Belizeans and visitors alike can now get exquisite bamboo products to decorate their home or office from Belizean artisan with a plan, Janice Young.

Janice grew up in Gales Point, Belize district and has been creating bamboo furniture and other decor since 1986, and now has a company, Exotic Bamboo Works, located in Burrell Boom.

Besides ring chimes, picture frames, jewelry boxes, masks and other a designs, she also makes special pieces, such as her bust of Nefertiti, the beautiful queen of ancient Egypt.

Young is also sharing her skills with other young artists. She held a six week workshop during the summer school holidays for 26 youths to learn how to make bamboo products. Four are now employed by her. She also encourages them to begin their own enterprise, offering support.

Young received extensive training in bamboo works in Guatemala , Los Angeles, and California U.S.A.

The Belize Tourist Board recognized her achievements by awarding her the Vendor of the Year Award in 2007.

She has displayed her work as part of the Women in Arts Exhibition at the Bliss Institute for the Performing Arts in Belize, an exhibition which travelled to Mexico in March.

Young’s beautiful bamboo art also represented Belize at an Expo in Costa Rica.

Janice said she cut the bamboo herself and nothing is sent abroad for processing. Her company does everything, from the jungle to the finished product.

She encourages young people to learn a trade or to find something they like to do. She urges people to look within themselves to find and nurture their skills from which they can reap financial rewards.

Janice also recently participated in the art exhibition “Artisans with a Plan” featuring five Belizean artists which ran from December 15-22 at the Institute of Mexico in Belize. Belizean artists: Ellen Staine, Emmeth Young, Jill Burgess and Myrna Manzanares.

In addition to Janice Young’s bamboo art, the show displayed dolls, T- shirts made by Ellen Staine; paintings by Jill Burgess; drums, marakas and other musical instruments by Emmeth Young and Creole cultural items, such as the kis-kis, amd the fly brush by Myrna Manzanares., as well as dresses, literature material and books.

Ellen Staine was born in Belize City but has lived in Chicago, where she was a fashion designer for many years. She returned to Belize and now resides in Burrell Boom.

Jill Burgess exhibited her paintings that will be part of the Living Culture Museum and Mythological Gardens being created in San Pedro Columbia, Toledo district.

Emmeth Young promotes the Creole culture through music and dance from the deep South of Belize in San Pedro, Columbia.

National Kriol Council President Myrna Manzanares was born in Gales Point, She is an educator, counsellor, writer, poet, human development and cultural trainer, and a professional story teller. She is also a social human rights activist.

Most of her work in Belize has been devoted to drug abuse prevention, HIV/AIDS, prevention and care, domestic violence prevention and care other social a-based activity. As a professional storyteller and dramatist, she writes mainly about social issues and Belizean folklore.

Janice Young is also an executive member of the National Creole Council, and was a delegate to Central American Black Organization conference held in Costa Rica in December. She can be contacted at tel. 626 - 7022 or through the National Creole Council.

Janice Young's bamboo art includes the bust of Egyptian Queen Nefertiti.

The Reporter