Threading Treasures: Scrap-Weaving Katsa into Repurposed Tote Bags
Like earth, fabrics cover our land's inner treasures. Thus, any cloth is precious and is of transcendent purpose. Likha Lokal, with Carmela Jiao spearheading the brand, labors to enlarge the art of scrap-weaving. Carmela says she sources the raw materials: flour bags or katsa and fabrics for reuse. These are the fibers that make up every knot inside Likha Lokal's repurposed tote bags which have become a cultural piece.
The hands that weave these bags belong to native seamstresses, according to Carmela. One of her earliest weavers is Pacencia Manalo who hails from Padre Garcia, Batangas. Ate Pacencia, as Carmela conviniently calls her seamtresses, has been crafting Likha Lokal products since the brand was inaugurated in 2014. Being the pioneer tote bag maker, Ate Pacencia has come up with definite maneuvering of the thread and fabrics, letting her imagination stud with the beat of sewing machine's pedal. Making the bags is already embedded in her own make, so she knows the materials well enough to produce distinct designs for every tote.
Photo by: @likhalokal
Likha Lokal's bags are constantly different, no one product is made the same
ever. Ate Pacenica ensures such with experience the sheaves and needles that is her creativity to tailor the katsa and scrap fabric to ever-new looks. The seamtress's concentration on the production become the purpose felt from every seam locked in the fabric bags.
Another weaver of Likha Lokal is Maricris Montoya. Providing history to her lore, Carmela explains she and Ate Maricris, from Mataasnakahoy, Batangas, have met earlier in 2020, having recently quit her work at a clothing factory to open her own shop. With fresh hands and a sharpened perspective, Ate Maricris is the shiny new needle that threads Likha Lokal's totes. She has in her fingers the quiet heat of the Taal Volcano and the strong conviction of Kapeng Barako, which all contribute to the Philippine texture of the repurposed bags.
Photo by: @likhalokal
Her creations, adhering to the always-new make of every Likha Lokal tote, carry the weavings of specialized structures made possible by her native nuance as seen on the quality of the products. More hands coddle the habi of each bag: the other stay-at-home women from Ate Maricris's neighborhood do the ironing of the bags. This level of involvement is evidence of the tight-knit bond of Likha Lokal and the folk who make the scrap-fabrics into the well-adored totes. Fabrics are only patches, but the seamtresses stretch the limits of the cloths and enlarge the bags' capacity with renewed purpose: to carry our treasured days.