Back Yard Jam aims to revive costume-making

Joy Luk Pat's La Tienda. Luk Pat was a participant in the first of the Country Kitchen Artisan series. It took place in July 2020 and was an introduction to miniatures with Treymayne Freunfelder.  - Photo courtesy Damian Luk Pat
Joy Luk Pat's La Tienda. Luk Pat was a participant in the first of the Country Kitchen Artisan series. It took place in July 2020 and was an introduction to miniatures with Treymayne Freunfelder. - Photo courtesy Damian Luk Pat

IF Carnival tabanca has hit you or you’re simply in the mood for an event that falls in line with all the covid19 protocols, then the Country Kitchen Artisan Series’ Back Yard Jam has what you need.

The Carnival brunch and costume workshop will be held on January 31 at Woodford Cafe, Price Plaza, Chaguanas, from 10 am-1 pm. It promises to teach participants how to build their own collar, bras, belts and tiaras.

The organiser, Anthony Bisnath, said the Country Kitchen Artisan Series is one which seeks to identify and highlight some of the artisans in TT. Bisnath and his girlfriend Joanne Campbell jointly own Country Kitchen.

Country Kitchen provides a weekly food service and does private catering as well as curating the series and the locations, food and beverage provided during the series’ events.

The series highlights artists who don’t necessarily have a high profile but who have high-quality products and work, he said.

The first part of the series was held in July 2020 and featured an introduction to miniatures with Treymayne Freunfelder. That was held at Freebird Restaurant, Pointe-a-Pierre.

Anthony Bisnath, co-owner of Country Kitchen which curates artisans, locations, food and beverage for its series Country Kitchen Artisan. -

Bisnath said at that workshop there were covid19 protocols in place but they were not as strict as they are now.

“We did have social distancing. We did have a small class. We did have participants being spaced out and we did have a lot of sanitisation.

“We made sure the protocols were in place and worked very closely with the management of Freebird place for that one to ensure there would not be any types of issues or problems, and, most importantly, not putting anyone who is attending the class, whether it is the participants, ourselves, the facilitator and even the restaurant staff at unnecessary risk.”

With an even bigger magnifying glass on the protocols with TT’s second covid19 wave, the organisers are ensuring they hold the workshop safely and creatively. The event will be limited to ten people.

There will be three expert facilitators in wire-bending and costume-making. The organisers plan to assign the facilitators to specific groups.

A participant works on a miniature at the Country Kitchen Artisan Series' first workshop in July last year. -

“What we are trying to do is, if there is a group that comes in together and is family or friends, they will be seated together. They will not be intermingling with anyone else.”

Bisnath said participants will wear masks at all times, except when eating or drinking.

“We are trying to stay within all of the regulations that have been provided to all restaurants or any place that can have an event.”

It is also being held in a separate banquet area.

He said even though the name of the event is Back Yard Jam and that lends itself to a kind of party vibe and atmosphere, all participants have been told: "There is to be no getting up, dancing and waving and those kinds of things.” There will, however, be ambient music to get the juices flowing a little.

He and Campbell are very much into Carnival. He started playing mas at five.

“You played kiddies' Carnival, you played with your school band and all they give you was a piece of paper and maybe a standard to take home the week before Carnival, and you had to build costumes from scratch.

Part of growing up for Bisnath was building his own costume.

He added a lot of the aspects of mas creation are now lost, since “everything comes in a box from China.”

This series was something Bisnath always wanted to do, being involved in Carnival. The pandemic year presented him with the opportunity.

He hopes that with no Carnival 2021, people will revisit the genesis of and the traditional aspects of Carnival. He also hopes the art form is passed on to a new generation of people.

“This is a good year to start doing things at home again, especially with the foreign exchange and issues with shipping…”

He said a lot of it is going back to basics, as TT has had a lot of excesses over the last few years.

“People can do what they want. It is their money and they earned it and they are entitled to spend it as they would like.

Participants in the first of the Country Kitchen Artisan Series in July 2020 at Freebird Restaurant, Pointe-a-Pierre. The second part is on January 31 and is a Carnival brunch and costume workshop called Back Yard Jam. -

"But there is no reason for you to be chasing down a $10,000 or $12,000 costume to wear for two days. It is up to you if you want to do that since you are not only paying for the costume but all of the services.

“But (the workshop) is giving people creativity. Hopefully, you can take home the Carnival costume next year.”

He added that the workshop will teach people how to individualise and put a lot of their personality into their costumes.


"Back Yard Jam aims to revive costume-making"

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