Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bead Styling

The weather was good so Ligaya (HotBeads) and I decided to do an impromptu photo shoot of her latest creations. I just think her turquoise necklace and sheer 3-tier luminescent pearl necklace are just fab!

Ligaya is my dear friend, an eclectic visual artist and a documentary producer. She has also worked as a stylist and a production designer for films. She's a strict vegetarian. You'll always find her devoting time to her yoga matwork. Unfortunately, I have too much meat in the freezer and not much veggies ready for her visits.

Making jewelry together calms our anxious little minds. We usually zone out in such sessions, blocking out the rest of the world while our hands go deep into the rhythm of stringing beads. Considering Ligaya is very chatty, she really goes mum on me during these sessions.

Ligaya has more of that earthy and organic color palette in her beads stash while I have more affinity to darker hues and cohesive colors. Craft-wise and since childhood, my first hobby has always been sewing, I often like to incorporate found fabric pieces and appliques to jewelry. Joy with her mixed media background, likes working with malleable wires, working them around precious stones and making her own web-like connectors.

Anyway, in terms of style, we both love and agree on "ugly beautiful", the "elegance in the mess" kind of thing. And yes, we can really leave a mess of metal, copper, nylon after working on pieces.

Ligaya has just started her blog today. I think I gave her enough push to show off her work haha. We just love beading and perhaps blogging makes our enthusiasm go up a notch.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

How to get to Villalobos Street

My other post was just waaaay too long. So its better to discuss this separately- how do I get to Villalobos Street?

More importantly, what's the quickest way?

The fastest, easiest way to get in and quickly out of Quiapo is to take the LRT. Wherever you're from in Manila or the province just get to any LRT station and make your stop at Carriedo station.

From the station, go to the last staircase near Isetann area. When you get down the steps walk towards C. Palanca Sr. St. (you'll see a Scott's Burger mascot). Walk straight down the whole stretch of C. Palanca Sr. St. alongside SM carriedo until you reach the vegetable market then the fish market. The street will eventually intersect with Villalobos street. Then turn left inside Villalobos street to go to Wellmansons or DIY Beadshop which is beside a Tambunting pawnshop.

This is the most efficient route if you are avoiding crowds during holidays like Christmas, Easter or First Friday Mass.

The other parallel street, Carriedo Street is clogged with ambulant vendors and crowds during the holidays. C. Palanca Sr. is a street for the buses and motorized pedicabs, there's hardly a stampede-like crowd here unless its the Black Nazareno parade.

Another route from the LRT station- just make sure you get to Quiapo church through Carriedo or Hidalgo Street. Once at the Church area, the street in front of the Quiapo church is Villalobos street (near the Mercury Drug digital signage).

A Saftey Tip

I would suggest dressing down or going very casual - wear flipflops or sneakers. Getting through the wet market of Villalobos street can be tricky, you can end up with really sticky or muddy feet. Quiapo is not a mall, be mindful of your belongings, you do not want to look like easy prey in this area. So leave the pricey jewelry at home and never bring oodles of cash.

I know the map looks awful. I'll be uploading a better one in a few days with the other Crafts stores in Villalobos Street. For other maps of Manila areas, visit

Visiting Villalobos Street: Manila's Bead Haven

So where does one get her beads and craft supplies in Manila?

Everything you need for beadwork, crafts and jewelry making is at Villalobos St. in Quiapo, Manila. The street offers an incredible selection of beads and jewelry supplies at reasonable prices.

Okay, so obviously I'm still in a daze whenever I think about this Beader's Paradise. I can spend a day inside one shop alone. Mind you, there are several bead shops in the area and after a few visits you'll be able to gauge the stock qualities of each store. Villalobos street just inspires me to be creative and motivated in my designs. The bead pricing per stem is reasonable, and set accordingly to its category, some stores carry huge bead volumes sold at dirt cheap prices.

