With five out of 17 children to support and 31 years experience, leather craftsman Ricardo Ponds makes sure that he is at his a-game where his craft is concerned.
The craftsman, who sells his craft daily in the Berinda Cox Fish Market in Oistins said in an interview with Bajan Vibes that he would describe the trade as “hard” but many times he would do good and that would keep him going.
The fact that he has children to support is also a motivational factor.
“I got to come out and fight for my children, I got three living with me at my house plus I got bills to pay that kind of thing so I have to fight.”
Ponds, who was a seaman at one point in his life, said that he started out by watching other guys involved in the trade not in Barbados but otherwise. In addition, he mentioned that any port he entered he saw leather craft.
To supplement what he saw the Silver Hill resident said that he bought books about the trade and started reading. He also experimented: “I bought a lot of leather, cut it up and throw it away. At the time I didn’t know it was money I was wasting until I really got into it.”
The father of nine girls and eight boys said he was encouraged to be a craftsman after being surrounded by a family of hawkers. He said he does not intend to leave it because it is somewhat of a family tradition. Ponds said his plans for the future are, “to keep working hard, keep the brain active and achieve what he could.” The leather craftsman described himself as a designer and his plans are to make the business bigger and better once the money is there.
The competition is plentiful and Ponds said all nationalities including Guyanese, Trinidadians, Jamaicans, Vincentians and St. Lucians who are all involved in the leather craft business. In addition, he said even school children are getting involved in the business.
Sales this year and last year have been down and the craftsman said he depends on the Oistins Fish Festival to give him his yearly boost. (MR)