Bermuda blues and evil eyes
Suzie Lowe puts a lot of thought into designing her jewellery. Unless it’s something she would wear herself, it doesn’t make it into her Hello Darling, Bermuda collection.
She’s putting her best out for The Loren’s holiday market on Sunday.
The event is a first for the hotel. Alongside Ms Lowe will be items made by 24 vendors including Swimming Lisa, Coco Aroma, Demco, Love Bermuda, Helle Pukk, Emmerson Art, Enzuri Beauty, Gardner Gallery Bermuda and Hand Made (Bermuda).
Every person who attends will be offered a glass of bubbly on entry.
Ms Lowe is excited to take part.
“Particularly as it's their first one,” she said. “I actually did a mini-market down at Salt Kettle Guest House – which belongs to my family – at the beginning of November.
“I only had about ten of us down there. I like the idea of offering a different location and you want to have different vendors.”
Although she admired the annual markets held at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute, Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art and the Bermuda High School, she was hoping to find one that shoppers weren’t so familiar with, Ms Lowe added.
“There are a lot of the same vendors there and unless you change your stock, people really are going to be looking for something different.”
What she particularly liked about this weekend’s market was that it was out of town and in “a great location” and that she didn’t know all of the vendors.
“I know some of them, obviously, but not everyone. I like as well, that it’s from 4.30pm until 8.30pm, which lends itself to the weekend and people relaxing and having a glass of bubbly while they're looking at your wares.”
She has been in the jewellery business “for years and years” and is known for her beading, which she creates with semi-precious stones.
“I do not mix metals or anything like that. And I never use precious stones. I love Bermuda glass but it's used an awful lot and I like seeing it on the beach.
“I actually stumbled across some wonderful recycled beads from Ghana and they're made in a very traditional way by two tribes called the Ashanti and the Krobo.
“I just really liked that every bead has its own story, because they're not exactly the same.”
The beads are made using a tool similar to a “cement plate” that sits about three inches high with holes all the way around.
Each tribe has its own design but the beads are similarly crafted using beer bottles and other glass found on the beach.
“Then what they do is they smash it up by hand and then they put it in these little holes,” Ms Lowe explained. “And then there is a metal piece they stick in which is obviously for the hole in the bead and that's how they make them.
“The thing I love about them is that they lend themselves to Bermuda colours. You've got those fabulous cobalt blues, and then you've got some really nice aquas and turquoise greens.”
Her fascination with Africa goes back to her childhood. Ms Lowe moved to Malawi as an infant and lived there until she was 15 when her Bermudian father, Bobby Lowe, decided to return home.
“It’s a fascinating place and I love their artwork,” she said. “I used to do pottery with Jon Faulkner up at the gallery [in Dockyard] and a lot of my wall hangings and clay work are quite African looking.”
She began making bracelets in the midst of the pandemic.
“I sell my things through the Dockyard Art Centre and through Island Outfitters. It's great when cruise ships are in obviously, but when they're not then you're struggling – particularly when the pandemic hit – about how you’re going to unload your stuff.
“The designs that I have on my website are what happened through the pandemic and I really like what I do. I like the contrast between the chunky African bracelets and the fine, evil eye bracelets.”
She offers three lines: The Bermuda Collection, The African Collection and Evil Eye.
“The Bermuda line lends itself to the seaglass colours. The African line, I add in some wooden beads et cetera and on every one, to Bermudianise them, I have a tiny triangle that’s attached. They’re on double-strung elastic and they last a long time.”
She fell in love with evil eye beads in Turkey, a country she has visited multiple times over the past 35 years.
“I used to have a shop in the Clock Tower called Turkish Delights and once that finished [I continued with] my fascination with them; they’re all over my house.
“They actually have become very fashionable and people like that you can wear something that wards off evil spirits, that protects you.”
That the bracelet size is adjustable will likely be a big hit with customers, Ms Lowe added.
“Rather than have a kind of clasp, there are two chains on the side with a toggle and you just pull the toggle down, flip your wrist and then you pull the toggle up to fit your wrist.”
The Loren’s holiday market takes place Sunday from 4.30pm until 8.30pm. Tickets, $20, include “a glass of festive bubbles” and can be purchased in advance from ptix.bm. Admission is free for children and seniors. For more on Suzie Lowe’s designs visit hellodarlingbermuda.com