NITO-WEAVING:   THE ART,  THE INDUSTRY AND ITS FUTURE  

 

Filipinos are first class-artisans known worldwide. The creativity of a Filipino must never be doubted.  He could offer to the world God-given talents bringing smiles in every face that a gift will be shared.

Filipino artistry is especially evident in their wood crafting as well as in handcrafting.     They enjoy a distinct advantage, being able to work Philippine woods of such hardness that no nail can be driven into it, and so heavy it sinks in water. They inexperienced in such medium and furniture grade hardwoods as Tindalo (deep, auburn red) and Kamagong (ebony either white or yellowish stripes or dots) and of course, Narra, the most known Philippine Hardwood most known by furniture folk internationally.

However, this weaving industry has yet to receive nod from international audience.  Weaving industry is still in its infant stage for the time being as compare to the woodcraft industry.

Visiting Dipolog City particularly in Cogon, Diwan and Gulayon one would be able to see “nito”.

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Nito Vines
 
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Nito Strands
 

Nito weaving is the outgrowth of the earlier experimentations with uses of materials from vine. Some may say that the use of flat and round vegetal materials to make basketry and matting is very ancient but Dipolog weavers in Cogon, Diwan and Gulayon are now busy weaving at the very moment you are reading this.

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Nito Weavers
 
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 Dipolognon weavers are attaching two sets of flexible elements over and under each other repetitively to form a basket or a bag  
 
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Gulayon Nito weavers in action Dipolog style
 
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Training future weaver
 
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Ayuha nang ako pagbuhat Nang

The elements may be flat pliant strips, in matting, or soft vines. 

The use of twisted or crudely spun fibers, as cordage is perceived by some as ancient; such cords were used as binders in various types of constructions and were knotted or looped together to form nets for fishing, or capture game since Mesolithic times.

A research have shown that from the Early Neolithic era of civilization and continuing down to present in primitive cultures, peoples have had basketry and cordage; yet only in rare cases did they see that cords, which are essentially yarns, could be interlaced to form a dense, soft fabric or cloth or mat or a bag.

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A handcrafted Nito Bag worth a hundred pesos  

 In addition, information about the formative stages of nito-weaving is exceedingly rare as study of the evolution of weaving will tell because of the perishable materials and the wooden instruments associated with their manufacture.

However, weaving from its construction methods are physically and manipulatively similar.  Thus, the looping or knotting of cords into nets weave and the spiraling of foundations and binders in coiled baskets are techniques unrelated to the interlacing of elements that are which warps and wefts interlace produces variations in the cloth structure or weave. 

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Bags

Each bend of a vine it undulates through another vine that makes minute shadows in the surface, different weaves causes different arrangement of the shadows.  The weaves also variously modify the yarn qualities and colors, since the conjunction of warps and wefts may cause one vine partly or completely to obscure the other.

Another factor which determines the nito handicraft’s appearance, yet strictly speaking it is not the interlacing method itself, it is the numerical ratio of warps to wefts of the nito vine.  This is called the weave count.

In a given square unit of measure in weaving material, such as a square inch, the warps and the wefts may be: (1) of equal number (square count); (2) warps may outnumber wefts (warp face); (3) wefts may outnumber warp (weft face).  A square count or equal ratio permits each system of yarns of equal visibility in the surface of the cloth; whereas the warp face of weft face the yarns of one system predominate over the other.

In a square-count plain weave (tabby), wherein warps and wefts (tabby), wherein warps and under every opposite element in succession, there are many distributed shadows.  If it is a plain weave but warp face, the shadows will be transverse lines because the warps bending over the hidden, crosswise wefts.  In a weft face, the effect is opposite, namely one of longitudinal lines.  These subtle shadows become marked when the subordinate vines are thick, creating a ribbed or rep surface explained by a reference material.  

The weave count can influence color and appearance of the produced product.  Thus, in a square count (of equal number), warps and wefts show equally, hues are muted or changed by crossing of other colors; thus dyed red nito vine crosses light-colored ones look lighter, but when crossing when crossing blacks, darker.

This modulation of colors, when adroitly used, produces subtly beautiful color variations; it is basically a function of the count and weaves interacting with the colors.  If clear-colored longitudinal or transverse stripes are wanted, then warp face or weft face count, respectively, will emphasize them.

Nito, as a vine material, does not need to be treated by soaking, scraping or hacking processes to enhance its natural beauty and color.

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Cowboy Hat

The nito weaving industry is in its infantile stage; the weavers are still dependent in sporadic investments from every now and then orders from both local and foreign buyers particularly from the Japanese people.

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A 20-peso coin purse  

The Dipolog weavers if pumped with investments have a bright future.  No question on the availability of the materials and laborers for the City for are abundant.

If only nito-weaving industry is invested with enough capital and sustained with financial support they can go a long way as other industries the City could offer to any prospective investors both local and foreign.