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Inmates dye sawdust for Bermuda Day floats

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Inmates at Westgate Correctional Facility are dying sawdust for the Bermuda Day floats for a second year.

The initiative is the result of a partnership with the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs and inmates have already dyed about 30 bales, each consisting of 3.5 cubic feet.

The colours this year are quite vibrant; definitely an improvement from last year,” said Dwanita Grant, vocational coordinator with the Department of Corrections.

“The tricky part is creating custom colours. This requires caution and remembering that a little goes a long way.”

Bermuda Day Parade participants have been traditionally supplied with strawflowers but the major global supplier of strawflowers did not grow any in 2016.

In looking for alternative materials, the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs came across the dyed sawdust carpets used by Bermuda's Portuguese community during the festival of Santo Cristo.

Portuguese-Bermudian tradition-bearer Joseph Almeida shared the method of dyeing the sawdust with programme manager Carlita Lodge, who passed on the skill to Ms Grant.

“Miss Grant has refined the dyeing process and has it down to a fine science, leading the inmates at the Department of Corrections to dye the sawdust,” Heather Whalen, the Director of Community and Cultural Affairs, said. “Overall, we have found using the sawdust to be very beneficial. It is a more cost-effective material, it provides a creative outlet for inmates that allows them to feel engaged with the broader community through service work, and connects a Portuguese-Bermudian tradition with the rest of the community.”

The sawdust is provided to float builders for free.

Dwanita Grant, vocational coordinator with the Department of Corrections, dyes strawdust for the Bermuda Day floats with inmates of Westgate Correctional Facility (Photograph supplied)
Dwanita Grant, vocational coordinator with the Department of Corrections, dyes strawdust for the Bermuda Day floats with inmates of Westgate Correctional Facility (Photograph supplied)
Inmates at Westgate Correctional Facility dye sawdust for the Bermuda Day floats for a second year (Photograph supplied)

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Published May 10, 2017 at 1:08 pm (Updated May 10, 2017 at 1:08 pm)

Inmates dye sawdust for Bermuda Day floats

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