A B O U T
Hi, my name is Kat, the creative entrepreneur behind Abek Home and Culture. My journey working with handwoven textiles is tied to my childhood up here in Northern Luzon.
Working with Handwoven Fabrics and Textiles
Fabrics and textiles have always been a great inspiration to me.
As a kid growing up in Baguio-Benguet, I saw the different weaves and patterns of the Cordilleras. But I was most familiar with those worn by the women of Sagada, Bontoc and Besao who were our neighbors. They always wore their tapis during special occasions.
Later, in my career as a documentary photographer for non-government and international organizations, I never forgot about these textiles especially when I traveled. My job brought me around the country documenting various communities. I took special notice of indigenous peoples because they had interesting stories as well as handwoven textiles! But perhaps a more stark realization for me when I was traveling was this: despite being rich in culture, many Filipinos lacked an awareness and appreciation for their own country’s heritage.
I wanted to tell the stories of the people I had met most especially the mountain folk and the ones that lived in coastal towns.
Expanding with Naturally Dyed Fabrics
In 2015, I was introduced to indigo, a plant dye used in natural fabrics. Seeing its great potential, I realized that this was the next chapter of my journey.
I attended my first basic workshops on natural dyeing at the Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI), a branch of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
This is where I learned about our local plant dyes. Workshops at PTRI were also my introduction to the science of dyeing textiles.
Tying in textiles from our cultures with plant dyes grown from around us feels like an organic match to the stories I want to tell.
I have since supplemented my basic knowledge on natural dyeing with workshops in Thailand and Vietnam. I also attended natural dyeing webinars especially at the height of the pandemic.
Naturally dyed fabrics, handstitching and intuitive embroidery are all staples at Abek Home and Culture.
Abek Home and Culture is deeply inspired by people and places within our archipelago and in our Southeast Asian region.
...from the backstrap loom of a middle-aged man weaving ikat cloth in an interior barangay in Kiangan, Ifugao…
…to the pandan mats of an award-winning Sama woman weaver on a far-off island in Tawi-tawi…
…all the way to the 90-year old women expertly weaving the binakul in a seaside town in Ilocos...
...and to the Hmong women in Northern Vietnam stitching jackets along the road, in the busy tourist market, or the local eatery.
Abek Home and Culture is a culmination of adventures throughout the Philippines and Southeast Asia. It is a creative studio that continues to explore local natural dyes and patterns to create one-of-a-kind pieces.
Thank you for visiting.
All the best,