Okay, so when you take the view from that perspective, that’s a pretty daunting task. Especially considering how vibrant and growing the handmade scene is in the country. It may not seem that way at first glance, but once you weigh in how ingrained the handcrafted is in our culture, together with the emerging breed of creative entrepreneurs, then you’ve got a colorful tapestry of the old and the new scattered all over our over seven thousand islands (sounds rather quaint and yet grand at the same time, doesn’t it?).

Craft MNL is dedicated to innovating the handcrafted culture in the country by bringing together artisans, designers, materials and techniques to various media and resources, easily accessible to anyone who wants to learn a little more about what you can do with whatever’s around you–spanning function and utility to pure creative expression. We call this specific aspect the Crafting PHL project–extending the reach to the entire country, while at the same time crafting, so to speak, innovation in design, knowledge bases of the old and the new, and connecting artisans, designers and materials experts into areas of collective creativity and collaboration.

We start with a series of vignettes featuring these persons who serve as nodes in our local handcrafted ecosystem. As we get to know them and the stories behind the work of their hands, perhaps we can begin to see the tapestry take shape.

And since almost every entry on Craft MNL (well, there aren’t a lot to begin with) have something to do with palm leaves and palm leaf art, who else to feature but Elmer Nocheseda, our singular resource on the various woven, twined, folded and bent formations of leaves? With our abundant leafy resources, we think it’s a good place to start.  Check out the video below and meet the man behind the (woven) palm leaves.

Palm Leaf Art – Elmer Nocheseda from Craft MNL on Vimeo.

As I wrote in an earlier entry, Elmer documented around twenty of these palm leaf art forms from around the Philippines into a book entitled Palaspas, published by the Ateneo de Manila University Press.  You can read an article on the book here.