If somebody asked me years ago if I was a crafter, I would have said yes, or that I was trying.
It’s due to a fascination for do-it-yourself (DIY) stuff—from making friendship bracelets in high school, to designing costumes and coming up with ingenious gift-wrapping ideas.
After experiencing Craft Camp PH, though, I feel I’m not worthy.
Imagine being taught by some of the country’s most talented crafters.
Alessandra Lanot is a designer and blogger who paints and writes with watercolor and ink, as if the brushes were an extension of her own self.
Mansy Abesamis is a paper cut artist who creates visual tales through her work. She is also behind arts and crafts online shop and washi tape heaven heykessy.com.
Magazine editor Macy Alcaraz takes journaling to a different level with creative, hand-drawn entries on journals with do-it-yourself handmade details. She also bakes mean cookies.
Born to a family of artists, bakers and crafters, Mikko Sumulong is a firm believer in the “why buy when you can DIY” philosophy. She runs iTryDIY.com, an online DIY supplies shop.
Aside from being a wife, mother and crafter, Nica Cosio also conducts workshops for @craftpartyph.
These five talented women are the people behind Craft Camp PH, founded in 2013. This year’s Craft Camp was held from Oct. 17 to 18 at Urbiz Garden, a beach house and resort in San Juan, La Union.
Living in Metro Manila has been exhausting lately. Vehicular traffic and the daily commute just add to work-related stress. There was a need to steal some peace and quiet somewhere else. A weekend getaway was definitely on my agenda, and the invitation to join Craft Camp PH came at the right time.
It was nearly 4 a.m. when we arrived in La Union. We had a few hours to sleep in a cabana before the day officially started. Breakfast was served at 7 a.m., consisting of Pinoy favorites: eggs, longganisa, tocino, dried fish and fried rice.
Participants were given complimentary Havaianas flip-flops to wear during the weekend and a tote bag to store their goodies. All materials needed for the workshops were provided.
The organizers talked about how they enjoyed eating while doing crafts, and how they wanted to share the experience. Not surprisingly, while quite a few were still having coffee and catching their last few bites, Cosio began her orientation for the first workshop: Fabric Banner Making.
Canvas, textile paint, textile pens and masking tape were used for this activity. We were asked to think of our mantra for the weekend and use it as our inspiration for the banner.
Fabric banner-making required a bit of freehand drawing skills, which I unfortunately did not possess. Thankfully, I was in the mood to play with splashes of color, and my banner didn’t turn out a total disaster.
The Shibori Beach Blanket workshop was conducted over lunch by Abesamis. Shibori is a Japanese technique of tie-dyeing fabrics in different shapes. We were taught how to create the basic accordion and spherical patterns.
After lunch, we folded the canvas fabric, inserted wooden tiles and sticks and bound them together using rubber bands. We took turns immersing our bound creations in indigo dye, and hung them on a clothesline to dry.
In between workshops and sumptuous meals were craft demos. Lanot’s botanical doodles showed her natural talent for painting and calligraphy, while Abesamis’ intricate paper cut samples were made with fine detail.
There were also collaboration art pieces that campers were encouraged to try, such as stencil art and weaving, as well as a haiku station and a rubber stamping station.
Lanot held her Watercolor Crafts workshop later in the afternoon. For this activity we were encouraged to paint patterns inspired by our surroundings, and since we were in a beach resort, similar figures recurred: the shapes of leaves, flowers, the sun and waves.
As the wind was getting stronger due to an anticipated typhoon, S’mores and Music Night didn’t push through.
Two workshops were slated for Sunday. The first one was supposed to be Journal Writing By the Beach, but because of the bad weather, it had to be held indoors. Over breakfast, each camper was given a set of DMC thread, needle and two small journal notebooks.
Alcaraz told us about her journey through journaling—how she started with creative Filofax entries in high school, moved to online journals and eventually reverted to more personalized handmade journals. It was the journal-making that we were supposed to learn.
This workshop was reminiscent of Home Economics embroidery projects in school, except that we stitched our designs on notebook covers. Then we were asked to create the actual journal entries.
We were encouraged to write, draw and even paint with the watercolor set provided during Lanot’s workshop the day before.
During the break, Cosio demonstrated how to make rubber stamps using normal rubber eraser blocks. She even personalized samples for the campers, using their names and initials as inspiration for the designs.
The Handwoven Twiggy Necklace-Making workshop was the last crafting activity. Sumulong, the facilitator, created little zines with step-by-step instructions. She also demonstrated each step using paracords, which can be used as alternative materials for making bracelets.
Much to our delight, we were given a set of DMC thread in 22 colors. I thought this activity would be a walk in the park, given that I made a lot of friendship bracelets as a kid.
The Twiggy necklace had a relatively complicated pattern and required more focus and patience to make.
Considering the comfy accommodations and tasty meals, and the materials and freebies, it’s easy to say that Craft Camp Ph was a worthwhile and pleasurable experience.
It was a different kind of vacation—relaxing while getting your creative juices flowing over a weekend designed for people who are seriously into handmade crafts and DIY projects.