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Passion for art runs in the family of Afable, particularly in siblings – Ana Belle, Ana Marie, Emmanuel, Pando, and Antonio. When the family's garment factory closed due to the economic crisis, the handmade paper hobby became their secondary source of income. The abundance of raw materials in their hometown, Tuy Batangas, such as sugar cane and abaca fibers, convinced the Afable siblings to continue and established Tuy Arts and Designs in 2012.
With abaca and sugarcane as primary raw materials, Tuy Arts and Designs manufactures handmade paper and GHD (Gifts, Houseware, and Décor) products with quality craftsmanship and innovative designs. Their abaca handmade paper products are Calligraphy Notebooks and Scrapbooks, Tote Bags, Place Mat, and Throw Pillow Case. On the other hand, the handmade paper products from sugarcane leaves are tables, chairs, floors lamps, hanging lamps, twines, glass coasters, and different home accents.
The company also manufactures upcycled products from ground coffee beans, wine bottles, and pet bottles with abaca handmade paper and sugar cane leave to produce home and décor products.
As the business is also thriving due to the pandemic, they thought of ways to remain relevant. Fortunately, the company was able to create an essential product for this time, a face mask. This facemask is biodegradable and made of handmade abaca paper. Furthermore, this eco-friendly face mask is Tuy and Arts Designs' recent innovation as this mask is infused with the seed of cabbage, chili, mustard, tomato, and eggplant that the 'plantita' and 'plantito' customers can plant after usage. A 'plantita' and 'plantito' are Filipino jargon used to describe people who find joy and fulfillment in planting and gardening. “Plantito” = Plant+Tito (Uncle) and “Plantita” = Plant+Tita (Auntie).
In the interview with one of the Afable siblings, Ms. Ana Marie Afable, this handmade paper mask was supposed to be given away only for front liner health workers in Tuy. However, the family sold this eco-friendly mask to the public as a substitute product for commercial facemasks that pose environmental threats. Also, abaca masks repel water significantly more effectively than N95 masks and are regarded as highly safe for use based on a study conducted by the Department of Science and Technology (Global Market Insights, 2020).
By adding value through its innovative and sustainable designs, the local business addresses five UN Sustainable Development Goals: No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Gender Equality, Reduced Inequalities, and Responsible Consumption and Production.
'We are a family of artists and designers. My two brothers and I graduated with Fine Arts. When we established Tuy Arts and Designs, sustainability was the first idea in mind. We wanted to create products that incorporate sustainability with our designs". - Ana Marie Afable
The innate interest and love for arts and advocacy for sustainability inspired the Afable siblings to establish Tuy Arts and Designs in 2012. With their knowledge in design, product development, and visual arts, they aimed to upcycle products out of used materials, particularly waste abaca fibers and sugarcane leaves.
According to Ms. Ana Marie Afable, the abaca waste they are using is from the leftovers of a colleague in Tuy, Batangas, who exports abaca area rugs. Moreover, when farmers sell sugarcane in the market, the sugarcane leaves are removed, and they use these extracts to create their products. Tuy Arts and Designs believe that these wastes could be transformed into masterfully handcrafted pieces rather than ending up in landfills.
The creation of handmade paper products started only as a family hobby, and this hobby became an alternative source of income when the Afable's garment factory closed. The Afable family's notion that their now-thriving handmade paper business is not merely today's hobby but could be the source of tomorrow's paycheck.
The handmade paper products of Tuy Arts and Designs are an eco-friendly alternative to plastic materials, commonly used for product development. This environmental approach in business enterprises is crucial since plastic waste problems have become one of the most pressing environmental issues globally.
In the December 2018 article published by the National Geographic Society, “Here’s how much plastic trash is littering the earth,” Laura Parker cited that 6.3 billion metric tons out of the 8.3 billion metric tons of plastics produced have become plastic waste. Furthermore, only nine percent is recycled, and the majority, 79%, is accumulated in landfills and ends up in the ocean. Hence, this initiative of Tuy and Arts contributes to the societal effort to minimize waste and save the environment while doing business.
The integration of upcycling to repurpose discarded resources and create a more valuable product promotes collaboration among small and medium scale entrepreneurs in the Philippines to showcase design-forward products in the local and foreign markets. Upcycling has paved the way for the Tuy Arts and Designs' products to be featured in various local and international trade fairs, such as Manila Fame, Ambiente Exhibit at Messe Frankfurt in Germany in 2019 Kitte, Tokyo Japan in 2018.
Tuy Arts and Designs collaborates with JunkNot Concept Store, using recycled and sustainable materials to craft home décor and fashion accessories.
The Afable Family members' are affiliated with prestigious artists organizations such as the Art Association of the Philippines (AAP) and Manila Artists groups. Furthermore, they are also founders of several design and artist groups in the CALABARZON region, such as the Association of the R4a Designers Inc., IDEASIA Designs and Concepts, and Pintor Kulapol in Tuy, Batangas. Through these organizations, they spearhead the art appreciation and education of Tuy's youth and assist to livelihood projects by conducting arts and craft classes and training in the municipality, particularly for the wife of sugarcane farmers in the production of handicraft materials out of sugarcane leaves.
As part of the sustainability bandwagon, Tuy Arts and Designs commits to producing high-quality products incorporating its advocacy of upcycling that contributes to waste reduction and preserving our natural resources.
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Ana Marie Afable, Co-owner | Production Manager and Designer
Tuy Arts and Designs, located in Tuy, Batangas, Philippines. A family of artisans manages the company, adept in crafting paper products – the Afable Family. This handmade paper business began only as a hobby, but the family was able to turn their artworks into an alternative source of income. Tuy Arts and Designs has produced quality abaca handmade paper and GHD (Gifts, Houseware, and Décor) products. Aside from abaca, the company also manufactures upcycled products from ground coffee beans, wine bottles, and pet bottles with abaca handmade paper and sugar cane leaf. Their products are offered in the Philippines and showcased in trade fairs abroad.