It is said that true, lasting beauty is rare to find. Upon discovering Inabel, a unique handwoven fabric native to the Ilocano region in the Philippines, we knew that we had stumbled upon something truly special.
Coming from the root verb -abel, which means to weave, Inabel fabric is woven on ancient handlooms using specific techniques handed down through generations. The distinctive fabric is used to create beautiful blankets, pillowcases, tablemats, sweaters, and shawls.
THE INABEL TECHNIQUE
The making of the fabric is an intricate process that starts from turning cotton fiber into spools of beeswax-brushed yarn, which is then woven together on the loom. The unique Inabel handcrafts can be recognized by commonly used geometrical designs inspired by nature:
“kusikos” (spiral forms like oranges), “inuritan” (geometric design), and the most challenging “sinan-sabong” (flowers).
It takes two weeks just to set up these meticulous patterns on a loom, which produces only about two meters of fabric a day. Each thin cotton thread must be counted and arranged according to color before it is wrapped into the loom. In a rhythmic manner, the steps of the wooden pedals and the knots of each crisscrossing must move seamlessly to avoid a messy tangle.
THE HISTORY OF INABEL WEAVING
The forefathers of the Ilocano region practiced weaving until industrialization and the common trade took over the small village enterprises. However, weaving is still the primary source of income for the women in the region, who understand the delicacy of their trade and are fighting to keep the tradition alive.
The Inabel weaving method requires mathematical precision and long years of training. To produce a fabric of this quality and design, it takes dedication, passion, practice, and patience.
PRESERVING AN ENDANGERED TRADITION
This age-old craft technique is slowly dying due to the popularity of modern technology, replacing the rawness of art with machine-precise pieces produced in masses around the bigger cities. It is not that we would shun industrialization — we believe in the good of it all, but we believe that there needs to remain a delicate balance in our modern world and the treasures of ancient traditions.
You see, arts and crafts can tell a story of thousands of years. They carry the customs of the people, skills, and mediums used to do arts carried from one generation to another. Our Inabel pillows are unique, rare treasures to hold onto for a lifetime. They carry these age-old customs and crafts from the Ilocano region all the way to your home.