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Diwata Pt. I

     Diwata Pt. I features favorite native flowers of the Philippines. These are some of the country's most iconic flowers, ones we grew up with and have many fond memories of. Each piece is intricately handmade with various beadwork techniques.
About the Collection

     After reading the story of Maria Makiling and learning about her role as protector of nature, I started to look more closely at the plants around me. It was then that I really began to appreciate their beauty. This collection, more than anything else, is about seeing and appreciating the wonder of nature.

     We have so many beautiful blooms here in the Philippines, but I chose to highlight our more common native blooms, the ones you and I grew up with here in the Philippines. I think we tend to take them for granted because we see them everyday, never really giving them a second glance. I wanted this collection to highlight their beauty, and to evoke memories of our childhoods – of simpler, sweeter times.

     Diwata is my most personal collection yet. Studying the real-life counterparts of the flowers featured in this collection brought back so many memories! Going up to my dad's hometown for Holy Week, visiting Baguio in the summer, playing in my grandma's garden catching ladybugs, making flower crowns with my sisters. Each piece in this collection is full of those memories – memories you might also have from growing up in the Philippines. I hope these pieces remind you of home whenever you wear them.

The Techniques

     This collection features some of the most intricate beadwork I've ever done. The primary technique used here is bead weaving, which tends to be used in more 2D applications. While designing this collection I knew I wanted to mimic the actual structures of the flowers, making them fully 3D. To achieve this I had to do a lot of experimentation, combining different stitches to create each bloom.

     Bead weaving wouldn't cut it for some of the designs though. In bead weaving, beads are woven together with thread. This means that the piece will be somewhat floppy, which wasn't ideal for some of the flowers. And so I learned a new technique: French beading.

     French beading is a combination of wire work and beading. The same glass beads are strung onto a wire, which is then manipulated and shaped by hand to create various shapes. Pliers cannot be used to shape the petals because the force will break the beads. While this technique is generally faster than bead weaving, it does require more force and effort to create intricate shapes. My hands were definitely sore after making countless experiments, but this technique turned out to be perfect to achieve some of the floral structures.

     Working on this collection really pushed me creatively. It forced me to step out of my comfort zone and encouraged me to take risks. And because of that I rediscovered the joy of making, the reason I started Una Artesana in the first place. I hope you love these floral jewels as much as I did creating them!

- Susanne    

Diwata Pt. I is available now.


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