Island Life with Hannah Haworth

MF Editor note: Hannah Haworth is the founder of Handa, a company that provides contemporary handmade textiles and soft goods crafted by the indigenous women of the Philippines. We have long admired Hannah's meticulously & beautifully crafted work and were so inspired by her efforts to help the indigenous Philippine communities that we awarded her a grant to contribute towards her recent journey to the Philippines and to share her story when she returned. Below is an account of her recent adventures. 

Last month I left my studio in upstate New York to visit the Philippines with a goal to touch base with everyone involved in Handa and catch up with some old friends.  Here are some highlights from the short month I spent there...

In the garden with Adelling picking cotton for spinning and gathering indigo

In the garden with Adelling picking cotton for spinning and gathering indigo

Spending time with everyone and being part of the peaceful mountain village life.  You hear the Mangyan often use the phrase 'simple lang' when describing their lives, it means 'only simple' and I find it quite beautiful.

Mayang, an old family friend who I stayed with and one of the weavers at Handa (see above) made these amazing 'pilipit' on my birthday.  Similar to a donut made with rice flour (that they ground from scratch with a tree trunk!), deep fried in coconut oil and then rolled in fresh cane sugar.

These women are the newest Handa employees! Note all the handwoven skirts.  They are all from the village of Batangan where I spent many years as a child, everyone in this picture has known me since I was a toddler- I feel so lucky to be able to have a life where I can spend time making beautiful cloth with old friends and call it work. 

After leaving the mountains I spent my last couple of days in the Philippines enjoying the beautiful coast that inspired the many traditional Mangyan symbols I like to use in my patterns.  Sleeping on the sand, swimming with all the colorful fish and eating fresh fruit from the local markets.  Simple lang!

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