Thursday, May 9, 2013

Coconut Jewelry Artist: John Gartau

John proudly displaying is work at the U.S. Embassy Craft Fair
The first Liberian artisan that I want to introduce you to is John Gartau. He is a kind-hearted, young spirited Papie that has been making jewelry from coconut shells for decades! He really is a master craftsman. John began experimenting with coconuts in 1967 and he has grown his business into a family business. His grandchildren enjoy helping him and he wants to pass on his skills to the younger generation. John can frequently be found roaming around near guesthouses and tourist beaches with his small black bag full of beautiful coconut creations.
 He enjoys sharing the creative process with shoppers, and ALWAYS has a huge smile on his face! 
Africa Earrings and Pendants
I have done alot of handi-craft shopping in Liberia, and I have never come across anyone else doing what John does. He uses mature coconut shells to make darker pieces, while younger coconuts provide the lighter pieces. John loves what he does, and he also desires to pass on his trade to the next generation so that it's not lost.. He is 70 years old [I know, doesn't look a day over 50!] and shared with me, as we sat on my front porch, that it's getting more difficult to crank out product with poor eyesight and more stubborn hands. I am hoping that he will do some training at the community center in the near future!
Cross Pendants
John will happily ship his beautiful jewelry anywhere in the world, and he also makes custom pieces. If you can't find what you're looking for in the Good Gifts Market, you can contact him at or +231-649-2853. 
Coconut Buttons!

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