Following its success during the October 2011 show, Manila FAME’s Creation Stations carries on this March, once again presenting live demonstrations of Filipino craft forms and showcasing traditional techniques demonstrated by artisans from Taal, Pakil, Zamboanga Del Sur, and Davao City.
As you enter the SMX Convention Center, the four stations can be found along the Hall entrances, instantly catching the eye of show on-goers. Each area is filled with displays of their craft with some artisans garb in colorful traditional wear as they demonstrate the skills involved in their craft. The artisans were eager to entertain their audience and welcomed curious on-lookers with warms smiles, beckoning closer and some even proffering small hand-made tokens.
Under the theme Craft Revival, this month’s Creations Stations highlight four Filipino craft forms:
Calado, the long tradition of hand embroidery in Taal, Batangas
This form of embroidery, influenced by Spanish occupation centuries ago, is achieved through a painstaking process executed by bordadoras (embroiderers) creating design on fine cloths of pina or jusi. When making the Calado designs on a fabric, be it tablecloth, placemat, or curtains, it usually takes a month or so depending on the design and scale of the project. Before Calado is done on the material, designs are embroidered usually floral and filigree-like. The actual process of Calado first involves pulling threads from the cloth, a step called Bakbak, then sewing them to form clean holes on the cloth.
Wood Shaving of Pakil, Laguna: A Whittler’s Art
Whittlers use knives of various thicknesses and lengths to shave soft wood, transforming the shavings into filigreed fans, peacocks, butterflies, birds, flowers, and other designs of various shapes and sizes. Most woods used for shaving are Cayatana, Matang-araw, and Malasanti. Whittlers use fresh wood in lieu of dry wood as it’s easier to manipulate into different shapes and are not brittle.
Mat Weavers from the Maguindanao community of Zamboanga del Sur
The Maguindanaos use seagrass in weaving their mats in the colors of red, green, and blue. The mats have different patterns: Siko siko means “liko” and looks like zigzags on the mats with each row in different colors, Mantapunay means “mata” with the pattern looking like eyes, Kumala means “briliante” which are diamond patterns also in different colors.
Beadworkers from the Bagobo community of Davao
The Bagobo’s clothes are usually decorated with multi-colored beads over the woven patterns on the cloth. The beads create splendid decorations and designs which are also incorporated on the head pieces, belts, and woven abaca bags. Like most of the crafts featured at the Creation Stations, bead working takes months to complete as the miniscule, colorful beads are hand-sewn onto the clothes often accompanied by small bells.