Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Sustaining Hand-loom Weaving in Iloilo

weaver in Barangay Cagbang, Oton, Iloilo

In the small weaving barangays of Miagao, Igbaras, Oton, Badiangan and Duenas in Iloilo, there are plenty of awe-inspiring histories of loom-weaving that is so important to preserve and help pass on this knowledge of the skill.

weaver in Barangay Sta. Barbara, Igbaras, Iloilo
Weaving is a tedious process that requires a great deal of concentration from the weaver. It is very labour intensive craft that starts with careful planning of colour matching, warping, beaming, hedding, reeding, tie-in, spooling then the weaving process.  Our weavers have learnt their weaving skills from their more experienced elders.

There is a scarcity of weavers today.  Most young women, whose predecessors had hand-weave for a living, are no longer interested in weaving as it is thought to be time-consuming and boring. Some have stopped because they moved to other places hoping to land a better job.

weaver in Barangay Cabayugan, Badiangan, Iloilo

The art of hand-weaving may one day diminish if our younger generation is no longer interested in it. It is crucial to find ways of educating especially the younger generation and to innovate the process of weaving from traditional patterns and colours to contemporary ones so that more interesting products can be produced to cater for today’s market.

weaver in Barangay Indag-an, Miagao, Iloilo

In order to address and solve the issues and challenges faced by the current local weaving industry, it is important to think of various approaches to value-add and innovate our local fabrics to broaden its usage to cater for today’s local and international market demand. In view of these problems, the Provincial Tourism Office with SM City Iloilo has chosen to direct its efforts on hand-loom weaving as its local heritage to preserve and promote aside from improve the livelihood of local weavers through an annual project, the Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair. 

weaver in Barangay Indag-an, Miagao, Iloilo

The event decided to focus on producing contemporary hand-woven textiles to cater for a broader market. Unlike the old days where hand-loomed fabrics were considered prized possessions and were only worn by the elite and their families. Today, it is mostly worn as evening pieces for festive occasions and formal functions. Our local fabrics the Patadyong, Hablon and Polyabaca have been transformed into apparel, fashion accessories such as handbags as well as home products such as place mats, cushions, table runners and gift items such as shawls.

daily selling of hand-loomed fabrics from weaving communities in Iloilo
Organized in 2008, the Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair is aimed at giving a voice to the traditional, hand-loomed fabrics of Iloilo. The annual event has given our women weavers the opportunity to show their strength, talent and pride in ways they never thought possible. The event started working with women artisans from the weaving towns of Miagao, Oton, Badiangan, Duenas and Igbaras who hand-make beautiful textiles and allows them to take their wares to the mall so they can be sold sustainably.

hablon, patadyong, polyabaca textiles are sold daily during the event

Sustainability is our primary objective.  Since 2008, the event had supported the local weaving communities in Iloilo. Wooden looms and threads had been handed out to beneficiaries to help them develop more economic opportunities, specifically for women who are entirely dependent on their partners’ income.

shawls, bags, etc. made from handwoven textiles on sale

The Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair believes in the importance of preserving and promoting our local culture and heritage through improving the livelihoods of artisans, raising awareness on Ilonggo heritage and its artisans, making heritage relevant and contemporary through design and innovation, and developing new markets via new ways of branding and marketing Ilonggo heritage products.

wooden loom with daily weaving demonstration on display

The Provincial Tourism Office and SM City Iloilo with the municipalities of Miagao, Oton, Badiangan, Duenas and Igbaras, ISAT University, DTI and the Daily Guardian will celebrate the 9th Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair on August 3-7, 2016 at the event center of SM City Iloilo.

The annual Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair ensures that this tradition will continue to be practiced for generations to come. For more information, please contact the Provincial Tourism Office at (033) 3384910.

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