Mutya ng Telili (Lady of Mt. Telili) (2007)

12 04 2010

This design won 2nd place at the Fiesta Nationwide Needlecraft Competition 2007 organized by Anchor (Coats) and the Needlecraft Association of the Philippines. The winning entries will be exhibited on May 16 for a whole week. I will upload photos of the other winning entries later after the exhibit.

Finished after 215 Hours. Size: 38cm x 47cm on 28ct natural linen. Fertility Belt is over one thread. I used Anchor threads specifically for the contest. I used chalk beads and metallic gold thread for the accessories.

As I was starting to embroider, I changed the design of the necklace and added bracelets. I also added anklets to both feet. I used cut sequins as glass mirrors on the headdress. On the lower right side is my signature. This was my first finished project in 2007.

I grew up watching dances of this ethnic tribe during festivals. Mount Telili is one of the higher grounds around Lake Sebu, the home of the T’bolis and the pineapple, represents Dole Philippines, which has started to operate about 15 years ago, causing the T’bolis to start leaving their ancestral homes. The T’bolis are the original inhabitants of the area. They are now being civilized (also evangelized into Christianity) and their culture is slowly disappearing.

Here is my work area now. I have actual costumes to inspire me.

These are just one of costumes which are in my collection. I have 3 of such beadwoven belts and a very heavy one made of brass. The malong (tubular cloth or sari) is just one of the many designs the tribe has. Part of the cross-stitched embroidered blouse is shown in the picture. Each blouse is unique.

Handarbeit / Stickerei in Berlin, Deutschland.


“Heiwa” 平和 Handkerchief

10 01 2010

Sampler of buttonhole scalloped edges, pulled work lace, needle lace stitches and damask patterns on pineapple-silk fabric

Started: September 23, 2009

Finished: December 3, 2009

Number of Hours: 79 hours

Cotton/Polyester sewing thread from Ikea on Pineapple fiber-silk handwoven fabric from the Heritage Arts and Crafts, Philippines.

This is my entry to the joint project of the German Embroidery Guild and the Lace Guild, the competition “Fadenkreuz” in 2010.  The theme is to combine embroidery with handmade lace, either embroidered or pillow lace (bobbin lace).

Heiwa is the japanese word for peace. The worn-out, old WWII  japanese army helmet symbolizes peace, which we experience when there are no wars.  Japanese soldiers brutally killed many innocent Filipinos during the WW2.  The handkerchief  symbolizes the tears of pains and loss that were shed by loved ones.  In the Philippines, the legend of the  pineapple teaches children to refrain from pretending not to see truthfully. A bad girl named Pina met an accident, because she kept pretending not to see what her mother asks of her. On the earth where her body lie, a strange plant with many eyes grew. The people named the plant after Pina, and called it “Pinya”.  The pineapple´s eyes symbolizes seeing truth and knowledge. I planted a pineapple on the helmet, because it means we should see the truth behind wars, and know that peace is what the world needs.  Heiwa Hankerchief is a message of peace, and this I kept in mind while stitching this project.

I painstakingly embroidered various stitches using polyester thread on a very special and rare fabric made of silk warps and of pineapple fibers wefts from the leaves of Red Spanish variety pineapples, and handwoven in Aklan Island, Philippines.

here is the first draft with the details and instructions:


The finalized Design, corners reduced to one design and scallops are chosen. Ink on silk paper, stitched directly on the natural pineapple-silk fabric. It will be destroyed during the stitching. No duplicate. I forgot to reproduce the original. hmmm

Heiwa final design

The first WIP photo. I am quite satisfied. I am learning a lot regarding techniques. I have never done this so fine embroidery. My eyes are like bleeding!!!

a. stitch outlines as accurate as possible, fill padded areas with stitches, finish the detailed leafworks and eyelets

b. stitch the ajour or drawn work laces

c. cover all outlines with  either buttonhole or overcast stitches

Heiwa Sept 26, 2009 After 7hrs

Heiwa Sept 26, 2009 After 7hrs

(Update October 18, 2009)

I seem to unconsciously like ajour or pulled work and cutwork better than other techniques I have tried so far. I am thinking of filling the whole background with samples of pulled work stitches. But then wouldn´t it be too much? Here is another photo of my slow progress…

Heiwa Oct. 18, 2009 After 27 hours

Heiwa Oct. 18, 2009 After 27 hours

I decided to use Needle lace stitches to the leaves instead of repeating some damask pattern stitches. Here is my latest progress:

Heiwa Nov. 4, 2009 After 41hours

Nov. 18, 2009 Update: Starting the pineapple, the leaves almost finished, all silk paper are removed and the handkerchief is transferred on a new frame.

Finally, it is ready for the competition.

