North to South finds at MaArte at the Pen

We are definitely feeling the -berrr season early up in Baguio with temps ranging from 16° to 19°C. As September approaches, bazaar and shopping season will be back in full swing after a two-year pause.

I received an invitation to the MaArte Fair last weekend at Peninsula Manila from my Cebuana friend, Maybelline Te of Mayk, a home accessory brand. Maybelline is one of long-time friends from college where we were members of the student organization AIESEC.

Holicow collaboration with Kalibutan Project Bamboo napkin rings from Cebu and Negros.

It was gratifying to see the crowds who came to shop and support despite the long car queue that snaked all the way to Makati Avenue and longer waiting time in the elevators. This year, MaArte: Celebrating the Filipino Creative Soul showcased a variety of some of the country’s pride — craftsmen, artists, established and up-and-coming designers and purveyors of interesting finds.

Multicolor crazy cut shagreen tissue box from Mayk.

First was Siegrid Bangyay’s ceramic pieces from Sagada. Siegrid is a member of the Applai Kankanaey indigenous group from Sagada, Mt. Province and was trained by Archie Stapleton, an American master potter. She has a prolific body of work for the last 20 years with local Sagada clay, Lumiang and Agdan, which are her discoveries.

Siegrid Bangyay’s ceramic art pieces from Sagada.

She pioneered the integration of bamboo and woven rattan elements with stoneware pottery and teaches at the Sagada Pottery Training Center.

Cebu was represented by furniture manufacturer and interior designer Maybelline Te’s home accessory line Mayk, which complements her furniture and fit-out work for local and global clients. Known for working with different materials and her tasteful sensibilities, she focused on classic giftable shagreen and shell boxes for this curation set against Federico Elizalde’s Bayang Magiling in Acrylic Aluchrome, 2019, 4 x 4’.

Charger plate in off cut stone inlay and woven bamboo skin from Cebu and Bohol communities.

Her natural soap line, Çabon de Cebu, loosely inspired by the olfactory map of Cebu, was a crowd pleaser. It was her cheap and cheerful artisanal pandemic project.

Holicow (Holistic Coalition of the Willing) is a group of designers, manufacturers, and crafters mostly based in the Visayas, who passionate about sustainability. They launched pieces for their community project called Kalibutan Project.

This is initiative by Region 7, Department of Trade and Industry, with support from the Design Center of the Philippines, and the participation of small craft businesses across four provinces in the region led by creative director, Debbie Palao and design director, Mark Deutsch of Happy Garaje.

Cafe City Club by Marvin Cunanan created the “Mabuhay Gift Shop” merchandise based on the concept of a hotel gift shop. It was inspired by a vintage ad of Manila Peninsula in the 1980s, and his clever take was a wonderful mix of classic and nostalgic pieces from T-shirts, candles, matchsticks, comb, hair product, and scents.

Another dear friend, Luis Espiritu, introduced us to the Lakat Sustainable Sneakers by Michael and Banj Claparols who work extensively with Negros weavers and materials. The 2022 collection is made of ethically produced materials from Negros. The insoles are water repellant handwoven pineapple and cotton fibers and outsoles are made of rubber farmed in Mindanao. The fun colors are achieved by using eco-friendly azo-free dyes that absorb faster thereby reducing water consumption.

There was much to see but here are a mix of highlights from different talented designers and craftsmen. Can’t wait to visit ArteFino next!

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