Ireka Jelani

Ireka Jelani and her husband Princepine Jelani are the proprietors of Roots and Grasses, a craft center that they opened in 1988 within  the Pelican Village Craft Centre in Bridgetown, Barbados. This craft center produces hand-woven baskets that are made from a variety of grasses such as Khus Khus, Rock Balsam and Cabbage Palm to name a few. Homes and offices all across Barbados and some parts of the world are adorned with these mulit-purpose baskets and trays which can be used for a variety of purposes including usage as fruit baskets, ornaments, clothes baskets, place mats, storage products, picnic baskets, serving trays, plant baskets and even waste paper baskets.


Currently living in the heart of the countryside at White Hill, St. Andrew, Barbados, Ireka and her husband Princepine use their closeness to the land as a prime opportunity to grow and expand their business and nurture themselves in the process.


Journey to Another Land

Ireka's involvement in Roots and Grasses dates back more than twenty-five years (25) ago when she was involved in craft markets that were being held in Barbados. She was privileged enough to win herself a Commonwealth Scholarship to Ghana, West Africa, for one year. While there, she was able to visit remote villages and spent weeks learning authentic Ghanaian basketry. This experience enabled her to develop new techniques for various pieces which have become popular with collectors in Barbados and throughout the world. When she returned to Barbados, she and her husband combined their efforts to produce a wide range of the some of the finest baskets to be found anywhere in Barbados.


Another journey of notable mention to them is that of maintaining their roots as this is quite important to them both. The continuation of such a journey that upkeeps their heritage while affording them the opportunity to support themselves financially.  


Let's hope that the continuation of such a journey is forever embraced in the hearts and minds of the people of Barbados who recognise their vision and play their part in upkeeping it.


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