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Rockwell Life

Keeping Traditions Alive

One of the founder of highly popular ArteFino arts and crafts fair, Susie Quiros talks about how she has evolved from volunteer to an advocate for local artisans.

When Susie Quiros enters a room, there is a strong, almost infectious, positive energy that she exudes: energy of a woman who knows what she’s doing and, better yet, loves what she’s doing.

“I’m a housewife,” this elegant woman replies when asked about what she does. But one immediately notices a twinkled in her eye that pointedly tells you that she is anything but a conventional homemaker. Likewise, her eclectic outfits also grab your attention: brightly colored beadwork accessories and blouses that call to min vibrant patterns of tribal designs.

This is because Susie is one of the ladies who helped spearhead ArteFino, the annual arts of crafts fair that present and promotes the work of the country’s indigenous peoples. Since it was first staged at 8 Rockwell in 2017, ArteFino has helped spread the word regarding world-class product of exceptional quality produced by highly talented artisans and craftsmen from different parts of the Philippines. It has, since its inception, also served as a way of raising awareness regarding crafts and skills endemic to the Philippines, as well as a way of enabling women from indigenous communities to thier livelihood.

As Susie puts it, however, her involvement with initiative came out of the simple act of helping a friend.”[Some years ago], I started doing volunteer work – a LOT of volunteer work – which morphed into ArteFino.” She recalls. “It was pretty much because a friend of mine asked for help. First, we were merely volunteers as we were working with the museum Foundation of the Philippines. For a while, we worked on it part-time but, over time, we got to know the people and the communities who made crafts like beadwork and embroidery for us.”

Working and interacting with women from various indigenous tribes from acr0ss the country enabled Susie and her co-founders to gain a greater appreciation for traditional crafts such as cloth or baster weaving, as well as the creation of uniquely beautiful accessories from materials locally sourced from the nature. However, they also seemed to get a sense that time was running out of these.