In a Quiapo sidewalk near the church, Consolacion Dimen sorts out bottles that she makes into Christmas lanterns, and sells for P100 each.
These do not look like the recycling projects one might expect from a school kid. Each is unique and artistically mature, with innovative patterns dependent on the recyclable trash dumped on her and whatever else she finds.
It is amazing that without an artist’s background, without attending any workshop, with no blueprints, patterns, or books, Googling or surfing, and without much cash outlay, she manages to come up with the most amazing designs by piecing plastic together, using galvanized wire and pliers.
She uses caps of various colors, bottle bottoms and trimmings of different sizes, soda straws and whatever she finds on the streets. They all become Yuletide lanterns.
With her gray hair, Consolacion is nearly a senior now, but dresses like a hip teenager—
shorts over tights, and a loose sleeveless shirt over a black tube blouse. She says her inspirations come from God; the lanterns, for example, were inspired while she was praying to the Nazareno inside the church while she was on volunteer duty.
A rosary that she made from neon beads and wore is also noteworthy and unique, each bead wrapped with more beads like the planet Saturn. She says some of her rosary designs have already been brought abroad.
The lanterns being seasonal, Dimen, as she is known around Quiapo, also sells cell phone load, folding fans, calendars, posters, face towels and handkerchiefs for a living. —CONTRIBUTED