The Hinabi Project: The Art of Philippine Textiles seeks to increase awareness of and appreciation for the exquisite and rich tradition of Philippine weavings and textiles. The project aims to encourage the families of weavers, embroiderers, and designers of traditional Filipino textiles to continue working on their crafts by supporting sustainable household economies and their incorporation into the culture industries. Through these efforts, the project hopes it will inspire Filipinos at home and overseas to rediscover their rich textile heritage and incorporate aspects of this heritage in their modern lifestyle, thereby ensuring the continuation of a living culture and related craft industries.
The Hinabi Project introduces to the San Francisco public, exhibits of textile arts by artisan families who produce fabrics from pineapple fiber, Philippine cotton, and textiles produced from abaca (musa textilis) as part of its on-going awareness program. Other projects planned or in progress are framed within the following objectives:
Handweaving goes back from pre-historic to neolithic times. The early inhabitants of the Philippines wove cloth from a variety of plants that were native to the geography - banana, abaca, cotton, water lilies and palm. A variety of plants and tree barks similarly produced the source for natural dyes. Over time, other fibers were favored but the hand woven technique has remained the same. Our goal is to emphasize the organic, natural basis for the production of cloth. This would include protection of the natural resources, environment, and ecologically friendly and healthy means of livelihood.
Weaving cloth is instrinsically connected to the spiritual and environmental milieu of the weavers and their community. The extraction of plant fiber, its handling, the coloring and design of the fabric was circumscribed by age-long cultural beliefs and practices that was passed from one generation to the other. Cloth itself becomes the unwritten history of these communities, their battles and alliances, marriages and deaths. Cloth also was the pre-monetary form for economic exchange with neighboring communities. Along with the protection of their milieu we are developing programs in partnerships with NGOs and government agencies in maintaining the integrity of the weaver's cultural traditions as they transition to the 21st century.
To become a weaver requires long training and to be steep in both the culture and environment of the communities. The expert weaver is at once an expert knowledgeable about the condition of the fiber plant, manufacture of plant dyes, and in translating vision which usually come in dreams, into practical design. The concluding fabric is not mere cloth but a metaphor of culture and communication in the moment of creation. We are developing a program of training and apprenticeship through scholarships to support the young generation to continue to learn these arts.