On December 2017, our LGU conducted a trade fair for all the loom operators of Bangar, La Union in celebration of our local fiesta. Almost every loom operator joined the event and were asked to produce something new & unique using abel weaving technique. It was a very busy time for the loom operators but they managed to produce their own designs.
This wasig beach towel was named after the loom operator who won the "Most Improved Abel Product" (Emelita). Her entry was a Queen Wasig blanket where she thought of making some part of the weft a bit thicker to create a raised or ribbed-like design. She spent a lot of time with the weavers, oftentimes, retiring late at night - experimenting & trying different techniques and approach. According to her, it was hard to make the selvedge neat as the thicker weft was made of more or less 40-60 strands of fine weaving yarn. She also had entries for other inabel items - hand towels, bath/beach towels, pillowcases etc. Unfortunately, I don't have the photos :(
Then came the day when all their entries was displayed on their respective booths and were then judged. Emelita was so thrilled when she learned that her entry for Queen Wasig (using this pattern) was considered as the Most Improved Abel Product.
The blankets got sold immediately. I tried to ask her to make some for Balay ti Abel. She explained that since the pattern is quite hard to do, and it's fairly new to the weavers, she needs to give them higher salary compared to their standard rate for regular inabel items. But I might try promoting Emelita Wasig Blankets soon even if they are a bit pricier.
We, at Balay ti Abel, do not haggle from the weavers and loom operators because we are aware of the difficult process involved in abel weaving. If we haggle these products and buy them at a low price, we feel we are not really helping our local artisans. But if we are able to sell their products at a fair price, then we are able to give something back to them in the form of incentives or bonus.
Anyway, these Emelita wasig towels make a lovely accessory for your bed & sofa or a decorative cover on your table, adding a traditional touch that will stand the test of time.