I wanted to come up with a traditional lace handkerchief from the time of the Spanish occupation in the Philippines, using the antique patterns of scalloped edges and sprays. I wanted the design to be ornamental, so that one can hang it on display, without losing its message. The design is also strange enough to start conversations. There is enough craftmanship in it to attract both experts and laymen in needlework . This work is very precious to me. It does not have to win a prize. I believe by finishing this, I already won. I am thankful to the competition for giving me the chance to explore my creativity.

Handarbeit / Stickerei in Berlin, Deutschland.

Tambour work (Crochet de Lunéville) “Paz”

26 07 2009

I am keeping no WIP photos for this project. The dark fabric makes my eyes more tired than light fabrics. After 3 attempts, I finally able to find the right fabric for tambour work. And as a beginner in tambour work, I prefer plainly woven fabrics. No tulle nor complex weaves. Threads would easily get caught in the hook.

Started July 19, 2009

Finished July 26, 2009

After 20 Hours

Beads, metallic threads, polyester sewing threads and embroidery cotton threads on blue cotton indian sari

(Spanish word for peace)

A sampler of tambour work patterns with beads and metallic threads

A sampler of tambour work patterns with beads and metallic threads

While embroidering, I decided that this will be a sampler of patterns with beads and metallic threads. There are so many ways to combine colors and sizes and other materials, including sequins and gold threads and bullions.

Here is the original drawing.

Original drawing of Offering 004

Original drawing of Offering 004

Handarbeit / Stickerei in Berlin, Deutschland.

New Peace Offerings: “Paix” and “He Ping”

25 07 2009

(French and Mandarin Chinese words for peace)

I was on a caregiving job the whole night and while waiting for the employer this morning, I drew a couple of plants in the terrace. I always bring with me a selfmade sketch pad of watercolor papers DIN A4 size folded in half. So these “Offerings” are the finest in the series.

Faber Castell PITT Artists pen Superfein on watercolor paper

Faber Castell PITT Artists pen Superfein on watercolor paper

Then I went to a hobby shop to buy new pens! I found other nice things to buy, but I decided to buy them only when I need them.
COPIC multi liner 0.05 superfine pen on watercolor paper

COPIC multi liner 0.05 superfine pen on watercolor paper

Hair Embroidery “Kapayapaan”

10 07 2009

Started July 10, 2009

Finished July 12, 2009

After 20 hours

Human hair on white brocade silk

(Filipino word for Peace)

I took out my hair from my stash and started to learn how to embroider hair all by myself. After a few hours, I am so sure this is not going to be my first and last hair embroidery.

I immediately made use of my latest drawing from the Offering Series, because of the density of the design, in comparison to the earlier drawings. I think this drawing suits hair embroidery because it has only one color. I really love my drawings  and sketches. And I love this hair embroidery technique of making contour lines because it captures the effect of being drawn or sketched in black ink.

I grew my hair long for 2 years and I cut them off all by myself in 2006. I promised myself I will learn how to do hair embroidery one day. And that day is today, July 10, 2009.

July 10 After 4 hours, shown with my own hair

July 10 After 4 hours, shown with my own hair

I never thought the hair I kept was this lot. Although they are not that long, mostly 50cm or 20inches, I can already use the hair for embroidery. My hair does not break that often, but it still takes time to thread every 5 minutes or so, because of the short length. It took me a while to find out the best way to anchor the hair when starting and ending a length.

July 10 After 5 hours, with sewing thread, a pin and a hair for comparison

July 10 After 5 hours, with sewing thread, a pin and a hair for comparison

I used 2 strands of hair for this embroidery. I am learning one technique at a time. I will learn other techniques in my next designs. A piece of hair is really very thin, almost like silk. I have not yet embroidered using silk. That would be another thing to learn.

July 11 After 11 hours, seen with my ink drawing on tracing paper

July 11 After 11 hours, seen with my ink drawing on tracing paper

This is so far the latest drawing in the series Offering. It has become larger and more detailed than the earlier drawings. With other embroidery techniques I won´t be able to work that much on the details, unless I use line stitches.


Handarbeit / Stickerei in Berlin, Deutschland.

Homesick Series (Heimweh Serien)

26 06 2009
Missing Mangoes

Missing Mangoes

I am creating a series of designs for textile art. I called it “Heimweh” (Homesick). Living in Berlin, I have been missing a lot of food back in the Philippines. I am especially missing the fruits and vegetables. It will feature lots of stitches. I will still have to put colors into it.
I think this will feature crewel stitches using cotton floss in bright and pastel colors.

Homesick Series: Missing Pineapples

Homesick Series: Missing Pineapples

The second of my series Heimweh (Homesick). Pineapples.
I am thinking of doing this whole panel in pulled work using colored threads with colored lining that shows through the pulled holes.

July 8, 2009 Ink on Paper

July 8, 2009 Ink on Paper


I love suman!!!

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