Here's a checklist of the beading essentials you can possibly find at each shop:

• precious stones
• semi-precious stones
• murano beads
• bicones
• cube crystals
• glass beads
• seed beads
• spacers
• lentils
• rice pearls
• rondelles
• teardrops
• drops
• briolettes
• keshis
• ear nuts
• earring wires
• nylon wires
• jump rings
• split rings
• S-Hook clasps
• toggle clasps
• lobster claw clasps
• crimp ends
• crimp tube
• bails
• pinch bails
• connectors
• eye pins
• head pins
• chain nose pliers
• diagonal wire cutters
• split ring pliers
• malleable wires
• bead caps
• multi-strand spacer bars
• five-to-one chandeliers

For Beginners or those trying to build their starter kits, I suggest you check out Wellmansons. Its like the SM Shoemart of Beads! the salesladies in dark blue uniforms give you that department store vibe. And don't be surprise when they pull down boxes from their ceiling, yeah soooo SM shoemart circa 80s. Don't get me wrong, I think the air conditioning, wooden interiors and mood lighting set-up is a plus! You tend to forget you're in Quiapo.

What I love about Wellmansons is that their supplies are well-organized. A saleslady can tell you off the bat what shelf you can find a certain item. Each shelf is numbered and categorized by what kind of bead or metal accessory is on display. Hence, the connectors and the crimps go together while all the wooden beads are located far enough from possibly getting mixed with the glass or plastic ones.

Interestingly, you would bump into buyers and export QAs with their design sketches, ordering items in bulk by their number codes. You'll also find nuns hoarding religious relics and wooden crosses.

Unfortunately, not all shops are as organized with their wares as Wellmansons. Like I said, beginners should make the shop as their starting point. The staff is overall friendly, but they can get a bit pushy to get you out the door by closing time.

Still the other shops are worth looking into, the competition is often determined by the pieces they carry. Avid beaders flock to those who carry really fine and rare items like ornate or vintage pieces.

So check out the entirety of Villalobos street, it might even change your view of Quiapo altogether.

And you think Manila wasn't so crafty?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Marche & Juliette

I am starting my multiply store soon. Once I create enough jewelries to sell. My fingers are starting to feel the blisters now with the wires.

I am naming my homemade jewelry collection, Marche & Juliette. An ode to two loving people whom I lost in 2008 - my Uncle Marciano (we call him Marsha) and my aunt Juliet. They were both openly gay and single.

They were fire and ice, fierce and loving. They died a month apart, perhaps in grief with one losing the other. My Aunt Juliet loved Jade stones, emeralds and earthy tones. She adored Chinese goodluck charms since she was a tindera in the markets of Pampanga.

My Uncle Marciano spent 33 years in Paris as a concierge. He's very meticulous, feisty and had this regal aura about him. He followed trends and was always in vogue. He often wore black, gray, bold and sophisticated colors.

cobalt and turquoise series

I am making a series of pieces in cobalt and turquoise stones, some of the beads have freeform wiring. Though the beads are readymade. I have been practicing my take on manipulating the soft wires around some of the larger cobalt stones.

Welcome to the BeadSnob!

Touch my beads and i'll kill yah! I'm such a snob when it comes to my beads and my crafts stash haha. I find making homemade jewelry relaxing, kinda meditative. I wish I discovered it much sooner.

But any interest in DIY, homemade things, recycling vintage items and crafts- I owe to my Dad. He's a real dumpster diver and a junkyard treasure hunter. My dad is one very crafty guy. He taught me how to sew, how to make quilts, create shorts with the basic garter waistline, use an edging machine and sew buttonholes. If he wasn't such a gung-ho asphalt engineer, you might think he was fruity. My uncles call him Mr. MacGyver, he could fix anything and bring any machinery back to life. My dad has a knack for the technical and the industrial- welding, drafting, suspensions, electrical wirings, finishings, sanding, plumbing, etc. But what amazes me most is his knack for DIY crafts. He creates the most adorable looking crafts with his hands.

Anyway, so after much sewing, my friend Chee introduced me to beading and making homemade pieces of jewelry. Together we went out and hunted down the "open secret" in certain trades - the supply stores in Quiapo, Manila.

The end result is a thousand beads and an empty wallet. Over Christmas, I am now learning the basics, knowing my tools and eagerly starting my sofa sweatshop.


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