‘Carving inna mi blood’ - Trelawny man ‘pounding’ out living making mortars and pestles
The level of skill and patience it takes to make one of George Brisette's mortar and pestle sets is not obvious at first glance.
But as he explained to THE STAR , while it's not an easy task, it's one he finds most relaxing.
"Fi do this kinda work need patience; yuh cya rush it. For if yuh rush it, maybe yuh change yuh mind. When di splinta from outta di mortar slap mi sometime, mi seh yuh know seh this nah stop mi from doing what mi doing, cause mi love it," he said
The 53-year-old hails from Falmouth, Trelawny, and comes from a family of carvers.
After his tools were stolen, he sought out another option to make a living. But in 2001, he returned to his true calling.
Build some mortar
"Mi used to do likkle hustle labouring with the cart, but mi kinda find it boring. It boring going out, shubbing out people things inna di sun, and it mek mi haffi guh fast dan how mi would like haffi a go. So mi just sit back one day, and seh yuh know wah, if mi siddung and build some mortar, di same $2,000 and $3,000 weh mi charge fi carry di goods dem, mi can mek some mortar and sell it fi di same money," he said
Now Brisette sells his mortars, pestles, and meat boards from his cart in Silver Slipper Plaza in Cross Roads.
His prices range from $500 to $5,000. His customers come from all walks of life.
"People weh have chocolate, coffee, people who sell peanut, some people who nuh have teeth, dem buy it fi crush di food. Nurses buy it fi crush di tablet cause a nuh everybody can tek di tablet whola," he said.
But his business mirrors the slow pace at which he carves his pieces.
"It's not all the while it sell, it tek some time, it nuh sell dat fast. Sometime when the right person who need them come, dem tek a lot, but not as often as I'd want them to come," he said.
However, Brisette said he'll continue because he believes he has a valued product.
"Di blenda still cya do weh dem here do, because di blenda leave grain, and this nuh leave grain, it powder everything like flour," he said
A customer, Clement Clunis, said that using the mortar and pestle add a different flavour to chocolate tea.
"If you want to enjoy good chocolate tea, this is what engineer it, because if it is parched properly and you don't have anything to beat it, then you not going to get the right finish product," he said.