Christmas is still five months away, but early shoppers are already anticipating the MaArte fair for well-made gift items.
This is the seventh time the event is being staged. The Rockwell Tent from Aug. 28-30 will house over 70 artisans and manufacturers who were chosen based on the quality and concept of their wares.
A dozen food stalls selling everything, from sinfully dense brownies (Bucky’s) to cashew butter (Nipa Foods), will line the covered walkway beside the tent leading to the mall.
Cedie Vargas of the Museum Foundation and the Lopez Museum told Inquirer Lifestyle that she and her team always go through the previous year’s list with the intention of “refreshing” it.
“We’re obliged to introduce new designers and artisans to keep things interesting. There are so many other groups holding similar events so we need to distinguish ourselves,” she said.
This year, there are new products to be sold, including bags from GREAT Women and paper products from Postscript Designs. GREAT Women or “Gender Responsive Economic Action for the Transformation” of Women aims to empower women artisans, in particular the Subanen weavers and Bagobo beaders from Zamboanga and Davao.
Zarah Juan of Greenleaf Eco Bags worked with these artisans, choosing designs and incorporating them in the canvas bags with leather handles. The collection consists of zippered totes and structured handbags with the right amount of woven fabrics. Other products include tissue holders in a new, non-boxy shape.
“We also worked with the Tint boutique in Greenbelt to come up with basic shift dresses with beaded trim made by the Bagobo women,” Juan said.
Michelle Quizon of Postscript Designs said she is doing brisk business selling printed paper products like notecards, gift tags and wrapping paper.
“Our best-selling product is personalized wrapping paper. Customers place orders for a hundred sheets; they must be very generous gift givers,” she said.
Considering that the wholesale price per sheet is P39, even Quizon was initially surprised that there are people who spend almost P4,000 for wrapping paper alone.
At MaArte, she will sell wrapping paper with gift tags in ready-to-give boxes of 10 at P580 each. Designs include watercolor swirls and dainty hand-drawn kitchen implements.
Another participant is The Olive Tree, which will sell oversized throw pillow covers and linen table napkins with intricate, pintado-inspired designs. The best thing about the items? They’re all machine-washable.
Joining again is Abre, a livelihood-driven social enterprise that was put up last year by Marie Joy Yu and Anna Victoria Veloso-Tuazon to help communities in Leyte and Samar affected by Supertyphoon “Yolanda.” Their bags, floor mats and nesting stools of woven ticog grass might be more expensive than similar items, but the level of workmanship involved is obvious; the designs and colorways are fresh and modern.
An Mercado-Alcantara of Casa San Pablo will sell new clay figures from her Storyteller collection. The highlight is her venture into glazed ceramic storyteller bud vases and tealight holders, done with her friend and mentor, potter Ugu Bigyan.
Other products worth checking out include the woven fabrics from Angie’s Yakan Cloth, the printed jusi material from Barong Batik, the hand-painted dresses and jewelry by Tim Tam Ong, the glass cake stands and serving platters from Statement
Theory, and the embroidered tunics, tops and dresses from
Twenty percent of the proceeds of the three-day event will fund the Museum Foundation and its projects.
PHOTOS BY ALANAH TORRALBA