Art is an expression. It is an expression of feeling, thought, character or belief. Just like how writers express themselves through writing, singers through singing, painters through painting, modern weaver and fiber artist Angelica Gamolo expresses herself by creating contemporary handwoven fiber masterpieces.

Weaving in the Philippines dates back to the 13th century. It makes use of local cotton, abaca, pineapple and fibers as raw materials. Fiber is Angelica’s choice of material in which she incorporates several crafting skills to create unique tactile pieces that aim to spark conversations, tell stories, evoke emotions and build meaningful connections.

She believes in utilizing stories to connect with other people.

“In my work before, I strive to do just that using film, photography, and even in the events we organized. I still believe the same, only that now I share my stories through fiber art,” said Angelica.

Though new to this craft, Angelica shared how she first became interested in this form of art.

“I came across an article in 2015 about weaving and thought I wanted to learn this form of art, but the names of the equipment and techniques overwhelmed me so I shrugged it off. In 2019, on the initiative to be more intentional in the upbringing of our daughter, we wanted to integrate more objects of culture into our home as a way to spark interest in learning our Filipino heritage and artistry. That’s how I came across weaving again. This time, I was more determined to actually pursue it.”

Fast forward to February 2021, the modern weaver and fiber artist created an Instagram account with a username as her weaving journal where she showcases her works and shares her weaving journey. People began to show interest in her works and started commissioning her to create pieces for their homes. “That’s when I decided to make it a full-time endeavor.”

The 25-year-old artist sourced out most of her materials locally, especially from other small businesses. However, some of the materials are not available here in the country so she sourced them out from small shops in Australia. Other than that, Angelica also incorporates recycled fabrics and retasos from other businesses to her pieces.

When asked what her inspirations are to make such masterpieces, Angelica replied: “All my works are abstract so when working with a certain piece, I think about colors, textures and generally the feel I’m going for. I heavily take inspiration from nature, emotions and people’s life experiences. Sometimes, I try to sketch out the designs in my head using pen and paper, but that never really gets 100 percent followed. I mostly just go with my flow.”

Most pieces take from three weeks to three months to make depending on the size and intricacy of the design.

To keep this form of art alive, Angelica shared some tips.

“It’s intimidating to get to know the names of the equipment, supplies and weaving techniques at first. So just take it one thing at a time. Yarns are expensive so when you’re still practicing, opt for the cheaper yarns. When pieces don’t go the way you want them too, you can always cut it and use the yarns from that to create a new one again. Reuse and upcycle. You can do anything with weaving, not just wall art, but also, home items like coasters, pot holders, rugs, table runners, to name a few.”

Angelica also emphasized that Miago Studio, at the very core, also advocates for sustainability and going back to basics. Weaving is only the beginning as she is currently on a journey of learning to naturally dye fabrics, spin yarns directly from the source so that will also include sustainable farming.