When super typhoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) tore through Leyte and Samar last year, displacing tens of thousands of people, three high-school friends decided to establish Abre Linea Inc., a social enterprise that aims to create a sustainable livelihood for the region’s weaving communities affected by the disaster.
After rehabilitating the weaving towns of Basey in Samar and Tanauan, San Miguel and Alangalang in Leyte, Abre Linea Inc. funded the harvest of ticog grass used for weaving, and gave the community, not loaned, down payments for commissioned handcrafted items.
The results are artisanal bags and clutches, each carefully handcrafted, which will be among the selected, museum-quality items for sale during this year’s Proudly MaARTe on Aug. 29-31 at the Rockwell Tent (next to Power Plant Mall), Rockwell Drive cor. Estrella Street, Makati.
“We want to create a market for artisanal products, so we’re constantly searching for sustainable projects that have a potential to level up,” said Cedie Lopez-Vargas, member of the MaARTe organizing committee and director of the Lopez Museum and Library.
MaARTe is an exhibition and sale that highlights the creativity of Filipino artisans.
This year, Vargas curates 50 artisan groups, a healthy mix of returning and new vendors, for yet another memorable cultural shopping experience. Shoppers can expect to find jewelry, pottery, textiles, home accessories, furniture, food, clothes and bags.
There’s Marsse, whose sustainable timber furniture will feature trays, wine racks and tequila shot sets made of Honduras mahogany, teakwood, molave, gmelina and other hardwood trees. The 125,000 trees, mostly Honduras mahogany, are planted each year in a 60-hectare property in Umingan, Pangasinan.
Employing a “no-wood wasted” policy, these items are made from branches, scraps and stumps—bit and pieces that were, in the past, turned into sustainable charcoal until its owners found a more creative expression. Each is painstakingly hand-sanded and treated with extra virgin olive oil for a smooth, silky finish.
Also joining is Cornerstone Pottery Farm from Silang, Cavite. Managed by ceramic engineer EJ Espiritu, Cornerstone Pottery will present organic designs of handcrafted ceramics, many of which play on textures.
A large bowl, for example, is made of clay with bronze finish, which not only makes the bowl more resistant to breakage, but gives it a natural sheen and texture. Espiritu’s glaze formulas do not contain heavy metals like lead or cadmium so all items are safe to use in the house.
Jewelry designer Tim Tam Ong is returning this year after her sold out exhibit last year. This time she’s coming up with an exclusive jewelry line for MaARTe. There’s the lovely carabao horn bracelet, best worn in threes; and earrings and rings made of silver dipped in gold, with emeralds, sapphires, amethyst and other stones sourced locally and abroad.
Al Valenciano’s Balay ni Atong will once again grace the bazaar, presenting the beautiful Ilocos fabric Inabel and silks with geometric patterns, as well as the charming and whimsical terra-cotta figure vignettes of An Alcantara, the pottery of Joey de Castro, and Adante Leyesa’s jewelry.
“We always have to be introducing something new to keep things exciting. When we started out five years ago we realized there was a vibe for artisanal crafts. We want to constantly remain relevant to these communities in terms of developmental activities and of pushing the envelop for artisanal crafts,” Vargas said.
Also expected to join are Freeway with its National Artist Collectors’ Series, and Beatriz Accessories with its colorful accessories and bags designed in sculptural detail by local craftsmen.
To be featured are handpainted interior accents such as throw pillows and bedsheets by Art of Gold Enterprise Inc., hand embroidered and handwoven clothes, bags and accessories by Amarie, handcrafted candles made of beewax and organic essences by FäE, and bespoke heritage fans (abanicos) from Monchet Y Cia.
Also on exhibit: Munequita’s baby and children’s clothes made of 100 percent combed cotton and Old World glamour, handcarved cameos from Riqueza.
Part of the proceeds of Proudly MaARTe will fund the projects of the National Museum. Contact tel. 4041685 or 6979509 for more details.