It was time for another getaway and just a couple of days after our Natural Dyeing Seminar/Workshop at PTRI, we travelled to San Pablo, Laguna to join in the festivities at Patis Tito Garden Cafe where they had the so-called “Embroidery Exchange.” Patis Tesoro thought of having this event in her cafe after visiting the embroiderers last December 2015.
As mentioned in Patis Tito’s Facebook page, this embroidery exchange is the first ever collaborative encounter between the Tinggians of Namarabar, Peñarrubia, Abra and the embroiderers of Lumban, Laguna. This was held last February 20 and 21, 2016. I saw this as an opportunity to personally interact with the embroideries to see and experience their work.
For every mystery solved, another mystery shows up. The study of textiles and how it is made is what started this journey—a journey to uncover how Filipinos made textile in the past and present. Not less than a year ago I wove my first fabric using commercial polyester yarns. After experiencing weaving in May 2015—an extremely laborious, meticulous and meditative task—I entertained the possibility of using natural yarn as a material. This was made possible when one of my design entries became a finalist in the 53rd Japan Fashion Design Contest. In October 2015, in collaboration with the Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI), I managed to finish my first textile design using the fibers cotton and abaca. And now I am exploring the use of cotton and silk. Before I only got to use black dye for my textile, this time I hope to explore more dyes. Another pandora’s box just opened.
For this month’s adventures and misadventures, I knocked on the door of our local textile institute once again so that I may learn the secrets of Natural Dyeing. They were gracious enough to accommodate my request. Through PTRI we learned how to extract and apply natural dyes on natural fibers.
Despite my busy schedule I managed to squeeze in this little project commissioned to me by Director Celia Elumba of the Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI). I was asked to create seven miniature dresses on miniature dress forms that will be given as tokens to the guest speakers of TELA Nation Conference. When I learned that I will be using handwoven cloth I agreed to take on the project without second thoughts.
Finally, I get to work with some of PTRI’s collection of handwoven fabrics. These are all experimental textiles, if I am not mistaken. And they are fabulous!
I worked with natural fibers and some blends. Cotton, silk, banana, pineapple and abaca where just some of the fibers used. I particularly loved the openweaves and double weaves that created layers of unusual textures. Looking at them up close and touching them gave me so much inspiration.
As I was preparing for my next textile project I received an invitation from the Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to participate in the “TELA Nation” Conference. This was held last January 28, 2016, at the DOST Executive Lounge from 9am to 5pm.
I remember the first time I attended a PTRI conference. It was about 3 years ago (June 2013) when Ms. Virmila Alvarez, who is a former specialist in PTRI, invited me to attend. If not for her invitation, I would have zero knowledge and appreciation for traditional textiles and local natural fibers.