Arlene Sy
Art + Illustration


My journey as an artist chronicled in life events, thoughts, and musings.

A home-made affair in Antipolo

I'll always remember the latter part of 2014 (yup, a couple years ago) as a busy and exciting time for me. It was then that I first ventured into producing a small line of paper goods. Not only were they received so well by the general public, but I got the chance to open up to the bigger local art scene, and I met so many incredibly kind, talented, likeminded people in the process. 

Among the events I was fortunate to participate in was the Artis-Artisan Bazaar, which was held in December that year. It was a unique, intimate, art-filled affair, and unlike any other bazaar I'd attended.

Marie, a graphic designer by profession and one of my friends from high school, was back in Manila after having lived and worked abroad for several years. (We worked together on our high school yearbook--she's one of the most creative people I know!) We reconnected when I found out she and her family would be making the Philippines their permanent home. Likewise, she learned that I'd been doing art on a full-time basis for a few years now. Since I'd started selling paper goods that time, she wondered if I'd be open to participating in an Antipolo-based bazaar she was organizing. I immediately said yes, but I got even more excited when I discovered how beautiful the venue was--and to know that this gorgeous home was hers!

During this event, I had the pleasure of setting up a small table with some of my paper goods alongside Lorra and Elbert's (whom I'd also invited to join), as well as a handful of artists, entrepreneurs, and creatives who were invited for the occasion. Among those who set up shop was Marie herself, who collaborates with her cousin on a lifestyle concept called Luona Concept Store.

Throughout the day, Marie, her husband Vitty, and the rest of their family graciously welcomed visitors to mingle and participate in the various scheduled activities--a soapmaking workshop, watercolor demos, calligraphy demo, free yoga session, and cozy outdoor film-viewing, to name a few!

The central part of Marie and Vitty's home--a beautiful dining area with a gorgeous ten-seater table--became the main workshop/demo space for the day. In the morning, Marie's sister-in-law Ana, who makes lovely handmade soaps via Bodyfood All-Natural, ran a soapmaking workshop (photo above). In the afternoon, Marie demonstrated her skill and passion for calligraphy, including her inspirations, resources, and process, in an intimate one-hour session where participants got to try their hand at the craft (unfortunately, I failed to take photos during this time!).

I was absolutely charmed and inspired by Marie and Vitty's home (which they fondly call the "Bee House"). Their unique style and personality shines through in every single space and corner. I learned that Vitty, a mechanical engineer by profession, had recently nurtured a passion for home design and architecture, which helped while the couple planned and conceptualized the look of this home. (You can view more of Vitty's work here.)

Their home had been featured as the cover story of Real Living Magazine's October 2014 issue--and it's no wonder! All day, I swooned over all the beautiful rustic details, noticed how each nook exuded a warm, personal vibe, and ogled at how every space effortlessly let nature in. Despite the drizzly weather that day, the sun never failed to make an appearance, even indoors. It was an absolute joy being surrounded by all the greenery and foliage, away from the hustle and bustle of Manila.

Apart from selling goods, reconnecting with old friends and making new ones, and enjoying Marie and Vitty's gorgeous home, what I also looked forward to was watching Marie's amazingly talented mom-in-law, Emma Gutierrez, work her watercolor magic in person! I started following Tita Emma online when Marie informed me about her work. (If you're not familiar with her art yet, do check out her work on her Instagram account.) When I met Tita Emma for the first time earlier that day, I was probably grinning like a deliriously happy fangirl; and I must have had my eyes glued to what she was doing during her demo. (I was also invited by Marie to conduct a watercolor demo later that day, but my session probably paled in comparison!)

So... I was clearly excited when Marie informed me that they were organizing a second run of the bazaar this February! As in the first time, it'll be held in the same cozy home and outdoor space, and will feature an even more exciting roster of sellers and activities--including art, craft, and typography demos, mini workshops, a free yoga session, and an all-day pottery party!

All the details in my next post!