Mae is an economics major-turned-fashion designer who has a passion for the environment.  She’s found creative ways of making beautiful and functional items out of the things around her, and will be giving a workshop on how to upcycle shirts into a new wardrobe at CraftMNL this December!  Caught your attention?  You can sign up here.

How long have you been crafting? What got you started?
My “crafting disposition” became apparent when I was about 6 years old. Among my earliest craft creations would be the bracelets and necklaces I laced together for myself.

What’s your favorite medium? Why?
I would now have to say fabric. Because I trained in clothing design, and now have too much fabric in storage. Fabric is the self-imposed favorite medium, until I make something out of at least 50% of my fabric stock.

Tell us about your favorite projects.
The ones I am currently doing – The Wear of Needs project ( and another project that is still untitled – because they are taking me places and challenging me every step of the way. Another favorite project would be… the workshop with CraftMNL… Surprise, surprise!

A sneak peek into Mae’s holiday collection.

What’s the one crafting skill you’ve always wanted to master/learn?
Before, the thought of sewing, sewing by hand, intimidated me. I regarded it as a skill that wasn’t for me – it did not match my disposition, etc. Plus it’s seen by some as a lowly type of skill. Well, the past year found me in a situation that forced me to take up hand sewing in a major way. To say that I’ve gotten the hang of it would be an understatement.

Now, I regard the works I created through hand sewing as medals. The process has evolved to become something therapeutic, and, when I’m lucky, something soulful.

What are you currently working on?
Apart from the works already mentioned above, I’ve also just finished a Holiday capsule collection. And taking up a professional development design class via Coursera.

Mae’s Eco-Statement Shirt

What’s your dream project? What have you done to make it happen so far?
The Wear of Needs project is a dream project. I have been fortunate enough to get it started in Kuala Lumpur with the help of House of Matahati. I spent almost a month there for that. It’s only the beginning, still need much work, time, and luck to pull it off.

Aside from crafting what else do you do?
I write, make clothes, and make art.

How does creativity influence the other areas in your life?
Honestly, at times I feel the other areas adjust a lot so that I could nurture creativity.

Mae with local kids in India, finishing a banner made with scrap fabrics.

Any advice for other aspiring crafters?
Go for it, start ASAP, and hopefully when the time comes, you’d ready for the tough challenge … of answering Yelle’s Craft MNL profile questionnaire.

What do you do to beat a ‘creative block’?
I rest or sleep, break it down to a list of tasks, and go at it one at a time.

Give us 3 crafting essentials you must have in your toolbox at all times.
Scissors. A safety pin. Pen or pencil.

A bag from an old shirt!

Why should people get their hands busy (and start crafting)?
Crafting is a grounding experience. In contrast to the many virtual worlds we inhabit, crafting nurtures our often neglected senses like smell and touch.

Where can we find your work?