Column: Onion Seed Series: Darius Richardson

November 16, 2023 | 0 Comments

[Written by Dale Butler]

Darius Richardson is a Bermudian who has had numerous work experiences in a short space of time where he has been able to shine and grow with every experience. He is only 56 and his career list is impressive:

  • At age 9 his mason apprenticeship came to an end when his father died. But the desire for building remained in his veins.
  • His dream of going to Robert Crawford to become a tradesman like his father, however, did not materialize when his mother sent him to The Berkeley Institute. He was very angry about this.
  • At age 18 he joined The Royal Bermuda Regiment
  • Busboy at Mermaid Beach Club
  • Worked at Bierman’s: Block Plant
  • Gorham’s Lumber Yard & Aluminum Shop
  • Island Glass Limited
  • English Sports Shop – truck driver by age 25
  • At age 14 he started playing drums at The Berkeley Institute, and while working at Island Glass Limited he met Bermudian drummer Colin Harvey [Bermuda Strollers] who got him his first gig with the legendary Bryan Butterfield. Musicians Tony Cox and Denton Leader were also instrumental in his growth.
  • Started to freelance with the Bermuda Strollers
  • Performed with the late Edwin “Doc” Simons [saxophone] and Cyril Richardson [piano].
  • Played with Max Maybury, Paradise, Black Family Band and in Church
  • Driver for the Bermuda Department of Corrections
  • Has volunteered with Teen Services, St. John Ambulance [Bermuda] and served on the Bermuda Road Safety Council.
  • Became an Emergency Medical Technician [EMT] and Domestic Violence Facilitator after he made a big change in his life from anger to service.
  • A deacon at his church who is not afraid to share his religious beliefs

Darius Richardson Bermuda Nov 15 2023

At the age of 56, he has accomplished all of the foregoing and adds craftsman to his belt of careers in his carpentry workshop.

When you talk to him, you get a genuine feeling that he has a deep spiritual relationship and feels blessed by God to have developed his talents in everything he currently undertakes.

In 2021, Darius quit EMT and commenced working at the Village Carpentry, Pembroke East. The workshop was originally the headquarters of the late master craftsman George Trott, who was succeeded by Jeremy Johnson. Today, Mr. Richardson works with another gifted and talented craftsman: Clarence Benjamin Lee.

In 2020, in the spirit of Black History Month, the City of Hamilton unveiled a bronze plaque to honour the contribution made to the construction of the City Hall by master carver George Trott, who had established the original Village Craft Shop in 1935 and acquired a sterling reputation for his repertoire of skills. Here is just a sample of his signature works:

  • The two chandeliers in the City Hall foyer designed by William Harrington
  • A pair of Chippendale chairs, commissioned by Government House, given to Prince Charles and Lady Diana as a wedding gift.
  • A beautiful cedar dining table and additional cedar work throughout Camden House in the Bermuda Botanical Gardens.
  • Numerous cedar items for sale to locals and tourists: mailboxes, walking sticks, bowls and bookmarks, etc.

Unfortunately, between 1946 and 1953, a blight decimated 95 percent of Bermuda’s cedar forests, leaving remnants in its wake for craftsmen to use. Darius has also taken a liking to Bermuda cedar and is aware that it’s unfashionable with young people, but remains a treasure for those over 50.

In recent years, he has created some awesome items using crates: pallet bars, a padding around a television, wine racks, benches, and chairs. With followers on Facebook, including myself, it is no surprise that his stage design for the highly acclaimed Bermuda production og ‘Sarafina,’ the Broadway musical hit written and directed by Dr. Mbongeni Ngema, received much praise.

Darius isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. He instructs a young apprentice a few days a week. Also, he is making plans to have displays of his work. His very talented wife, Jerry Dee Richardson, also assists him with business decisions and will add her works to the display. Darius has already started to lengthen his list of signature works with the refurbishment of cedar doors and building creative coffins with Antoine Hunt.

The workshop is still open and orders are encouraged by calling the sister of Jeremy Johnson, Sonia Holder, at 333-1367, emailing, or visiting the website.

Darius Richardson is living in the legacy of Messrs. Trott, Johnson and Lee, and many outstanding Bermuda craftsmen, from one end of the island to the other. He is ‘minding the onion seed.’

- Dale Butler is pleased to offer a series of “Mind the Onion Seed” articles as we head towards the 45th anniversary of the book in 2024. Written by the late Nellie E. Musson, he believes that the current problems which Bermuda is facing is a result of the fact that we have failed to “Mind the Onion Seed”. NB: The onion seed used in this logo was created out of Bermuda cedar at the Village Craft Shop.

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