A Weekend with Filipina Embroiderers at Patis Tito’s Embroidery Exchange

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.

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TELA Nation: Revitalizing the Fiber and Textile Industry in the Philippines

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 was also invited to exhibit my entry entitled “Di-Matinag” (Indestructible), finalist for the 53rd Japan Fashion Design contest. It was a perfect venue to display the entry since it was promoted alongside the recent textile developments of PTRI’s engineers and scientists.


DOST-PTRI exhibit of textiles and fibers with master weaver Josie Garlitos and designer Jean A. Dee
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.

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Di-Matinag: One Step Forward

During my flight on the way to Japan last October 7, I wrote a litany of thank yous to every person and institution that supported an idea first sketched on paper. Now, I finally find time to post it.

Truth of the matter is, no matter how brilliant an idea may be, it all boils down to execution. Often this part has always caused me a tremendous amount of frustration. However, the timing and the support of a various people had been ideal. These sparked a fire that lit a path that was once too dark to walk through.

After almost three months of hard work I finally realized the idea that was just a vision in my head. It has gone through many revisions and has evolved from a mere concept to an actually wearable ensemble that finally walked the runway in Sugino Hall in Tokyo last October 10, 2015.

This is how it looked:


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The Precedent of Cloth: Baskets and Mats (FITE Part 4 of 6)

Basket making is the first form of weaving, said Robert Lane ‎owner of Silahis Arts and Artifacts Inc..

Robert Lane casually lecturing.
Robert Lane casually lecturing.

Man began to twist dried leaves together to form rope. By coiling or interlacing these fibers they eventually formed what we call baskets. Baskets by definition are lightweight containers used to hold or carry things many times its original weight. These are typically made from any interwoven strips and Philippine baskets are usually made from wood or plant fibers like pandan, rattan, nito and bamboo.

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The Fine Art of Piña with Patis Tesoro (FITE: Part 3 of 6)

Patis Tesoro, the “Grand Dame of Philippine Fashion” is an advocate of piña (pineapple) and other indigenous materials held a talk in the afternoon of July 8, 2015 at FITE in the Metropolitan Museum of Manila. She made a brief yet eye-opening presentation on how piña fabric is made.

Patis Tesoro on the Process of Weaving
Patis Tesoro ready to tell the story of the process of Piña. On her table are actual handwoven Piña pieces she designed.

I already knew before I attended her talk that piña was really difficult to make. Having done weaving myself I realize how time consuming it is to prepare the warp, the loom and weave. It took me almost five days to finish a scarf and I just used commercial polyester threads. With yarns like silk and piña, the task is probably ten times more difficult.

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Basket Weaving: Project Jellyfish with Ueno Masao (FITE: Part 2 of 6)

The first workshop offered by The International Festival of Extraordinary Textiles or FITE was facilitated by Ueno Masao, a Japanese artist who creates bamboo sculptures through weaving.

Mr. Ueno Masao with his artwork entitled Dragon Ball showcased at Lecoq Park Clermont-Ferrand France in September 2012 Photo borrowed from the Facebook page of International Festival of Extra Ordinary Textiles (FITE) in Manila

When I attended the 2-day session, I really didn’t know what I was getting into. I was a last-minute participant during the first day and when I arrived I was handed a strip of circular bamboo to work on. Continue reading

The Last Yard: Designing Weave and Color Mixing

After a few weeks, I finally got the time to go back to PTRI to use the remaining warp I had for my basic weaving session. But instead of doing another shawl, I decided to experiment with it. I manipulated the last 3 inches of warp and re-drew the yarns from the heddles. I note down the new sequence in my notebook. This is an experiment after all and any happy accidents are worth remembering. 🙂 As I reach the end of my warp, here you will see the last yard I wove. You will notice that the pattern changes per section as I change the treadle (or pedal) sequence.

From bottom to top treadle sequence: plain weave, twill weave (2 treadles at a time), twill weave (single treadle), Basket weave for the last 2.

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Designing Weaves: How hard can it be?

Basic Weaving - Weaving
I’ve been working on a project which requires me to use indigenous materials, particularly abaca. The colors are beautiful really, but I can’t feel but a little limited with the options given to me. Whenever we’d ask for a possible alteration of the combinations or a change in choice of yarns, we’ll be told that it will take a long time to make and this for me is just very frustrating. So it hit me. How do you design these materials? How hard could it really be? So this summer, I learned how to weave.  And weaving changed me in so many ways. Five days. Two trainors. A 15.5” x 80″ piece of cloth. And boy, it wasn’t very hard. It wasn’t very simple either. But it DEMANDS a lot of patience. But the result, EXTREME JOY! Here’s a quick synopsis of my work in progress during my 5-day workshop.
First day: Lecture + calculation of yarn requirements + warp preparation 

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