Running a household of children and a small
gift shop was time-consuming enough as it was. Never did Corit Alejandro think for
a moment that she would still be involved in creating little decorative items that would
take up the majority of her waking hours.
and the incentive presented itself when the imported items Mrs. Alejandro acquired for her
shop started getting scarce and prohibitive in price. The idea of producing them
herself gained more impetus when her husband took a crash course in ceramics. Armed
with this plus an artistic background acquired from having taken up Architecture in
college having recently combed through books and books on the decorative arts, Corit
Alejandro experimented on figurines and wall plaques.
has fashioned her own technique which she guards with stubborn humility. "You
know how we are here in the Philippines about imitating things," she says rather
amusedly, while admitting that she herself took her inspiration from imported items.
that her technique involved a process similar to that of papier-mache but will say nothing
further. She uses molding compound for some figurines and wall decor which results
in products that are similar to ceramic but do not require baking. But her most
ingenious works are wooden items that combine techniques of ceramic, decoupage, and
Corit's secret formula. Most of them have a wooden base with the main figures such
as flowers embossed at varying levels. They are much lighter than ceramic or molding
compound and fortunately can serve as the original from which molds can later be made.
As works of art, they cannot be duplicated, hence the higher price they command.
Mrs. Alejandro, in fact, refuses to part with some of her original wooden plaques.
recognizes the fact, however, that the market for such items is limited. The plaque
take better to an antique finish which she says used to be refused by customers on the
premise that they were "dirty". "Tastes are slowly changing
however," she observes, "and people who have gotten used to the 'dirty' look are
beginning to demand for them."
Mrs. Alejandro with her creations are daughters Patricia, Imelda, and Peggy. While
household helpers and the one full-time carpenter they employ work on molds and the
painting process. They have no such workshop for this work, any place will do.
One encounters them sitting over the living room table, even in bed while working
on a particular item. It gives them the feeling that it is really not work; rather,
a profitable way of expressing one's artistic bent.
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