Jamaican Crafts | Ivelyn Harris | Nanny of the Maroons Traditional Craft

Posted by on Jul 21, 2010 in Blog, Jamaica Travel, Jamaican crafts, Maroons, Port Antonio Jamaica, Portland Jamaica | 3 comments

Jamaican Crafts | Ivelyn Harris | Nanny of the Maroons Traditional Craft
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Ivelyn Harris - Maroon Artisan/Crafter/Healer

Directly descended from heroine and first Maroon leader, Queen "Nanny of the Windward Maroons", Ivelyn Harris is a lady “bush doctor”, traditional healer, herbalist, and artisan/crafter extraordinaire!!

Ivelyn Harris lives in Portland's Rio Grande Valley between the John Crow and Blue Mountain ranges, in Cornwall Barracks, a mile from the larger Windward Maroon capital of Moore Town and about 15 miles up the valley from Berridale.

Ivey runs Nanny of the Maroons Traditional Craft, a cooperative that employs women in her community, with a goal of preserving time-honored 300 year old Maroon art and crafts. She designs and creates beautiful traditional Maroon baskets from molded vines and hand-stitched coconut palm. Ancient techniques handed down over the generations by her ancestors help her to craft these and other items, such as handmade paper, from sustainable (and renewable!) natural materials.

Take a look at Ivey’s spectacular Maroon baskets that recently caught the attention of the L.A. Times’ Craig Nakano as well as New Caribbean Design.

Nanny of the Maroons

Queen Nanny of the Windward Maroons is presumed to have been born around the 1680’s in Africa’s Gold Coast (now known as Ghana). She is the sole woman among the seven national heroes of Jamaica and is depicted on the Jamaican $500 bill (pictured below). Along with other slaves, most of them African-born, Nanny escaped into the mountainous landscape of Jamaica and helped to form a community of free women, men and children - the Maroons.

The Maroons vigorously fought the British between 1725 and 1740, resulting in treaties whereby the British agreed to recognize and uphold their status as free people. Their original home of “Nanny Town” was destroyed by the British and Moore Town, founded in 1734, is now the primary home of the Windward Maroons.



Contact Information

In addition to her crafts, Ivey Harris makes her own line of herbal remedies and offers a traditional herbal "bush bath". You can visit, have a tour and learn about bush medicine, but arrangements MUST be made in advance through MaryLou of Unique Destinations, an eco-travel company based in Rhode Island. Also visit Unique Destinations' Facebook page for more information about the area. You can also get more information about Ivelyn Harris at PortAntonioJamaica.com.


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  1. This s very interesting! I am almost certain that if we were to trace our roots I am related to Ivelyn. I am from St. Thomas but my grandparents are Maroons from Moore Towne. One of my dream is to visit this area in Portland where my family orignated from.

  2. Greetings Ivelyn and blessings to you.

    I/we need some help and wanted to know if you could help us.I am writing from London England. My queen and I are trying to conceive. We are in our early forties and would love to have a baby together.

    She has fibroids, blocked fallopian tubes. We have tried IVF but it failed. I would love to discuss what/if you can help.

    My Queens mother is in Jamaica as we speak and is due to leave on Friday 8th August.

    I would be grateful if you could respond to see if we can make my Queen a potion of herbs for now or at a later date.

    Looking forward to your response.


  3. Hi. Thanks for visiting KeepItJiggy.com. It’s unlikely that Ivelyn Harris would see your request here. She lives in Cornwall Barracks, Portland, a mile from Moore Town and about 15 miles up the valley from Berridale. You might try posting a comment on the Portland Tribunal Facebook page to see if anyone can help you with contact info. I can also provide this email address (iharrisnom@gmail.com), but I don’t know if it is still active. Good luck!

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