Ilocano weavers learn new loomweaving designs

PAOAY, Ilocos Norte —The next time you buy your ‘Abel Iloko’ (handwoven cloth) products, chances are these may have become more intricate and stylish that goes with modern style.

Leading the way in reinventing the modern fashionista style of unique abel products in Paoay town are some 10 highly-skilled women from the Nagbacalan Loomweavers Mutlipurpose Cooperative (NLMC) who were taught new designs courtesy of the state-run Mariano Marcos State University.

In partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and its implementor, the Research Triangle Institute, MMSU professor Ciriaco Ragual said the new patterns and designs transferred to the Paoay loomweavers were produced by employing mathematical procedures.

The new designs and patterns were exhibited at the University Guest House in Batac City on August 10.

Under a memorandum of agreement signed between MMSU representatives and the NLMC, both parties agreed to come up with modern loomweaving designs meant to improve the textile heritage of Ilocos Norte and make it more competitive in the global market.

For her part, Dr. Prima Fe Franco, Officer-in-Charge of the MMSU said, “This is a big step towards improving the quality of local products that are already part of the Ilocano tradition and identity.”

To date, the College of Industrial Technology based in Paoay campus is equipped with several weaving looms where interested groups may conduct research to further improve the designs.

According to Franco, the university facilitates the procurement of other equipment, supplies and materials including the maintenance cost needed by loomweaving facilities.

The NLMPC also assists the university in recruiting trainees who will fine tune their skills to produce quality abel products aside from serving as resource persons in future loomweavers training programs to transfer said technology to others. PNA/