NATURAL WEAVES In spite of its highly urbanized setting and contemporary interiors, designer Liam Mooney accessorizes his apartment with a lot of woven baskets and furniture. Get to know our own local weaving materials better with this guide: 1. Rattan. A type of palm with a solid stem. This sustainable material is popular with furniture makers because it grows faster and is easier to harvest and transport. The inner core can be separated, split, and woven into wicker. 2. Bamboo. Belonging to the grass family, bamboo is significant to the people of East and Southeast Asia. Aside from being an ornamental plant, bamboo also serves as building material and food. This sustainable, lightweight material is also popular for its durability and flexibility. Its smooth, shiny, outer skin is split and used for weaving. 3. Abaca/hemp. Abaca is a species of the banana family
indigenous to the Philippines. More popularly known as Manila Hemp (or depending on the region, Cebu Hemp or Davao Hemp), abaca is much sought-after for its flexibility, durability, and resistance to saltwater damage.
Wild grass/weeds. These materials break from the usual manual style of weaving. The grass, however, is thin enough to be spun into thread-like fibers, and woven into the finished product on looms. Buntal fibers, buri sprigs, vetiver, and other as-yet unnamed wild grasses can be used, as long as they are processed.
Pandan or screwpine. Pandan is an important ingredient in Southeast Asian cooking as it adds a pleasant aroma to rice, curry dishes, and desserts. The leaves of the pandan tree can also be dried for use in hand-woven items like mats and our local bayong (market tote). —Coni Tejada