Palm Beach — Each month Caribbean Queen at Palm Beach Plaza Mall honors one local female artist who lives and creates here. The Caribbean Queen program was launched when the store opened in late 2011, and has been running successfully ever since. For the month of November 2014, local artist Taina Croes-Odor is the boutique’s celebrated Caribbean Queen, showcasing her handmade jewelry and crochet specialties.
Born and raised in Aruba, Taina’s mother—a famed local artist nicknamed Lulu, well known during the ’70s and early ’80s—regularly created a variety of handmade party favors for weddings, baptisms, and baby showers, all made of different interesting materials, including ceramic, crochet, cardboard, and wire. As a child, Taina was exposed to her mom’s crafting, and after school she always helped with artistic projects, acquiring a cherished hobby along the way.
As a married woman with five children, Taina found it exceedingly difficult to keep up with her hobby, which lay dormant for years. Two years ago, however, she found more leisure time and right away got back into creating and making jewelry. The toolbox was dusted off, new materials were purchased, and creative juices began to flow. During the daytime, Taina entertains and helps raise her six adorable grandchildren, while nights are dedicated to her hobby. She feels very content, she says, and connected to God when she’s busy creating. It’s a moment for meditation and introspection that results in beautiful crafts and accessories, she explains.
Taina’s specialty is crocheting. She uses different thread materials, like bamboo viscose, hemp, acrylic, nylon, silk, cotton, and wire, combined with beads she makes from polymer clay, and other assorted ornaments. She makes necklaces, bangles, and barefoot sandals, which her daughter named Foot Elegance. Foot Elegance may be worn on the beach, at a poolside wedding party, or to a barefoot dinner. The nylon and bamboo viscose are skin friendly, and they can be hand washed and laid flat to dry. Taina says she enjoys her hobby and hopes people who wear her creations get as much joy out of them as she does.
Caribbean Queen boutique earmarks a percentage of all sales for its Tikkun Olam (Repair of the World) program. The collected funds are given quarterly to local not-for-profit organizations in an ongoing effort to do good and serve the community. All the foundations served with donations from Caribbean Queen are dedicated to the promotion of art and artisan education on the island.
Enjoy these unique handcrafted Aruban pieces by Taina Croes-Odor throughout the month of November, and drop in to witness a live demonstration of her craft at the boutique on November 20 in the evening hours.