Come see how a select group of men and women keep the traditional art of weaving alive.
The cottage industry of Abel Cloth weaving is highly regarded the world over. There are only a few surviving abel weavers today since the craft was passed on from generation to generation. There was a time when during the Galleon Trade Era that the demand for the hand-woven cloth threatened the production of Spanish weaving industry. But now only a few families are in the business and this has proved to be quite profitable for them also. Since they supply both local and international demand for the study and intricately made pieces. I am from a nearby province and I had no inkling that the bags, blankets, place mats, table runners were all made here. I spoke to the owner of the weaving shop that I went to and he related to me how his family started in the business six generations ago. Up on his display cases he had plaques recognizing his contribution to local culture through the propagation of his family business.
I was expecting an army of old ladies working the hand loom but instead I found an old man who was creating a light colored cloth with a modern look instead of the traditional Ifugao pattern. He told me it was going to be turned into a pillowcase afterward. The intricate process used to involve harvesting cotton and dying them separately and laying them out precisely to come out with the designed patter. Now since the cotton fields of Ilocos have all but vanished the material is sourced from a supplier back in Manila. The foot-treadle loom they used requires both hands and feet to move in sync. Hopefully, this surviving cultural craft can adapt and move with the times just as well
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