Collaboration Partner - Weaver Arlene

The Learning Center features bespoke woven seating covers, made from recycled t-shirts. From cities to rural villages things made from woven bamboo or palm leaves are common property in the Philippines.  

Weaving using recycled t-shirts is often used in the Philippines but reserved for making doors mats only. Applying it as seating covers is the first of it’s kind. Native Narrative wished to not only celebrate the weaving method but also raise the status of recycling, as foreign and new is often preferred over local and used.  



Many people in Ormoc City are selling colourful woven doormats made from recycled T-shirts, Arlene is unusual in the sense that she actually makes the pieces herself in her small shop located in Ormoc City  (as opposed to importing them from the nearby city of Cebu). 


For months we had been seeing these matts and discussed the idea of incorporating bespoke pieces in learning center interiors but never managed to find a person with the skills needed to customize appropriate pieces. 

But one day as we walked past we spotted Arlene's shop and began talks on how to collaborate. For two weeks Arlene worked marathon sessions producing beautiful seating covers for Native Narrative's first Learning Center project.


The covers were extremely well recieved with the local kids who enjoys these colourful splashes in the otherwise monochromatic center but also with adults who discussed other ways of using this material; for sofas, in cars etc. We enjoyed these conversations immensely as this  recycled material technique is (at least locally) receiving higher status.


We are very happy to have Arlene onboard our team and to be working with her on our next upcoming Learning Center projects and honestly cannot wait to see what she produces.