AsiaStore Blog - Designers

AsiaStore Designers Give Back: Carol Cassidy

AsiaStore is home to some of the most talented and creative designers across all of Asia. Many buyers know of the amazing work done by these designers in their field of craftsmanship, but few know of the amazing work done by these designers to serve the community and the environment. At AsiaStore, we want to show our customers all the great work our designers are doing to help the environment, or those in need.

 

Among the designers that give back to their communities is Carol Cassidy, who is well known for her hand woven textiles. Did you know, however, that Cassidy’s work goes above and beyond creating beautiful textiles, to working with organizations to help disadvantaged people around the world? Here’s what you need to know!

 

Carol Cassidy

 

Cassidy began her charity work in 1982 with the organization CARE, which helps underprivileged people around the world. During her time with CARE, she worked on their Small Scale Industry Project in Lesotho. Her position on this project was a technical advisor to rural women who had husbands working in the mines. In Lesotho, they had mohair goats and the women used the hair of these goats to create yarn. Cassidy’s jobs were to work with the design of the spinning wheel, developing yarn types and styles, and to run the dye house that gave color to the mohair yarn that the women created. The goal of this project was to be able to provide women with a skill that could help them improve their income.

 

Following her time with CARE, Cassidy went on to become a UN expert to continue to find ways to help traditional artisans use their skills to improve their income. Cassidy also spent a year from 1986-1987 working with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife in Zimbabwe through their CAMPFIRE program. She has spent decades helping and advising traditional artisans and she stated, “All these efforts go towards the goal of preserving valuable, indigenous knowledge.”

 

For the past two years, Cassidy has been advising a local NGO in Meghalaya, India. The goal of this organization is to help increase the production of Eri silk, preserve rare weaving methods, and find ways to help rural artisans to gain some income from their handspun and natural-dyed products. She also continues to work with Weaves of Cambodia, which she began in 1999. She is still designing and supporting their production and Weaves silk has been sold at AsiaStore since 2000. All of the sales brought in from these designs go towards supporting and sustaining Weaves.

 

As for her own company, she has employed a generation of professional Lao women weavers. Not only does Cassidy’s company pay professional wages, they also offer paid maternity leave, pension benefits and medical benefits. Her company just celebrated their 25th year in 2015 and is proud to have helped her staff be able to educate their children, improve their health and their standard of living as a whole. A portion of the proceeds made from her designs sold at AsiaStore go towards sustaining this business model of excellence.

 

On May 21, 2016 from 12:00 pm-3:30 pm, Carol Cassidy will be at AsiaStore showcasing her work at the Carol Cassidy Laotian Textiles event. During this event, Cassidy will also be selling and signing her book Weaving Tradition.  

 

The Power of Labradorite by AsiaStore designer Mickey Lynn

STONE SERIES: LABRADORITE

WE NATURALLY HAVE A SMOOTH FLOW OF ENERGY WITHIN THE BODY, MIND AND SPIRIT. WHETHER WE REALIZE IT OR NOT, WE COMMUNICATE OUR IDEAS, BELIEFS, AND EMOTIONS OUT INTO THE WORLD. IS IT POSSIBLE TO MAINTAIN A NATURALLY POSITIVE FLOW OF ENERGY THROUGHOUT THE DAY, IN AND OUT OF DAILY ROUTINES? WE THINK SO. MEET LABRADORITE.

ABOVE:  PHASIC THREADER EARRINGS FEATURING LABRADORITE.

THIS GORGEOUS STONE, MAINLY SHIMMERING IN MYSTICAL SHADES OF BLUE, IS KNOWN TO GIVE ENERGY TO THE PERSON HOLDING OR WEARING IT. LABRADORITE IS THE MOST POWERFUL PROTECTOR OF THE MINERAL KINGDOM, CREATING A SHIELDING FORCE THROUGHOUT NATURAL ENERGIES FROM WITHIN. WEARING LABRADORITE CAN HELP PROTECT AGAINST NEGATIVITY AND PROVIDES EXPLORATION INTO ALTERNATE LEVELS OF SENSE OF SELF AND CONSCIOUSNESS.

OUR ALL-NATURAL JEWELRY DESIGNS ARE FOUNDED STRONGLY ON POSITIVE ENERGIES AND LIGHTS, WITH EACH PIECE CARRYING OUT THE CORE ESSENCE OF THE EARTH’S BEAUTIES. THIS STONE’S PROPERTIES ARE CAPABLE OF FORTIFYING INTUITION, CREATIVE EXPRESSION AND IMAGINATION, AND BALANCING YOUR CALMNESS AND STRENGTH OF WILL.

Shop Mickey Lynn’s Collection at  http://asiastore.org/designer-page/mickey-lynn/

Season of Japan Exhibition

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Tonight kicks off Asia Society’s Season of Japan where AsiaStore is excited to present the collections of talented Japanese designers Mieko Mintz, Ayaka Nishi, Hatsumi Yoshida, Yuh Okano and Ann Chikahisa, along with product features by Karen Brocks and Rafael Colon. Each of these artists brings unique and exciting designs to the Season of Japan.

miekoMieko Mintz brings a unique flare to traditional Japanese designs. Meiko’s designs range from silk             Japanese kimonos, to Indonesian batiks and Indian sari kanthas. Each piece she creates incorporates both vintage and modern elements making every design a one of a kind creation.

