Crafting with natural material is our core competency, and the pride of our work. What we do elevates the value of natural material, through designs that are relevant, organic, and rooted in culture. We would love our collaborators and buyers to appreciate these materials from growing, harvesting, and processing them to be part of the overall design. These are the materials that shape our lifestyle sensibilities and design decisions. Nature is our biggest provider and inspiration.
The abaca weaving you see in most of our collections comes from a palm that is related to, and closely resembles the banana tree. The fibers are extracted from the trunk of the plant, and are meticulously twined by hand in different thicknesses, often with the aid of a spinning wheel. The threads and twine that come from it—often of different "grades"—are then used in weaving as rope (which lends visual & tactile texture) or upholstery in most Philippine furniture. We at Hacienda love using it in tandem with a solid wire frame base, to articulate shape or still movement.
Abaca as a natural fiber is versatile and dynamic, and appears in various forms. We particularly enjoy working with it when it's twined, because its ropelike nature lends a tensility to the material that is perfect as a binding agent, or for weaving against a harder frame.
Sinamay is the loosely-woven fabric from abaca leafstalks. It has a characteristic stiff and coarse feel, and its natural colour gradiates from an off-white to yellowish-cream. Sinamay comes in rolls, and does excellently when dyed. We use Azo-free fabric dyes, which are eco-friendly and free from toxic compounds otherwise present in most industrial dyes. We then translate this to placemats, votives, lamp shades, or weave it against a structure to create a play of light between the woven grid.
The Indigenous T'boli from the Lake Sebu area hold t'nalak cloth sacred, as they believe that the patterns reveal themselves to weavers in their dreams. The patterns that reference folklore or handed-down stories are known to these women weavers by memory. We treasure the T'nalak in our work, and hope to bring the beauty of its output, and process, are known to many.
Sustainable and ubiquitous, every part of the bamboo can be crafted to create beautiful weaves, structural shapes, and unique textures. Usually harvested as poles, the often passed-over twig outgrowth, or 'kagingking', have a symmetry all their own that is beautiful and organic.
Bamboo poles are split into plyable sizes for weaving into mats.
Banana bark fiber has a strength and smoothness that is perfect for weaving. Locally called 'bac-bac', this fiber is sturdy and textured, and we use them for handles, and finishing off corners in our items.
Every part of the buri plant is a viable, vital material that we love working with in our designs. Household brooms are made from the buri 'buntal' (fiber from the unopened leaves), and the midribs are discarded. When the cross-section of the midrib is illuminated, it creates a prism-like effect. THIS is what we love ot use in our various pieces, primarily as a firm weaving material that lends structure and shape.
Also known as windowpane oysters, capiz have been a favourite alternative to glass, because of the translusence and durabiiity of the shells. Traditionally it is seen in windows, and other crafts. The Municipality of Hinigaran in Negros Occidental farms this sustainably, as part of a livelihood programme. Find them in our lamp designs, as we play with its lustre, and the sweet tinkling it makes in the wind.
Paya are hard-shell mollusks in iridescent hues that bring an elegant sheen to inlay or strung designs. We cut the shells to discs, and string them together, bringing a feel of the seaside living to our pieces.
Baragubay is best known locally as a dependable material that is tapered and rough, used often as firewood. It has its own interesting organic geometry, as its primary function as a part of a plant was to bring nourishment to the fruit-nuts. Some of our very first export designs used baragubay, and we still apply this to our current pieces.
Philippine cotton is precious because it is being carefully and sustainably propagated now, after nearly being eradicated by the influx of imported yarns. They are traditionally used to make fabric, which are then turned into wearables, among others. Waste cotton, or 'retaso' as we call it, is twined anew, and we use these in our lightings as a special feature or a binding element.
Nito originates as anon-forest timber product, a fern-vine that grows as secondary cover in Philippine woodlands. In Negros, these are harvested by indigenous peoples to become primary material for crafting. As it is abundant, it is important in giving livelihood and income to the upland communities using nito in their creations.
The buri tree yields raffia, too, a pliant and versatile fibre used to make fabric, besides the midrib that we work very closely with. Locally called saguran, it is harvested from the young leaves, and hold colour very well; dyeing saguran creates gorgeous organic shades which can be woven into lamp shades or soft furnishings for home.
The upland farmers in the La Libertidad Weavers Association (LALIWA) from Negros Oriental has been a longtime partner of ours, and their skill with pandan weaving is unparalleled. The mats, bowls, and little home accessories they create have the signature thick and waxy character of properly-prepared pandan, which includes careful boiling, and removal of its midrib spines.
Locally called 'arurog', this flexible rattan outgrowth comes in various diameters, and its round core is very sturdy. Its ability to take on weight makes it a great alternative in load-bearing designs, and it can be stained, much like wood. At Hacienda Crafts, we use AZO-free dye, which is environmentally friendly, to colour the lengths.
The rattan splits are flatter in appearance than the arurog variety, but it is pliant and verasatile, and can be used in weaving & basket makinng. It is a reliable material, and we like using it inour smaller home accessories.
Our work with the North Negros Natual Park began with.a livelihood project for crafts. Tiger Grass, or 'udyong', is ubiquitous and grows very rapidly, making it a go-to alternative to traditional weaving theniques.We have been working with the women in the community, teaching them the coiled basketry technique, which applies beautifully with bunched udyong.