My on-line diary began in the 1990's from my studio in the North of England. After a lapse of ten years, I resumed posting from my present studio on the Caribbean island of Dominica.

From the far beginning, the intention has been to give an insight into my working methods, and to share the triumphs, trials and tribulations of work-in-progress.

My diary pages are followed by thousands of artists, art students and art lovers in over 50 countries.

Monday, April 4, 2011

I’ve been through the mill…

When it comes to rum production in the Caribbean, I can honestly say that I have been through the mill, whether the mill be oil, steam, wind, water or mule powered.  I have recorded every known sugar works in the British Virgin Islands and studied hundreds more throughout the West Indies.  Here on our own property we have the ruins of what was once the sugar works for the Antrim Valley Estate. 

For the factories still in production, I have contributing my engineering expertise on machinery that is well over a century and a half old.  To that end, I have spent today inspecting machinery at the Shillingford estate on Dominica, distillers of the fine Macoucherie range of rums.  The label is poised for launching on the worldwide market and hence the need to review the manufacturing process from the cane field to the finished product.  A pleasant task you might say, but after many hours in the hot sun, it’s a cold beer, rather than a fiery straight rum, that I yearn for.

Many years ago I made a similar study of the River Antaine Estate on Grenada.  Women feed the heavy bundles of sugar cane into the mill.  They hoist the bundles shoulder high, carry them a considerable distance and then mightily toss the cane into the rollers of the mill.  What strength!  Take my advice, don’t ever pick a fight with a Grenadian woman – I know, I’m married to one!

These sketches are taken from my book Caribbean Sketches.

1 comment:

  1. Ask them to send me a review copy of the rum once it is launched.