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ST CROIX — What began as one family’s social distancing project during the challenging times of the pandemic has transformed into a business rooted in the cultural preservation of a beloved Virgin Islands pastime. Crucian Bayside Creations began during the pandemic lockdown when Carmen Henry-Patterson birthed the idea of showcasing the woven artistry the Henry family created on their virtual calls. The youngest of the bunch is Letitia; she, along with her brother Lloyd, learned how to weave market baskets from their aunt, Eileen Huggins, and did it as a hobby. The other siblings — Carla Henry-Lewis, LaVerne Henry-Hurst, and Carmen — were all crafty in their own right, and weaving came to all of them naturally. On their virtual calls, they would work on a specific item together — usually one that Letitia was tackling at the moment. One day, Carmen brought up the idea that they should sell their pieces because “they were too gorgeous not to.” According to Carla, their Auntie Eileen was unable to sell baskets; today, they are carrying on what she taught them and sharing it with others.

Crucian Bayside Creations pays homage to the place that groomed them the Henry Family — Gallows Bay. Carla recalled the stories of their grandmother Ingerborg Cartier, who was of Danish descent, and their grandfather Irving Henry. Known as Buggy or Miss Inger to some, they would bake breads and Vienna cakes and place them in the woven market baskets for the children to deliver before school to neighbors that purchased them. “Our dad told us these stories about when he was growing up, and we realized the baskets were a lost art.” The siblings began learning more about the market baskets. They learned about St. John’s history with the baskets, where the hoop vine would be used for weaving. “Each island had their specific kind of market basket that they made,” said Carla, “and in St. John, they would harvest the hoop vine and teach weaving to the boys and girls in school.” They even discovered the works of Mr. Herman Prince, a St. John native whose basket- weaving works are on display at The Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.

Crucian Bayside Creations uses traditional rattan reed and cloth to weave their baskets and make the wooden handles with pieces of driftwood found along the beach. “The best part about our baskets is that they’re functional but can also be seen as a piece of art for centerpieces.” The family is committed to carrying on this tradition passed on by their Auntie Eileen to continue to the next generation. With a little over 50 baskets made in 2023, each basket takes on a life of its own based on the materials used.

Learn more about Crucian Bayside Creations and see their Caribbean handcrafted woven baskets at www.; you can also find them on Facebook and Instagram. Add a touch of Caribbean flair to your home by purchasing one of their creations in person at several stores throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands: Eden South & Crucian Gold on St. Croix, Fish Face on St. Thomas, and Bajo El Sol Gallery on St. John.

Written by Anquanette Gaspard