WHEN a prospective buyer or art collector sees a wood furniture, or a work of art made of wood, he may not only stop short and gaze at the item. He may take a closer look, check on how the wood piece feel to the touch, ask what kind of wood is it made of, and lastly check on the price.

The sculpted wood furniture or ornamental piece is more appreciated and valued because of how it affects the buyer or the viewer's senses. Seeing and touching a sculpted figure and knowing how it painstakingly and wonderfully made are but factors we consider in recognizing how valuable the work is.

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The art of designing and creating statues, memorials, monuments and ornaments as a symbol of the human person's search for permanence, immortality, eternity and beauty, sculpture has significantly carved for itself a place in the visual and representational art. The sculpted work, either in on- the- round or 3D form , in relief or decorative figures, or in kinetic or mobile form, can be made from materials like stone, wood, terra cotta, metals, ivory, and other modern materials like aluminum, glass, plastic, soap, ice, electronic devices, and the modern laser beams. Techniques which are used in sculpture can be carving, fabricating, construction, assemblage, casting and modeling.

What should we look for sculpture? We check if the lines are well-defined; if the hue and the value of color of or in the medium is properly used; if the object feels good to the touch; and if there is a kind of a perspective, or depth in the work; if the form or the over-all design of the work contributes to the artwork's value and if the artist's creativity, individuality and style is in the work.

So with all the aforementioned background, off we go to visit Disenyo Negrense Crafts located at Doors 3 & 4, Eusebio Arcade (formerly Casa Noble) Lacson St., Bacolod City. Opened in Bacolod last May, 2009, the showroom displays ethnic-inspired yet contemporary wood furniture, capiz shell lamps, wood artworks and souvenir items.

Painstakingly hand- made by Bong Callao, a local artist from Dumaguete city, Negros Oriental, the pieces in Disenyo Negrense are indeed worth the find, the artistry, and the worth. Collector's items, I may say, to find the "Yugto Ng Buhay" and "Bayan Ni Juan", (a relief mounted on a frame made from different sizes and blocks of wood); the "Sidlakan", "Adlaw", "Pahuwayan", "Matipuno", "Baghang-Hari"-all benches and seats made from molave and which are intricately handcrafted; the 3 different versions and sizes of "Fishers of Men", made from yakal and molave; the "Tawo-tawo" and the "Bahagi", biomorphic forms from molave; the intriguing ornament "Banal sa Parangal", and the finely crafted 6-seater dining seat made from molave and balayong. Intricate and fantastic is the wall-frame of "Fishes"; so brilliant and true are wood bases of the "Daro" lampshades. Astonishingly rustic is the painting of Lito Aro on the table surface.

Yes, the works on wood of Bong Callao are indeed contemporary yet ethnic, artistic yet functional. The details on each work finely etched, the piece unique on its own and the style speaks of Callao's individuality and his exposure to various techniques and crafts of different tribes from all over the country.

Bacolod-based incorporators Christine Kho- Almonte and Jerry Pig-ao chanced upon Bong Callao's showroom and workshop in Dumaguete and they fell in love with his works. And with much prayers and hard work, the art pieces of the Dumaguete-based artist find their way to Bacolod.

Now, the art pieces, because they're one of a kind, find their way in the homes of art collectors, medical doctors, academic institutions, and parish churches. Sometimes, a furniture is borrowed by some local television stations or cable TV channels as part of their sets.

The crudeness that gives each piece an earthly feel, the inimitability which makes the work unique, and the style which gives the art its elegance--- you'll find all these in the crafts of Bong Callao showcased at Diseno Negrense, where the stuff are worth-taking home.

Wood sculptures offer a unique insight into a specific artist and a culture. With its color and texture combination, wood art pieces can also be an interesting way to chronicle the development of a culture over time, of our very own Negrense's way of life. All for the love of wood? Well, if you are interested in wood

-art, then you may want to consider calling Diseno Negrense at telephone number (034) 434-0490, or visit it at Doors 3 & 4, Eusebio Arcade (formerly Casa Noble) Lacson St., Bacolod City.