Weaving Together Past and Present

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By: Eliza Magro 

Dreamweaver sits and weaves coconut palm at Skinny Leg’s during a visit to Coral Bay last week. Photos by Eliza Magro

Jerry Smith, also known as “Dreamweaver” has earned his living for years by weaving coconut palm fronds into useful and decorative pieces.

 

Smith, originally from Chicago, first came to St. John 16 years ago, when he sailed from Puerto Rico, where he first learned to weave. The artisan  lived in Coral Bay in the early 90s for several years, and has lived on his 32-foot sailboat for 20 years.

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A customer checks out the DreamweaverÂ’s wares.

 

Smith now lives on Islamorada, one of the Florida Keys, and was back in Coral Bay for a week, visiting old friends and sharing his work with locals and tourists.

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Dreamweaver selects his palm for weaving.

 

“I just sit here and weave, when I want,” Smith said. “These weaved products are satisfying to all. Coconut palm plant comes from the tree of life.”  

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Dreamweaver makes a variety of products, including: hats, baskets, flowers, birds, iguanas, and more.

 

“The coconut tree is a beautiful happy tree — it’s alive,” Smith continued. “Weaving is a form of communicating with the plant, which is like communicating with any form.”