is blessed with the best clay in the country. And, according to Williams, artists from as far away as St Thomas, Manchester and Clarendon make the journey to purchase clay mined only in Trench Town. This, he said, has many spin-off benefits for the community.

“The rumours are true, I’ve seen it. I’ve felt it. The [clay] bonds our community in some sense, it’s a big oomph for Trench Town. It’s keeping the kids active; keeping the men and women that mine [the clay employed],” Williams said.

“Our whole history of crafts and culture is totally authentic and rich. It’s a bonus for me to be showcasing it right here in Trench Town. To know we have such a substance that could be highlighted is amazing.”

Check out more highlights in our BUZZ gallery below: