The Takatak Project

It began, as most brilliant ideas do, out of a conversation in a drinking session. Advertising buddies Mary Velmonte,  Missy Galang, Claude Rodrigo-Canete and Dexter Canete wondering whether there was life after advertising. And as usually happens in such conversations, dreams and pet projects come out into the open.

Up And Running Then they found out they were too old for the grant. With
a written business proposal, however, it was easier to undertake and market
the initiative themselves. A plan, coupled with a steady stream of good luck,
led to people and companies that helped them get started. “ We began by
buying 50 pieces of Takas, “ Mary says. “ We created color blocked ones as
well as the traditional red Taka. Now we sell paper mache horses of different
sizes and finish.  We sell blank horse takas, collection pieces per quarter and
per website and we also sell custom-made pieces that can be as special as an
artist consigned piece.  While we still get all our takas from Paete we have
slowly been expanding our products with special molds made by crafters there.”

Mary Velmonte, then an art director in an advertising agency, told the story of her search for a red papier maché horse.  It was a search that led her to Paete, into an old workshop that was dark and dramatically lit by a sliver of light. Inside was a lone Taka craftsman, an old man. Perhaps it was the lighting, or the darkness, or the horses around him, but Mary says, “ The man was old, and it seemed the craft would die with him.” It was then she pitched her idea to keep the Taka craft alive. It was greeted by a resounding “’Yun na iyon!” Missy, a writer, named the craft initiative “The Takatak Project.”

Mary wrote the grant proposal for a craft sustainability initiative with three objectives: one, an educational aspect that would help keep the Taka craft alive for the younger generation; two, a business program that would sell takas to provide livelihood for local craftsmen; and three, an art exchange program that would help contemporary artists and crafters learn from each other.

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