These Filipina Creatives Designed Their Own Banig Laptop Sleeves
Bananas, mountains, and fiestas - what do all of these have in common? They all served as inspiration for designs that now adorn the banig laptop sleeves of three Filipino creatives.
When we launched the Woven Together Banig Design Contest last year, we didn't know what to expect from our online community. The goal was simply to connect traditional Filipino artisans with artists around the world. So we were so happy to see the entries made by different creatives who were passionate about uplifting Filipino crafts. In the end, we only had to choose three (it was a tough call, believe us!) and these belonged to Audrelene Paez (Grand Prize), Jemima Almirañez (1st Runner-Up), and Jamie Naval (2nd Runner-Up).
Since it's Women's Month and all the winners are Filipinas we admire, we thought it would be a good idea to shine the spotlight on them and their works of heart so you can get to know them too.
Bananas on Banig: A Toy-Maker's Fun and Fruity Design
We went bananas over this laptop sleeve! We've tried fruits on banig before but the 3D rendering and the layout by fashion designer-turned-founder Jamie Naval really stood out. We also felt that it would inspire the weavers to think of what other everyday stuff they can reproduce on their mats. True enough, the artisan who made the sleeve was delighted by the pattern.
Want to know what's her inspiration behind it?
"Just like the Banana, it is the heart that makes us the same…. woven together. Its color reflects optimism and positivity. Wherever you go, you’ll find a Banana that will remind you of home. I chose the Banana as it reminded me of all the times that I was homesick when I was studying. I will just buy a banana from the convenience store to remind me of home."
As the founder of a sustainable and handmade toy-brand for kids (check out @thetentwentykids!), Jamie wants to contribute in securing a healthier and greener earth for future generations. Through crafting eco-toys, the Chief Toy-Maker hopes to promote sustainable mindsets to children and provide a stable source of livelihood to underprivileged women in the community.
In her line of work, Jamie faces challenges like dealing with a lot of textile scraps. But she was able to overcome this by working with artisans who are open to reclaiming fabric scraps.
When asked for some tips and words of encouragement for other (aspiring) Filipino artists, she said: "Use what you have and use it to uplift others. You can start where you are. Stop waiting for things to get better. As Marie Forleo said, ‘the world needs that special gift that only you have.’”
The Process and Progress of an Interior Designer
When Jemima Almirañez was in 1st year college, her jury in Design 1 told her about putting her design on a specific surface like banig to signify its locality and craft. Years later, she found herself following through on that suggestion after a lot of trial and error. "My entry was inspired by the quote 'progress is not linear' — but it is something to be proud of, because at the end of the day, you still made it," she said.
Many of our designs are inspired by nature. We thought this design takes that even further, by making good use of empty space and the texture of the banig to give us a portrait that looks as much a mountain range as it could be waves in the sea.
As a designer, Jemima has always been fascinated by beautiful sceneries and how people behave and respond to their surroundings. So she looked for a program that tackles both space and user. This led her to Interior Design. For Jemima, it was like a butterfly-in-the-stomach feeling every time she was able to help people with spatial issues. This inspired her to continuously create unique solutions through design, drawing up technical plans to elevate the idea and concept.
When asked about what advocacy she communicates through her arts, she told us that she has always been curious and enthusiastic with the indigenous groups of our country. Recently, she was able to work with the Ayta indigenous group for her thesis. It became her way to advocate for the inclusion of the IPs when it comes to decision-making in their own spaces (and how it could be culturally relevant for them).
"Up until now, the field of arts and design is still downplayed even though most of what people see, listen to, and use is connected to it," she said.
As an art student, she struggled with wanting to be unique amidst the fast-paced evolution of trends; there were times when she felt like she was only copying what she found visually pleasing. It somehow made her dishonor her progress as a growing individual. Fortunately, she overcame them by allowing ideas to flow through and work it out along the way. Through this, the idea of just copying is set aside and her identity as a designer and/or creator is prioritized.
"Up until now, the field of arts and design is still downplayed even though most of what people see, listen to, and use is connected to it," she said. She realized that people would never fully understand why this work is vital to society unless they are inconvenienced by unprecedented events that require help from professionals in the said field. Her message for aspiring artists and designers? "Our craft has since then been used as a tool to communicate and express. Until it is equally valued in all terms, do not stop in creating, the field needs you."
A Tribute to Philippine Fiestas, A Celebration of Our Culture
To anyone who misses the joyful frenzy of the fiesta, this design is for you. With COVID-19 pandemic changing the way people celebrate festivals and other occasions, Audrelene Paez’s eye-popping design reminded us of the fun we had dancing and celebrating with people. An instant fave among all the judges, it won the Grand Prize in the #WovenTogetherPH Banig Design Contest 2021. We love the concept that inspired the design and it translated beautifully into a kaleidoscopic pattern that looks great on a laptop sleeve.
"Think of lively parades, delicious food, upbeat music, celebrations, feasts, and much more! All of these contribute to one of the cultures here in the Philippines— the Fiesta."
Fiesta is her inspiration for this entry as it is also one of the most awaited events of every Filipino. Despite the pandemic and the tough situation we are currently in, some families continue this tradition and celebrate inside their homes. It is true that Filipinos seem to be inherently optimistic and tend to find alternative ways on how to cope.
Audrelene is a graphic designer and she has been in this field for four years. Her penchant for arts and design carried well into adulthood. She knew back then that this is what she would enjoy doing because no two days are the same.
She's a curious creative and she sees beyond the surface of things, comfortable in looking at minute details and stepping back to appreciate the big picture.
As an advocate of Philippine culture, she believes Filipinas can also express confidence and positivity through design. We are all shaped by our experiences – the tradition, the movies we see, books we read, conversations we have, and music we listen to. "There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish," she said.
She also shared that she's an introvert. So as an artist, the challenges she faces are getting herself out there and keeping with her craft. There are times when she just doesn't feel like sharing her work with anyone. Although she tries not to indulge in social media, she uses the platform to conquer these challenges and listen to her inner voice to get through the process.
When asked what tips or encouragement she can give to aspiring artists, she said that the perfect moment will never arrive and the best time to start something is now. “Therefore, begin.”