 

 

 

ayakaAyaka Nishi, a new designer to AsiaStore, showcases her exquisite handmade jewelry. Each piece she creates is undoubtedly a work of art inspired by flora and wildlife, which was a big part of her upbringing in Kagoshima.

 

 

 

hatsumiHatsumi Yoshida another new AsiaStore designer, was born and raised in Japan, and then relocated to Bali, which is a main inspiration in her designs. All of her textiles are organic as well as masterly crafted to ensure that each piece has its own special flare.

 

 

 

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Yuh Okano has quite a way with her fiber techniques and handcrafting abilities, creating pieces that are detailed as well as three-dimensional. Her beautiful inspiration comes from not simply from nature, but the organic shapes that appear within nature.

 

 

 

ann cAnn Chikahisa is another artist who draws exquisite inspiration from nature. Her handcrafted pieces of jewelry illuminate the beauty of stone and metal collaborating to create organic shapes and natural themes within her jewelry.

 

 

 

Karen-Brock-new-headshot-300x300rafaelWhile Karen Brock and Rafael Colon may not be Japanese, their spirits are in the east. Karen Brock showcases her vintage kimono quilts and Rafael Colon introduces street art turned fine art in the form of hand painted skateboards.

 

 

With all this new talent at AsiaStore, this is a shopping experience you won’t want to miss. The Season of Japan Exhibition begins Tuesday, February 9 2016 and comes to an end Sunday, May 8 2016 giving you plenty of time to stop by and browse. For more information be sure to visit http://asiasociety.org/season-japan-events .

Filipino Designer Sale Event: Rafe Totengco

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Last Thursday, we had a Filipino designer sale event featuring the amazing Rafe Totengco. Rafe always surprises us with his fathomless creativity. Customers were in love with his sophisticated yet edgy shell minaudieres.

Here’s a brief interview we carried out during the event:

AsiaStore: When and how did you realize that you have a talent in designing?
Rafe: I’ve been drawing since I was a very young boy. I sketched before I could even speak, so I think it was sort of inevitable for me to end up doing something creative, and designing accessories was just another outlet for my creativity.

AsiaStore: Tell me about how your Filipino-American background influenced and inspired your current collection.
Rafe: Even though your background and upbringing definitely shape you, it doesn’t necessarily specifically influence one collection or another. It really reflects my own personal history and my own personal taste. So it’s not necessarily like being Filipino influences this collection, but it’s much more the fact that the collection is proudly made in the Philippines, utilizing raw materials from the Philippines.

AsiaStore: What is your design philosophy?
Rafe: I think my design philosophy is really to create things that are going to be classics, things that you are going to want to own and pass on as keepsakes. I want to design pieces that are iconic so that when you wear them, you feel really happy that they are specially hand-crafted, and not owned by a lot of people. My pieces are painstakingly time-consuming to make, so I don’t produce a lot of them. As a result, they are sort of limited-editions.

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AsiaStore: What does it mean to you to have your designs sold at AsiaStore at the Asia Society?
Rafe: It’s a great compliment and I am very proud that I am included in a wonderfully curated location, and to be included in a really fantastic roster of Asian or Asian American designers.


Thank you all for supporting and attending the event! Stay tuned for more great designer events this Fall season! SHOP Rafe’s collection at: http://asiastore.org/designer-page/rafe/

Filipino Designer Sale Event: Bea Valdes

Last Wednesday, we had a Filipino designer sale event featuring Bea Valdes. Bea showed up with her family and they were all dressed to impress! Not only did many loyal AsiaStore shoppers showed up, many of her long-time fans or Instagram followers came to support the event as well! Bea charmed us all with her smile and style, and her inspirational speech about her design philosophy.

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Overall, the designer event was a great success and we had so much fun with everyone. Thank you to all who came and supported us. For more photos, check out our Facebook photo album.

Al Valenciano for Balay ni Atong

Balay-ni-AtongA20150813_092518_resized craft, a business and a social enterprise, artist Al Valenciano has intertwined these endeavors in his “inabel” projects enabling 65 men and women support their families from weaving the textiles that have been produced in the Ilocos region since the 16th century.  ‘Biag ni Lam-ang’ has many references to inabel. It was traded as clothes, blanket and sails for boats… An accomplished lady then was someone who wove inabel. The inabel is part of life of the Ilocanos,” says Al.

The artisans weave the textiles right in their homes, using old wooden looms, with production limited to only 200 pieces each year. Fine textiles with beautiful designs in lively organic dye colors…check out a few of our selections.

 

 

Marivic’s Modern T’nalak

M20150812_164202_resizedeet 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.

Maricris Floirendo-Brias’ T’nalak Cloth

Meet M20150811_173007_resizedaricris Brias and learn about the cloth she is committed to preserving and promoting.

T’n20150811_175908_resizedalak 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.

The studio of Bea Valdes

20150811_114154_resized20150811_122029_resized20150811_114507_resized20150811_113903_resizedIt’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!

Ditta Sandico

TodIMG_6530ay 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 IMG_6528distinctive look. To compliment the abel  fabric Ditta uses her signature Pina fabric with leather accents. Horn rings and necklaces complete the collection…stunning!!