Featured Crafter: Mary Velmonte of Takatak Project

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The MyMarquee team was privileged to meet Mary Velmonte, one of the founders of Takatak Project. The taka project is an effort to revive interest in the traditional art of making paper mache horses. It is also an effort to generate more business for local craftsmen. All members of the Takatak team are advertising professionals who were in search of a hand made art project and fell in love with paper mache horses. Mary and Claude Rodrigo Canete are art directors while Missy Galang and Dexter Canete (Claude’s husband) are copy writers.

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Mary Velmonte of Takatak Project

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We were greeted at the door of Mary’s home/workshop by this adorable puppy, Chubi

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A green blackboard-painted taka (their latest innovative product) stands out from a pile on unpainted ones

It all started 2 years ago in an usapang lasing at Nomnomnom. The 4 friends and colleagues were pitching in a collective pet project they could do on the side to compliment our computer based desk jobs. They needed a break from the routine. They recalled long forgotten scribbles of future projects and the taka craft revival project won over all the other project pitches. After toasting to this, the next day, Mary began writing a proposal for a grant. It was then that the 3 objectives of the project were laid out to ensure takas remain a sustainable craft: 1.  Make the design and marketing of the takas more contemporary 2. Make sure Pinoy kids are educated about takas 3. Make sure artists and craftsmen are able to exchange knowledge about design processes

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A white taka awaits a carefully chosen design to be painted on it

The team’s creativity comes into play in the last stage of production of making the takas–in painting them. They come up with more contemporary painting designs as well as look for creative venues to sell the takas.

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Finished takas for delivery and newly developed carton animals on display

Design-wise, Takatak Project is very Mod. They take inspiration from 50s patterns but change the color schemes. But what Mary thinks sets them apart and makes their products things they can sell with much gusto is that each one is part of the effort to keep takas a sustainable Pinoy craft. Their business is a “craft revival module”. They hope to make it an easily appliable model for other crafts. This keeps them up and about and looking for better ways to do things. Even in Claude’s own line of crafts, Barrio Chic, the same applies in that the themes and inspirations are still Pinoy so each product is an effort to keep traditions, colloquial sayings etc.- alive.

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Jobelle, their in-house artist, brings Takatak Projet’s designs to life

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Each taka takes at least 3-4 hours to paint(!)

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Our gracious host, Mary, shares her experiences with the MyMarquee team

Mary says that Takatak Project has made her much much happier.  The steady momentum of the project’s development and the response of buyers and sellers like the MyMarquee team is an immediate feedback for her that she is on the right track in keeping this going. Mary shares that everyone in the Takatak Project did not expect it to go this far. Since their usapang lasing session 2 years ago they have attended 8 art fairs and arranged one exhibit. The team has met so many fellow crafters and seen their development too. “I cannot help but myself lucky to work on a pet project that I thought would remain a line and doodle in an old sketchbook,” she expounds.

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Traditionally-painted takas

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Masterful designs peek out from under plastic covers

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The living room is now a home for the exceptional takas

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The MyMarquee team documents the inspirational visit

“MyMarquee will play a big role for us in terms of streamlining our online selling methods. We design everything too and have day jobs. I personally find  it hard to keep track of orders and follow a schedule of production. But when we signed up with MyMarquee this year we were happily forced to come up with a collection and have definite price points.”

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One of our (creepy) favorites

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Amazing attention to detail is given to each taka

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Mary on supporting handmade: “Hand crafted things reflect a lifestyle. Oftentimes they are made by a community and a person and not by a machine. For crafts like takas especially, it is part of the culture and day to day lif of a province and that makes it more valuable for me than it’s actual cost.”

All photos by MyMarquee

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2 thoughts on “Featured Crafter: Mary Velmonte of Takatak Project

  1. Dear Sir/Madam:

    Greetings from Abiva Publishing House, Inc.!

    Abiva is a Philippine publisher offering textbooks in basic education. We are currently working on a MAPE (Music Art Physical Education) textbook. Our author wishes to include in her textbook the photo of animal figure paper mache featured in this website (as seen in https://mymarqueeph.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/p1050315.jpg?w=760&h=570 ). In light of this, may we respectfully request your permission to reprint the photo being referred to in the link provided.

    We sincerely hope for your favorable response to our request. Please send us your reply stating your permission and/or other conditions we need to comply with.

    Thank you, in advance, for your prompt handling of our request!

    Kindest regards,

    KAYPEE BELTRAN
    Book Development Researcher
    Abiva Publishing House, Inc.

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