Shopping on Tortola: Aragorn’s Studio
It all started with a T-shirt. Back in 1985, British Virgin Islands artist Dick Aragorn-Read began selling a line of silk-screened Ts in a rainbow of sun-washed colors emblazoned with images of marine life. Decades later, his venture has grown into a thriving Trellis Bay souvenir store and art studio that sells a bounty of crafty covetables from artisans from all over the Caribbean, as well as Dick’s own copper sculptures and signature steel fire balls.
Best of all, it’s just a five-minute walk from the airport on Beef Island, so you can squeeze in some last-minute retailing before your flight out.
Bequia artist Jacob Scott makes baskets, vessels and hats from recycled beach rope. Each is hand-sewn and can take months to create.
These goat skin and white cedar drums are by Dominican Bongo Moon. He's also Dick's assistant, and will be happy to demonstrate his drumming skills if you ask.
Aragorn's also has a ceramics annex where potters Debbie and Liz design and make wheel-thrown, food-safe kitchenware. Who wouldn't love these "happy bowls?"
These ceramic raku fireballs are miniature versions of the metal one that is set alight during Aragorn's famous full-moon parties.
You can also buy Tortola rum made at The Callwood Distillery in Cane Garden Bay.
If you're feeling flush, splurge on one of Dick's copper pieces, which start at $300 and go all the way up to $15,000. (A large metal fireball, perfect for your own full moon festivities, will set you back $30,000)
And, of course, you can't leave without picking up one of the T-shirts that started it all.