Into the loop of looming

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By Adrian Bobe

A-Listed!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


FIRST of all, the loom bands trend is not new. It is an old hobby of girls and even young boys that transforms their long weekends and boring vacations to an opportunity to express creativity.

What makes this "revival" enticing is that, it is not another electronic gadget young people are craving for. Yes, the loom band trend is an old-fashioned art class project making its way to the new generation.

Its revival may be a product of yet another boring summer for some tweens and tweenagers, but the colorful loom bands trend is consistently spreading like wildfire in the Philippines again, lately. Funny though, what I thought as another fad for youngsters is also engaging college students and even young professionals.

For young entrepreneur and nurse Angela Alcala, looming colored bands is her way to express creativity and individuality. Despite her busy schedule managing their family’s viewing deck in Brgy. Pta. Taytay, she makes sure to insert looming sessions with her siblings every now and then. “It has become a habit for me and my sisters,” she said. Angela and her sisters also sell their accessories for P30 to P65, depending on length and colors. “We have fun, at the same time, we earn money,” she added.

Meanwhile, an online report published recently warned fanatics to check the toxicity level of the rubber bands. It appears that the cheap kinds may harm children. Since it is synthetic, it is superior to natural rubber, thus will end as another environmental problem if not disposed of properly.

Enthusiasts are also warned to keep their rainbow loom kits away from young children and pets. In other countries, champions of animal welfare cited reports of veterinarians treating dogs and cats with severe diarrhea caused by ingestion of these bands. For both humans and animals, digestive passages can be blocked when accidentally ingested or choked. However, these isolated cases are not stopping accessory makers in Bacolod to continually invest in best-selling jewelry kits.

Apart from being a creative fad, it has also turned as an entrepreneurial activity to some. Loom band bracelets are being traded in social networking sites. Aside from bracelets of various colors, patterns and designs, kits and lightweight looming tables are sold online. On Amazon, it even landed top spots as among the best-selling toys worldwide.

Loom bands are not for everyone, though. Creating it requires a lot of patience and love for accessorizing. For impatient people, it surely spells big trouble. The ability to loom and create patterns and even simple figures from small, elastic rubber bands require a lot of time and endurance. Notably, you have to have both keen eyes and hands ready for its intricacy and complex features. For people with sluggish hands, looming an inch would consume more than an hour. But looming, as one friend would tell me, “is just a simple pattern that looks complicated,” after all, looks can really be deceiving.

The fad takes on young kids, too. The primary reason pupils in a school in the States have been banned from looming was that it distracts them from focusing on school tasks. However, its negative impact is outweighed by the positives. Parents think it is a less costly way to deviate from passing electronic fads like video games, time consuming smart phones and overusing social network sites. For once, kids use their hands, practically.

Loom bands is a silver lining to what appears as a generation of robotic young kids incapable of enjoying outdoor activities and artistic activities like rainbow loom bands. It’s a breather to see young people look down without any gadget at hand. With this, my hope is growing bigger that one day kids will turn away from sickening and uncontrolled use of devices that is keeping people to interact with each other.

Creating loom bands is the kind of obsession that ripples positivism. Parents and children get to bond over eye-pleasing, cotton-candy colored elastic rubbers. The kids learn patience, to say the least. And parents, thanks to an old artsy habit, are spared to buy another fly-by-night fad gadget or download online short-lived smart phone games.

Whether kids stay late looming, it’s still way better than finding them eternally clicking the mouse while eyes glued on online games of zombies or monsters eating people’s brains.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on June 17, 2014.

Lifestyle

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