Fabulation: Duality of Simplicity

All creation always starts from something simple.

Like a camote…carved and cut.  Some would even consider it negligible.  Many would just pass by.

Or like abaca…stripped into fibers.  Who would have seen that when the glint of the sun hits it, the fine thread actually glows golden?

Jaded eyes see the natural as cheap and tribal and the abundance as insignificant.  “It has always been there,” would be its slogan.  It takes a fish-out-of-water experience to see that simple is not dull nor backwards.

It can be…but it doesn’t have to be.1

2Simplicity is the seed of a dream.  A line…a circle…a thread…

But knowing the story of the fabric gives direction in bringing that surreal concept to life.

A single strand of abaca fiber is delicately handmade into thread.  Each strand is then woven into a tapestry of natural and dye-colored abaca fibers.  A single loom produces a 21m length fabric.  Each loom must have two thousand threads for the warping process which would take about a day.  Then the loom would be fed with individual strands through 3 processes called the eye, the reed and the pulling.  Another two thousand threads are needed for the processes plus a maximum of three days to set up.   Then comes the picture that’s usually etched in our minds when it comes to weaving: the horizontal weaving process.  The abaca strands are threaded through the set-up and compressed into desired patterns.  A weaver in average produces a meter and a half in a day.

True grit waters the seed.  Because it takes two years for an abaca plant before it can be harvested.  Then it would take 6 trunks of the plant to produce 15m of the woven fabric. Gentle hands must painstakingly weave when temperatures rise during midday to keep the thread from snapping.  And in the original context of T’boli weaving, dyeing the threads would take 2 weeks since the process is done filament by filament.  Producing this luxurious fabric takes a lot of meticulous love work!3And according to fabric visionary and Cebu Interlace CEO, Francis Dravigny, the digital is simply a tool to create the dream; Imagination is king!

Through the two day Fabulation workshop, Mr. Dravigny showed budding creators how possible it is to be creative inside yet not discover it.

And how creating can be as easy as one, two and three…

One,5Two,6Three,7“Even with the basic things, you can create amazing…new products.  Something you have to explain.  Something you have to sell.  For me, I don’t only sell the fabric.  I sell the Filipino and I sell their story besides that, which is very important.”
-Francis Dravigny

The Philippines is a treasure trove of raw materials.  And for around twenty years, Mr. Dravigny’s passion has been almost adamant in getting the message across that we have a gem in our hands—a hoard in fact!  And that we are capable of creating something out of the seemingly nothing.

For two days, a process of discovery was begun.  The seeds of a dream—no matter how ethereal—was activated with the imagination of the mind.

Scenes of busy hands sewing, twisting, gluing and cutting in an attempt to make tangible expressions became commonplace.  And from the woven abaca fabric came countless new explorations.  At the end of the day, abaca was no longer just abaca.  Design is not just about creating new things, but taking the old and breathing new life into it.  It’s about learning how things, fabrics in this case, began. And how it could be remade and reworked to suit the needs and trends of the future.  Change is after all the one constant thing for all time.  There is and will always be a need to change with the epochs—from simple to sophisticated; from basics to the classics.

Thus, the fabulous art of fabric manipulation can really be summed up in one word…


FABULATION was an event put together by ECCP Cebu in partnership with Cebu Interlace.  Loom woven abaca fabrics from Cebu Interlace Corporation were used in the metamorphosed creations.  The fabrics are woven in their Cebu factory and sold internationally.

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Presenting for the first time, the metamorphosed creations:

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