Meet Marivic, a textile designer taking inspiration from the traditional T’nalak cloth to create unique weaves and colorations that infuse modern sensibilities into this handwoven T’iboli staple. Marivic’s fabrics are internationally sought after by designers and interior decorators alike.
T’nalak is a traditional cloth found in Mindanao island made by people in Lake Sebu,called T’bolis, This traditional cloth is hand-woven of Abaca fibers and traditionally has three primary colors, red, black and the original color of the Abaca leaves. The colors are naturally dyed, boiled in with bark, roots and leaves of plants. The intricate patterns of the Tinalak are believed to be seen by the “Dream Weavers” in their dreams. They can’t create a T’nalak design if it hasn’t been dreamed.
The T’nalak fabric holds a prominent place in T’boli culture, present in significant turning points, such as birth, marriage, and death. The T’bolis expressed everything in the T’nalak: their dreams, beliefs, myths and even their religion. Making use of the various geometrical patterns and the trademark red, black and white colors, the T’bolis weave the natural and the supernatural in the abaca strands of the T’nalak. After a weaver reaches a certain degree of expertise, she becomes a “master weaver” – someone who can interpret and take inspiration from dreams. By all accounts, this seems to be an intense personal experience for the weaver, and the moment she succeeds in doing this is the moment she becomes an artist.
Making the t’nalak is a skill that young T’boli women learn through their mothers and grandmothers. Most of the existing weavers today come from a generation of t’nalak weavers that go back to their ancestors. Initially, the young T’boli women are introduced to the process by assisting. As they progress, they move on to the dyeing, weaving and tying of the knots. It can take one to five years of constant practice for a T’boli woman to fully learn the full process of the t’nalak.
This morning I hit the American Women’s Club Bazaar with Bea’s Mom, Pamels. the AWCP is an organization of expat women from both American and other nationalities, residing in the Philippines. The Club promotes and fosters American cultural values in its activities while celebrating the diversity of an international community.Proceeds benefit local Philippine charities. This monthly bazaar takes place at the SM Mall of Asia. With over 300 vendors showcasing textiles, jewelry, food, fashion and home products, I found some “must haves”…capiz ornaments for your holiday tree, coconut bowls with capiz interiors and carabao horn serving pieces…love them!!
It’s a family affair at the studio Valdes, with Bea taking the design reigns, Marga overseeing marketing and operations and Mom handling logistics. The studio was a beehive of activity with the finishing touches being added to Bea’s unique creations. Federico has already selected his pieces for the upcoming showcase and I wanted to add a special collection for the store. I joined Bea and Marga in the conference room to discuss the direction for the store collection and then headed down to the archives to get the creative juices flowing. Mixed metals, chains unique draping and sculptural techniques are what’s catching my eye for fall. Bea’s creations are unlike any other designer I’ve come across. Many of her pieces are unique one of a kind statement pieces. You have an artisstic treasure when you have a handbag or necklace designed by Bea Valdes . We are thrilled to have her work featured at AsiaStore this fall!
Follow AsiaStore’s Chief Merchandising Officer Anne Godshall as she scouts out the latest designs in Asia.
We were on the move at 7:30 in search of treasure. First stop Quiapo Market, not a luxurious place for sure, but we did unearth some wonderful finds….Mother of Pearl and shell boxes, shell coasters, shell bangles, fabulous lacquered stones and of course capiz…mini tea lights that will be perfect for the holidays! From there we hit all the destination shops carrying beautifully made indigenous handicraft: Kultura, Tesoros and Balikbayan where we spotted a great hand woven floor mat for the exhibition set…had to have it! Check out a few of our favorite things…
Next stop GreenHills Shopping Center in the city of San Juan . With over 2,000 stores, GreenHills is a destination shopping environment in a unique indoor/outdoor setting. Our first stop is for pearls…aisles and aisles of pearl vendors, but my host knows the best ones to barter with. We select a delicate 4 pearl lariat on a silver plated chain, a 48″ chain accented with 20 freshwater pearls and a braided freshwater pearl and crystal necklace on a modern cord. We negotiate hard and come away with prices that will be perfect for your holiday gift giving needs!! On to the home section. Our first find is this petal fan in a rainbow of colors, followed by fabulous shell coasters and trivets and beautiful palm sized MOP shells, perfect for tapas!
Today I met Ditta in her boutique to finalize her collection for the fall opening. We decided on a lovely mix of leather and abel fabric the traditional woven fabric of Vigan and the Ilocos region made from yarns of cotton or sagut that are sourced from northern Luzon. Dita has combined the abel fabric with a buttery soft leather for a unique and distinctive look. To compliment the abel fabric Ditta uses her signature Pina fabric with leather accents. Horn rings and necklaces complete the collection…stunning!!
I am up early and off to the Legazpi Market, also know as the “organic market”. Despite a heavy emphasis on food and grocery items one can find some interesting craft including home accents, fashion, accessories and novelties. Two of my favorite things included thes
e fun floor mats and the beautiful shell tassels.. I’ve talked to the suppliers, checked out the prices and found that both suppliers will be participating in the American Women’s Bazaar on Tuesday. This Bazaar is held once a month and will feature a wider array of craftsman and artisans, so I think we’re going to hold off making our purchases til then.
I joined Pamela Valdes (Bea’s Mom!) for an Old Manila walking tour….3 extraordinary hours of sampling the culinary delicacies of Manila’s Chinatown! We navigated the intimate alleys of Biondo, taking in Tsinoy history and gorging on Chinatown’s specialty treats. With 5 tasting stops and 1 snack sampling we feasted on Filipino spring style rolls, oyster omelettes, spicy chicken, pork jerky, friend pork chops, pork and chive dumplings, mango pearls, salted egg buns, sesame candy and more! But a word of caution, stay away from the duck tougue!!
Did you know that Town & Country declared Wynn Wynn Ong a style maker? That didn’t surprise us at all as Wynn is one of our most admired AsiaStore designers. We are proud to showcase her collection at AsiaStore and had the privilege of visiting her Manila based studio to see her latest creations, inspired by the Philippine Gold exhibition. The theme is built around black and gold and features handwoven silver and copper scarves plated in gold, exquisite hand sculpted clutches and a breathtaking collection of necklaces, earrings and cuffs all produced using the lost wax technique. Once again, we are awed by Wynn’s talent.