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Filipino artisans get creative

Brass and steel wine holder by Seagull Glass. Photo by Richard A. Reyes

Publication Date : 05-09-2012


More than 40 jewellers, fashion and home accessory designers, and cultural entrepreneurs gathered at the recently concluded sale and exhibition fair titled “MaArte 2012: Artisans Fair” at the North Court and archaeology Annex of the PowerPlant Mall, Rockwell centre in Makati, Metro Manila.

A project of the Museum Foundation of the Phils., “MaArte 2012” made one-of-a-kind, artisanal products from around the country accessible to the public. Headlining the furniture and home accessories was interior and furniture designer Eric Paras’ A-11 Furniture Gallery that exhibited its brand line, Industria.

“Industria is a brand we export. We’re exhibiting here right now so that Filipinos can have a chance to see and buy this collection,” Paras said.

It also showcased some of Paras’ designs, such as lamps with marble shades, cabinets and woodcarvings, in neutral colours like brown, white and grey. Although he favours clean lines in his designs, Paras is not a minimalist. Texture takes prominence in most of his works, as he mixes found objects and salvaged material into his designs.

Another artist who likes to mix different elements in his work is glass sculptor Bobby Castillo, owner and designer of Seagull Glass Works, founded 24 years ago. Castillo’s out-of-box design philosophy had him combining glass with metal, wood, acrylic plastic, resin, stone, marble, granite, rubber and even pressed flowers.

Asian inspirations

Employing a 3,500-year-old glass design technique called klinforming that involves moulding the glass at over 800 degrees Celsius, Castillo said he takes his inspiration from observing people. His Asian Hat Series glass lamps, for instance, featuring glass shades resembling the conical hats found in Vietnam, Cambodia, China and even in the Philippines, convey similarities in Asian cultures.

Another sculptor who uses a kiln is artist Joey Castro, who exhibited his pottery art. Castro, who enrolled in a pottery class 10 years ago when he needed pots for his plants, now teaches at his own school called Sierra Madre Pottery Studio and Gallery.

From decorative and functional large plates and vases to small paperweights and bowls, Castro’s design is playful. An 8-kg plate, for instance, bears the peace sign in dark blue.

“This is actually an art form that’s very physical to execute. You handle and trim and move things around, like an 8-kg lump clay. It’s like lifting weights. This is my gym, my strength-training, my marathon, my hobby, my passion, my livelihood,” he said, laughing.

Other exhibitors included Monteville’s decorative storage, Casa Kyla’s linen, Zentiments’ tableware, Bungalow 300’s furniture and home accessories, and Philippine Treasure’s tabletop decors.


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