It all started with a story about a search for a red paper mache horse in Paete, Laguna; a visit into an old workshop that was dark and dramatically lit by a just a sliver of light, and an old man who was busy crafting, which at that time, it seemed, that his craft would die with him.
This was part of the buzzed conversations that 3 advertising friends were having when they started to wonder about what they wanted to do with their lives outside of work. Of course there were lots of stories, but this was that ONE story that lingered on way after the hangover was gone.
What seemed like a foreboding end to a craft was actually an opportunity to make a new beginning for Missy Galang, Claude Rodrigo-Canete and Dexter Canete —- the instigators behind the craft initiative called “The Takatak Project”.
Taka means “molded from”, so a paper mache piece molded from a wooded or fiber glass sculpture is actually a Taka. Takas are a traditional artisanal handicraft, made in Paete, Laguna, with the red paper horse being the most well known form. They are 100% hand-made and made on demand. Taka making is part of the lifestyle of the community of Paete.
The Takatak Project pioneers started out with a capital of P2000, spent on 50 pieces of takas and paints. Their very first designs were color blocked takas of different sizes. Over time they have been able to streamline their design and production process since the business aspect of the initiative aims to make the aesthetics of the Taka more contemporary. Takatak Project’s paper mache horses are of different sizes and finish.
The Takatak project is a craft sustainability initiative that has: 1. Educational programs to help the younger generation informed about the takas 2. Business programs that sell and generate business for the taka crafters of Paete, and 3. Art exchange programs that help contemporary artists and crafters learn from each other.
What Takatak hopes to have to do on a larger scale in the future is having annual exhibits, and having go-between sessions between the crafters of Paete and contemporary artists. They hope to spread Taka awareness via education and hope that Taka history is part of the national elementary art class.
Takatak Project is part of the CraftMNL community and a staple in craft fairs such as the Alabama Street Fair and the Sta. Elena Balik Bukid Fair. They are also marketed regularly at MyMarquee.ph and Seek the Uniq.