Much of what I do creatively had their beginnings when I was still very young. I used to hang around my mother a lot as I had very few playmates in our neighborhood. My brother, who used to be my playmate when I was little, now, had his own group of friends. I ended up spending a lot of time at home when I was not in school.
My mother was quite creative with her hands and she used to design her own clothes, Christmas lanterns, very unique custom curtains, her landscape design, as well as other things. She was going to be a teacher, but after she and my father got married, the two of them made a decision that my mother was going to be a-stay-at-home wife and mother. As my father used to say, being a wife and mother was more than a full time job.
The choice of grade school for me to attend was based on it's proximity to our home. This turned out to be the school that was within walking distance from where we lived, almost quite literally behind our house. The school was JASMS in Philam Life, Ouezon City, and it was a very progressive and experiential grade school. Our classes were held outside of the classroom whenever it was appropriate, and a lot of the subject matter we had were built in mini proportions inside our classrooms, detailed in molded clay then paper mached, acted on stage, or observed in the environment. I only realized later on, that what we were learning in my grade school was not the typical curriculum in other schools. Aside from the academic subjects, we also had sewing, arts and crafts, electronics, farming and carpentry.
Between what I learned from my mother and from my grade school, at the age of 8, I was starting to be productive: sewing my pairs of pants, cooking simple recipes, doing arts and crafts projects with my mother around the Christmas season, and had taken an interest in gardening, as I shadowed my mom all around the house. She took the time to teach me how to do things in the house, the kitchen, and in the garden by showing me and by explaining step-by-step. By the time I got to school, I knew a little bit more than my classmates when it came to our cooking, farming, and arts and crafts classes. As I grew older, in the intermediate grades, I learned how to put together a radio and fashioned out a wooden tray.
As with most Filipino parents, my mother wanted me to learn how to play the piano, just like my older sister whose ambition was to be a concert pianist. After a classical music teacher told my mother that I was not cut out to learn the classical way, but had a good ear for music, my mother got me a teacher to teach me to play by ear. So when I hear something, I can go home and play it in my own version.
At my age now, I have developed some hobbies because I have more time on my hands. I am not professionally trained, except in sewing and dressmaking, but a course or two here and there, reading about it, watching a demonstration, or simply daring to experiment or try something new have gotten me to doing a number of things which I find enjoyable and worth my time. I count among them experimental cooking, sight seeing, ceramics, flower arranging, photography, and the most recent one is painting.
Just like in my piano playing, when I taste something, I can pretty much duplicate it in my kitchen. When I see something I like, I get inspired to create my own design whether that be a ceramic piece, a fashion item, or something. When I need to come up with a design, I can picture it in my head - as it is in flower arranging. When I take pictures, there's some kind of a story that I follow and then it gets its structure once the pictures are organized into an album. As for my painting, that is a most fun activity for me as I just start to put my feelings, thoughts and ideas onto a canvass, where the words are the colors I use in the strokes I make.
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