Tomorrow the doors open to the MaARTe fair, the biggest and best curated artisan bazaar in the country. This is our fourth year to make it to their list of artisans offering the most exciting and meaningful Filipino crafts. Still, I am both nervous and excited.
We started at the MaARTe fair four years ago, as a guest of my good friend Apol Lejano, who had just started her brand of hand-made fabric toys called La Pomme. To complement her line, she assembled a collective of artisans with the same sensibility: hand-made for children. I brought only a crateful of items and only sold about five pieces. But I saw the reaction of the buyers to my products. And I was encouraged.
There was an emotional connection. They were gushing, looking for more, asking for new designs, and just eager to explore. I think terra cotta clay has that appeal: it’s familiar, earthy, and — when shaped into miniatures — quite adorable.
After that first try, we applied for our own booth. Getting in wasn’t easy. There was a long line of other artisans wanting to come in. The organizers suggested I team up with the other potters who already had booths. I suspect they were not yet confident that our terra cotta pieces could meet their museum quality standards and draw a good customer base. But I kept trying and developed products that I hoped would pass curator benchmarks. Right before deadline, we got a green light.
Now, we are on our third year with a solo booth. It is really through MaARTe fair that our claystorytellers became known. The stamp of approval from the Museum Foundation and then the media support they provide really boosted awareness of what we do.
Over the years, we’ve made many good friends at MaARTe, fellow vendors and loyal customers. We look forward to seeing you all there again.
Remember we have moved to 8 Rockwell. The fair starts tomorrow, Aug 26 and ends on Aug 28.. Gates open at 9 am and closes at 9 pm.