In search of what to do with what we have
My recent trip to Cagayan de Oro yielded the discovery of this book, published by the Bureau of Domestic Trade under the Department of Trade and Industry. A truckload of thanks to Rhyan Casino of Dire Husi–who not only accompanied me to different craft sources and enterprises, but who also got me on the trail with DTI by introducing me to Ms. Judi (who dug up this book for me).
Flipping through the pages of this 2005 publication, I was beyond thrilled, as it not only had documentation of different raw materials, it also had a list of suppliers in its annexes! Upon further research on the DTI website, I learned that this was supposed to be an annual publication, and from 2005 to 2009, 4 editions were produced, covering loomweaving to furniture and furnishings to seashells to water hyacinth.
As a crafter and designer, I’d go nuts with all of this information, together with of course access to the materials. Knowledge of these materials given to designers would not only boost creativity and product innovation, but increase the demand for the materials themselves, which hopefully would trickle to fulfill the picture of skilled communities engaged in sustainable livelihoods.
One of our goals for the Craft MNL project is to make this knowledge of local materials (and then later on, traditional and modern craft techniques) available in such a way that the knowledge is not only accessible, but that creatives (even children!) are engaged with the material–creating new uses, new forms, taking from old techniques, and infusing products with modern design. Learning from traditional techniques allows us to experience the richness of our culture, and to appreciate the production of our local crafts.
The trip to Mindanao has given a name to the knowledge component of the Craft MNL project–Crafting PHL! 🙂 By getting to know traditional craft all around the Philippines, and learning more about the raw materials available, we not only produce Philippine craft, but craft (in the sense of creating) our country through creativity and industry, paying homage to the skill and artistry of our ancestors and fellow countrymen (and women).
Time to set that meeting with DTI (among other things on my to-do list). 🙂 Exciting times.