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CRAFTER FEATURE

Written by

VERNE AHYONG

About a Bear: Crafting Trails, One Stitch at a Time

There’s a question we like asking partner crafters. It’s a deceptively simple question. Sometimes, the answer will be short and on-point. Other times, it’ll be a rambling sort of self-discovery.

Either way, directly or indirectly, the answer always tells us something interesting about the artist and their work. The question is this: What’s the story behind your work?

Rochelle Tabino has many things in common with several of our partner crafters.

She is a wife and mother with a full-time occupation, while pursuing creative endeavors on the side. She has been doing arts and crafts for as long as she can remember. Her productivity is largely mood-based, dependent on the perfect alignment of things seen and unseen, all conducive to her artistry.

And yet, she is also different from the rest. Rochelle works as a hotelier. Painting is her favorite art medium, though she also enjoys food styling and writes occasionally.

She began using acrylic, then taught herself watercolor painting.

She also loves teddy bears.

“I have always been in love with teddies. I just didn’t get to find ‘the one’ until I found a pattern to make one. And from there, the rest is history.”

To date, Rochelle has hand sewn more than 300 memory bears, her most popular products in Craft Story. She made her first bears using pretty fabric she saved from her high school years.

Her children were asking for stuffed toys she could not find in the malls, and she researched how to make her own bears out of frustration.

Rochelle’s dream is for every child to own a Memory Bear.

“I’ve always wanted to donate to Cancervants, but I don’t have extra hands to make the bears,” she shares. “There’s just me, my mother, and my aunt who have the patience to cut, sew, and assemble them by hand.”

Under her brand Crafted Trails, Rochelle was one of the first who rented a shelf in Craft Story. She sees our store as a venue to develop local talents, where their work can be showcased, and where traditional art can be preserved. For her, it’s important for artists to keep grounded in the basics despite the influx of all things digital.

Rochelle stresses the need for balance between the creative and entrepreneurial aspects of doing art, to diverge from the stereotype of the starving artist.

“The Cebu arts and crafts scene’s very close-knit. There are so few of us who are passionate about the work we do. It’s so limited. It’s so difficult to get a hold of us and our works. It’s only possible during bazaars that cater to crafters.”

Craft Story seeks to change all that, as the first concept store in Cebu dedicated to selling the works of Cebuano and Filipino artists and crafters.
You can find us at Crossroads Cebu, in between Qube Gallery and The Distillery. We are open Tuesdays to Sundays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.


See more crafter features here.