A WORD ABOUT MATERIALS & COLORS
We at Tiki Totes & Bags believe that the rustic quality of our bags is an essential part of their appeal. We support home-based family businesses in the Philippines by using handmade and homespun material. Raw plant materials are processed in local villages, most of the weaving is homespun, and some pieces are sewn in homes. The final process of assembling bags is done in family-run workshops. None of our products are made in large urban factories.
Hand processed natural fibers have variations of thickness and color. Additional processing may improve texture but weakens the fiber. Instead, we accept natural beauty and find weaves that are enhanced by these organic qualities. Some fibers do not absorb dye with consistency, so some are left natural, dyed very dark, or allowed to change colors over time.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Using a slightly damp towel, gently pat the area to be cleaned. Oils, cleaning agents and detergents may damage the fibers. Direct or prolonged sunlight exposure may cause the fibers to fade or crack.
THE NATURAL FIBERS OF THE PHILIPPINES
We use many natural materials and fibers to produce the distinctive looks of the Tiki Totes & Bags collection. The following is a list of material names and descriptions.
- ABACA (ah bach ah) - This fiber, also called Manila hemp, comes from stalks of banana relative, and isn’t hemp at all. It is valued for its natural look and absorbs dye unevenly. Hand-woven Kenya style bags have a one-centimeter tolerance (+/-) in size.
- BACBAC - The strips of abaca bark are softened to produce bacbac. It is used in basket making in the Philippines
- BAMBOO - An incredibly versatile material, strips of the stalks are plaited, framed or ribbed in basket-style bags. Bamboo absorbs dye unevenly, and because it is usually completely hand-woven, there is a one-centimeter tolerance (+/-) in size.
- BANCUANG - This sturdy material comes from harvested and dried cogon (or imperiata) grass. Only a natural color or brown is recommended since it dyes unevenly. It is hand woven, so it has a one-centimeter tolerance (+/-) in size.
- BARIW - This palm-like tree has long, spiky fronds that can be woven after drying and pounding. Cooler and smoother than most mat materials, it is valued for use on sleep mats. Bariw now appears in trendy handbags, placemats and other items. Since it does not dye well, it is usually left natural brown or tinted dark.
- BUNTAL - is made from the large stems between the trunk and leaf of the Corypha palm. Desirable because it is a long, tough fiber, it was originally used instead of bamboo in hand woven hats, bags and mats. Today it can be woven on looms into a very attractive and durable cloth.
- JUTE - (also called saluyot) Jute was used for rope in ancient times. Today, the use of it in fabric is called burlap. It was the Biblical “sackcloth.” Strong and durable, but dyes unevenly.
- LUPIZ - The skin of abaca is treated to produce lupiz, which is then hand woven. It also has a varying absorption of dye, and bags made from this fiber have a one-centimeter tolerance (+/-) in size.
- NITO FOREST VINE - This thin-stemmed vine grows widely in the Philippines. Its outer skin is usually woven without curing or drying. Its natural colors vary from green to light brown to black.
- PANDAN - (also known as sabutan or karagumoy) Grows wild on the seacoast. Pandan shrub is also called “screw pine” because of its pineapple-like leaves in a corkscrew pattern. It dries unevenly so it is used in irregular weaves and the uneven dyeing produces color variations.
- RAFFIA - (also spelled raphia) It is obtained from the pinnate-leaved raffia palm tree. The leafstalks are used to make strong fibers commonly found in items such as hats, baskets and mats.
- RATTAN - Also called cane, this palm family vine climbs into the sky by twisting itself around trees of the jungle canopy to flower and drop seeds. When cut into strips, it is easily bent and holds its shape when dry, so it makes great baskets and furniture.
- TICOG - This soft, jointless and upright plant stalk grows in the Philippine wetlands. Since it dyes unevenly, it is only used in its natural color. Ticog is commonly used to weave (usually not closely) into twined baskets.
* The buntal, buri and raffia fibers are obtained from the buri palm Corypha elata (Roxb). The palm, reaching heights of twenty to forty meters, has large, rounded, fan-shaped leaves that grow up to three meters in length. Buntal is extracted from the petiole of the leaf, buri is the matured leaf of the palm and raffia is the young shoot or leaf.