Hi, my name is Kat, the artist behind Abek Home and Culture.
My journey working with handwoven textiles are tied to my roots as a kid growing up in Northern Luzon.
Working with Handwoven Fabrics and Textiles
Fabrics and textiles have always been a great inspiration to me.
As an Ibaloy in Baguio-Benguet, I grew up seeing the different weaves and patterns in the Cordilleras. Today,seeing these textiles anywhere makes me feel proud and at home.
When I started my career as a photographer, I never forgot about these textiles. I traveled around the country documenting various communities where people had interesting stories. Many had handwoven textiles,too! But perhaps a more stark realization for me was this: despite being rich in culture, many Filipinos lacked appreciation for their own country’s heritage.
In my travels, I thought about how every rich culture deserved to have their stories told.
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 felt 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 now 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,