Robert Woolery the woodcarver has been and will always be a personal friend of mine. I remember him more than he remembers I — this I can tell you. That’s the way it’s expected to be as Robert tends to customers on the daily.
Being one of the best woodcarvers in Negril doesn’t come without having to deal with numerous individuals wanting to look at your masterful creations Monday through Friday (during business hours).
Not only a woodcarver, Robert is also a father; a friend; an associate and a ganja farmer. Some time between the years of 2007 and 2010, Robert closed shop and moved from the 7-mile beach to the “country.” That’s what the locals call the inland.
Many times it’s where they’re from or where they currently have family living which they still provide for.
Robert moved to the country where he started a Ganja farming operation, growing some of the most fertile greens and selling his crop for profits. The profits went to paying for family necessities such as the grandchildren’s education, food and shelter, as well as other needs as random occurrences arose due to chance.
It wasn’t until this trip, in 2014, that we tracked him down again. It wasn’t an easy task either. We checked back at his 7-mile beach setup. It happened to be closed once again. Shoot.
We wanted to track down our man and see what kind of merchandise he had for sale (I always purchase a wood sculpture when I’m in Negril).
We asked around the 7-mile. Days without any luck, but finally someone knew of Robert’s whereabouts. He was setup downtown in the market area according to a local we just so happened to run into that day.
Ok — we finally had a lead. We ended up venturing down the beach to see if we could track down the second best woodcarver in all of Negril.
No hard feelings to Robert and the Woolery family, but another woodcarver we’ve found over the years simply has better quality stuff.
We made it downtown to the crafts area. We walked around for a while, stumbling from shop to shop, checking out what each vendor had to offer. Eventually, we found a shop with some high quality wood — the kinda quality we had been yearning for the entire trip that year.
There’s was no one to answer our questions at first.
After about 10 minutes, a young girl walks through the back door. We asked who the talented artist that created the carvings on display was. The young girl was shy at first. She didn’t answer our question, but she stated she would get the man who had created such mastery art by hand.
A thin Jamaican man walked through the door. To our surprise, he looked rather familiar. At first, we thought he was someone that looked like a previous person we had met on the 7-mile. Wait a second — that was just it.
The man that walked in the door was Robert Woolery. He didn’t have natty dreadlocks anymore. The last time we saw him, he had long natty dreadlocks. He looked different, but after a longer take— it was definitely him.
We pulled up pictures from previous encounters we had on our camera. He remembered who we were after we showed him those pictures. We talked for a while, and then it was time for business.
I searched around, found a sculpture I liked, wheeled ‘n dealed with the dealer himself, and come out on top with this hollowed-out turtle wood carving made by the best of the best, Robert Woolery.
A original story from my times to Negril
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