Straw Work Is Truly Bahamian

Bahamian straw workers typically start their craft at an early age, learning at the feet of their mothers and grandmothers. Take a close look at a straw product – or plait, as it is known in The Bahamas – and you will begin to understand the intricacies of the weaves that carry names such as peas ‘n rice, Bahama Mama, Jacob’s ladder, sour sop, pineapple and fish pot. Bahamian Straw Purse with Shell Work Accents

The straw starts as a green leaf hand-picked from a silver top tree and then stripped of its rough sides before it can be plaited. It is a time-consuming process.

The more involved plaits, such as pineapple, can cost a straw worker $60 per 20 yard length.

Sisal, which comes from the sisal plant and has a twine-like texture, is even more time consuming to prepare. It is cut, stripped and soaked in sea water for two weeks or longer, then beaten out, scraped and cleaned. The end result: a one-of-a-kind product that is 100% Bahamian except for the lining and the thread.Straw Hats are a common Bahamian Straw Work Product

Don’t forget to visit the straw markets of Freeport/Lucaya.

There are at least 10, including two at Port Lucaya Marketplace and one each at the International Bazaar, Goombay Park, Freeport Harbour and Garden of the Groves.