Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Welcome to NutArt

One of our angels painted on a coconut shell.

The concept of NutArt came one fine morning during breakfast. It began with the topic of making charcoal out of the empty coconut shells left from the previous copra making days. We have more then 30 coconut trees in our garden so beside using the nuts for buko we also make the rest into copra (dried coconut meat). The leftover from the copra making are the coconut shells which are usually made into charcoal (coconut charcoal is so clean and pure so it is used for many filter applications).

Michael reflected on the sturdiness and durability of the coconut shell (or “bao” as it is locally called). He said “sure, making it into charcoal is just but logical but is that all there is to it?” Being Pinay, I said, “There sure are!” (thinking of the Philippine maglalatik folk dance where male dancers use them as costumes and the many souvenir items sold at markets). Michael was driving at something which I could not yet pinpoint, “Yes, but what about painting on it?” I recall looking at him blankly then. My paradigms were stuck to the maglalatik dance and the smiling faces drawn on polished coconut shell bags. I simply had no idea of what he was talking about.

Michael definitely had an idea but did not know how to explain it. So, he decided to draw a series of doodles on our table napkins just to show me how painting in a coconut shell would look like. Upon which he concluded to call it “NutArt.” And that was it.

Michael, by nature, follows the German adages “strike while the iron is still hot” and “make nails with heads”. That is as the Pinoys say “action agad” to the first. As to the second, it means to make something very effective and functional. Now, I really do not know if we have a similar saying to that but I do hope we have one! Anyway, with these German mottos guiding our every step we immediately made the first batch of polished coconut shells and painted on them. After that we asked one of our friends to have them displayed in his souvenir store. We also drove all the way to the Department of Trade in Calapan and had our NutArt’s name registered. All in a matter of two weeks--- Whew!

As it went, the first months were definitely very valuable learning months for us. We kept brainstorming, experimenting and improving on the quality and look of the paintings. We went around the various resorts and observed where they sold well and who actually bought them. Michael also documented every art piece and came up with a database for them. Since then, we have been doing and selling NutArt for nearly two years already.

As we got to know our medium (the coconut shell), we noticed that every individual shell has its own characteristic thickness and texture. Having gone through the fire baking during the copra making, each shell has been automatically cleaned of any rot-causing microbes even before we do the inside and out side sanding/polishing of the shells. Constant care is spent in sorting out those shells which show hairline-thin cracks or unwanted grooves. After the careful selection comes the step of polishing the shell. This takes a lot of time and dexterity. Only well polished shells can serve as the “canvas” for the paintings and get a prime coating. Then everything is hand-painted using top-quality acrylics.

A lot of scrutiny still comes after that and only when both of us (especially Michael’s) give it our thumbs up then the final painting is sprayed with a special fixative. This, as the final layer/sealant, ensures a water resistant, non-gloss and color-fast product. Every NutArt shell is provided with a stand. Michael designed it with an ingenious adjustable viewing-angle feature so the shell can either be placed on a table/cabinet surface or hung on the wall. These stands, by the way, are also assembled by hand.

We do enjoy doing NutArt and because of the many coconut shells we have handled (and are handling), we have a deep respect and awe for Mother Nature’s way of designing her many, many creations.

We hope you continuously peek once in a while in this blog and get to see what we (in our humble way) have co-created with her! And if you feel you’d love to have one---then, they can be yours too! Just send us an email for details. Thank you very much.

God Bless Us All!

Bernadette

Click: ViewPoint House Retreat
(our little paradise)


12 comments:

Beng said...

Welcome to the blogging world, Ate Bernadette. :) Later on you can also put tagboards and links. But way to go, you're off to a good start. And I like your "art." :)

Bernadette said...

thanks Beng for your support! We're on our way to adding more soon, of course!

jr said...

dramatic! i like the black background. it brings out the artwork more (aside from the setting that you chose for the pictorial). yes, this blog can go a long way in promoting the product.

Bernadette said...

thank you jr! I feel like it's a launching of some sorts! Sorry, all we can offer is the candle and the cherub :-)!

carol said...

Woohoo! Welcome, blogger :-D

I've linked you up! And I still owe you a full plug on my blog ;-)

Explore 'Blogger Add-ons' so you can add tools to your blog.

Bernadette said...

thank you carol blogger-guru :-D!

jr said...

it would be better if you posted your new photos at the "headline" meaning the first thing the visitor sees. the "little" writeup about nut art is quite hard to read because it's in all caps and isn't exactly little, too. but i like your photo at the bottom. gives the blog a personal touch. see some fantastic underwater shots at www.tommyschultz.com. it may give you new design ideas for underwater themes. - joy 2 d world

nutart said...

thank you very much for that very helpful tip, jr. We will immediately re-think our setting and formatting. And thank you for the website, too!

nutart said...

hello, Joy! Did the reformatting and learned a lot from it. Hope this looks much better to read. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

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