So when I saw the Nuffnang Manila and HSBC Philippines email about the visit to the Gawad Kalinga workroom to SunshineVille, Las Pinas. I just knew I had to sign up.
I just wanted to see where all these fabulous doy pack bags come from and who's been busy making them for the world.
Like the freeform peyote technique in beading or casting on a knit block in Crochet, weaving these doy pack bags starts with a base line. In this case, a basic row of 10-12 wefts.
A Weft is the thread or fabric that you work with over and under to make the weave pattern. Once you create 3 weave rows, one can now see the "Wale". These are parallel lines that form when a weaving pattern is repeated.
The GK women create the bags by having pre-cut plywood boards ready, these are measured according to the dimensions of the bag design. So they have boards specific for purses, clutch bags and large handbags. The wefts are then pressed against a 1/2 inch plywood board by thumbtacks to keep it in place. The women then weave the doy strips until they fill out the whole board. They leave at least 6 inches at each end, the loose ends would then be joined into the next rectangular weave until it forms all the sides of the bag.
The doypack material is not easy on the fingers, there's a lot of snipping and tugging involved once you get a tighter weave. The Doy Juice Labels are much stiffer than traditional fiber and would require hands to work harder.
And watching these women make these bags with their hands was simply inspiring, they make the process look so effortless.
It would probably take me 3 days to finish just one bag, but the GK women can make around 3-5 bags in a day of varying sizes.
Handcrafted and meticulously made, I consider each colorful bag a unique piece.
The bags are a hit with eco shops, recycling enthusiasts and hipsters.
I had my eye on the Kristine Hermosa tarp bag, but these tarp bags were 'pre-orders' by a pharmaceutical company as Christmas presents for their employees.
Which got me asking the project director Mr. Bong Ragojos about their ordering process. He explained that if I wanted a certain number of bags made, I can bring my own raw materials and designs. They can give me an estimate for the pricing per bag which I could resell or give as gifts. Or I could buy their ready made bags in stock from their trade hall which includes the doypack bags and waterlily weave bags.
Waterlily hand-crafted bags, baskets and home wares.
A personal tour of the GK Sunshine Ville Homes with the Women weavers.
The Sunshine Ville Housing project provides sustainable livelihood development and shelter for the less fortunate by creating model communities in the Filipino spirit of ‘bayanihan’ (community spirit).
The GK homes are just next to the workshop and trade exhibition hall.
I know what's like to be in the zone when creating something handmade, so I really enjoyed meeting the GK community. But the real treat was when the GK women gave us presents, I got to take home a really cool SunGlo Juice Bag made that very day.
To visit GK Sunshineville,
Mr. Bong Ragojos
Carnival Park Street,
BF Resort Village, Talon 2
Las Pinas City
Telephone +632 917-390-7861
Thess Barameda of GKonomics
4/F Pro-Friends Building, 55 Tinio Street, Addition Hills, Mandaluyong City, Philippines
Tel: (02) 718-1738