We had the good fortune of connecting with Oris Shaw and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Oris, how has your background shaped the person you are today?

I am from Jamaica. Born in Spanish Town, St. Catherine, and raised mostly in Kingston. I would say that I am from an artistic family. My mom was a teacher specializing in early childhood education but she is really good in art and craft and she did music. My father was not so much into the craft but he encouraged it. I had family members who did music on an international level so we were always around artistic persons. I started at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts where I did eight years of classical guitar and then studied Dance Education. I am a trained dance educator.

I have to give my mom much credit because she encouraged us to do what we were passionate about and if we (my brother & I) were interested in something she believe that you should at least try to see if it was something we were interested in. I think the manager impact of the upbringing we had was always to acknowledge the opportunities we got do our best and make sure you weren’t putting anyone down and always always be true to yourself.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?

I started out as just a hobby and want to make extra pocket money while in college. Back then I didn’t know that it would evolve into what it is now. I started creating bracelets and earrings by using recycled materials or repairing jewelry for persons. I know couldn’t afford to buy anything much and I did not want to pressure my mom anymore as she was paying for college and it was not easy as she became a single mom.

In college, I used seed beads and created a lot of rasta-themed jewelry I also did crochet items back then. After graduating College I got a job as a dance teacher at a prep school and I did less but still made items for myself because I wanted to have my jewelry different and match my energy. I also started doing DIY projects and I was getting a bit of attention but still didn’t take it seriously because I was a dance teacher.

I did some pieces for this coworker and from there I started getting customers. I started looking into short courses that would help in honing my skills and that is where I start a metal finishing course at Jamaica Business Development Corporation. I did a jewelry-making course specializing in using brass and copper. I created wind chimes and jewelry then I was able to do a big show in december where I got some contracts and it took off from there.

I get a lot of questions about the name Kuchuments, mostly what it means and why I used the name. So you can see where it comes from and the means so let me go on to tell you why. When I was a kid growing up when we got summer or Christmas holidays I usually visited my grandmother in the country (rural area), Town pickney (child), going to the country was always the best summer for me because I am around so many of my cousins and life was just so different. There were so many of us as kids in the little house sleeping on one bed. Those were the days!!! So my brother and I would go in the house dropped off our bags and just run to our grandmother and do all the meet and greet! When she was done carrying us around the district to tell her friends her grandchildren come to visit. We were too tired after the tour and meeting everyone we forgot to pack away our things. This is our grandmother at the top of her voice. “Unnu town pickney just come left unnu bagga Kuchuments all over di place so.” Or it would be “unnu come tek up unnu Kuchuments before I clap unnu little town rump.” Of course, before that sentence ended, you bead to make sure your Kuchuments was nowhere in sight! To us as kids, our Kuchuments was our little treasures like books, toys, and games we took with us for our long summer stays with our grandmother and cousins. For reference here though Kuchuments is your very own piece of treasure handmade just for you made with a story from Jamaican Culture.

I can’t stay it is easy and to be honest, I am still learning how to navigate in this new normal. I am grateful though because my foundation customers are right there with me. While going through this all I have learned that no matter what anyone says your voice is your last say. There will always be a place for you even if there are 50 persons doing the same business, none of those 50 people does it as you do, and most importantly be your authentic self.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
To be honest, I am not really a city girl, I love the country. Seeing that I am now in Ocho Rios let me tell you what I have done so far and want to do also Dunn’s River Falls is a must
River Tubing
Konoko Falls
Shaw Park Botanical Gardens
Fern Gully (really kool place to drive through)
To Eat: Evita’s Italian Restaurant
Margaritaville Ocho Rios
Plantation Smoke House
Stush in the Bush
Ocho Rios Jerk Centre

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?

Most definitely. I want to Shout out to My Mom as she has been my main support in all of this, she has always believed in my dreams also she helps in creating some of the items we create at Kuchuments. I want to also shout out Danielle McNish who is my best friend and abundance/Yoga coach. She is always there to remind me of my centre and also where I am coming from. My Twin Twin Teisha Duncan also my best friend and Main Cheerleader, always sends me words of wisdom especially just dominating as a Beautiful Black Woman. Sujannie Allen always with words of encouragement. My circle is small but just right.

I want to Shoutout Jamaica Business Development Corporation for always accommodating with training and the craft incubator when space is needed to create.

Website: https://kuchumentsonline.company.site

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kuchumentsonline/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kuchuments/?notif_id=1635287150459592&notif_t=page_user_activity&ref=notif

Image Credits
All photos were taken by myself.

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.