It was our first time to attend an ArtFest or art festival yesterday, October 1st. I learned that SM, the country’s biggest chain of malls, is opening a new section in their department store that will house various art and stationery supplies, and they’ve been promoting this all over social media. One of the local artists that I have been following on Instagram also posted about this, since he would be among the featured artists/guest instructors at the said event. Needless to say, as soon as my daughters’ Awana Club meeting was over, we headed to the venue, SM SouthMall, to check it out.
Various art brands had booths set up at the activity area. The staff were very welcoming and accommodating, especially the ones from Simbalion. They had set up a workshop area for kids and adults alike to try watercolor painting using their products, and Big ‘n Lil Sis were immediately lured. As they started painting, I headed to the booth(s) promoting Abbey Sy’s works. Abbey herself was on the stage, autographing books, and I wanted to meet her personally. I have been following her on Instagram too, and I’ve been hoping to attend one of her workshops in the near future. I could have already done so that day, except I didn’t know that the event would start as early as 11 AM, and the first part was to be facilitated by Abbey herself. Well, it was already over by the time we arrived.
For every PHP300.00 worth of purchase at the participating booths, one could choose to join any workshop, or so I was told before I started adding to my initial purchase of Abbey’s books. Apparently, the fine print in their flyers stated that to be able to join a specific workshop, you must purchase the said minimum worth of items from the participating brand (in the event area) sponsoring a particular workshop. Anyway, we still had a great time and we were eligible to join five workshops, which my daughters and I took turns attending. The event organizers were kind enough to allow us to choose any workshop that we liked.
It was nice to see Big ‘n Lil Sis both so happy while doing something together outside of home again. Lately, my soon-to-be-teen daughter, Big Sis, has become so moody and prefers to stay home most of the time, refusing to accompany me (and Lil Sis) to some errands, etc. Yesterday, however, my girls seemed excited all throughout the day. As usual, I bought stuff for my girls that in the end, I had nothing to call my own. I had to make it clear to them, however, that some of the things we bought were to be part of Big Sis’s early birthday presents and Lil Sis’s early Christmas presents.
I’m glad that SM has finally caught up to the arts and crafts trend. Most decent art supplies are rather expensive and many of the high-quality product lines are usually available only from online resellers. At SM Stationery, however, even the newbies or hobbyists would have a field day. Did you know that I could spend hours at a bookshop checking out not only the books but also their stationery? I think it’s time I admit that it’s those small purchases of stationery and books, especially ebooks, and art supplies that ruin my budget every month!
The artists SM have invited were all really good too. However, among the the three workshops we have seen/attended, I’d say that Ian de Jesus was the best (instructor). He came on time, he spoke clearly, he had rapport with his audience, and he was very systematic in leading his audience into creating floral designs, using his sponsor’s products, the Korean brand Dong-A.
It was obvious that Ian really took into consideration the fact that his audience may not have no idea at all on what to do. He encouraged everyone, especially the adults, to rediscover their interests in art, to remember how they used to draw with abandonment on any surface while they were kids, to avoid overthinking, and to just let go and start creating. By the way, Ian was also our instructor at the Basic Watercolor Workshop for Mommy Bloggers Philippines at The Crafters Marketplace, so this was my second time to meet him.
Not to be biased though, Ella Lama and Carl Chua were also very good artists. I didn’t get to attend Ella’s class on using watercolors, but Lil Sis did while Big Sis sat with her and tried to assist her. Ella was good, but her class seemed more tailored to young kids, which Lil Sis thoroughly enjoyed along with other children. She was also very friendly, having small talks with her audience, especially after the class.
Carl’s Gothic Calligraphy class, on the other hand, seemed best suited to those who already have some knowledge or experience in calligraphy. From explaining the Pentel calligraphy tools that he would be using, Carl seemed to just went ahead with the lesson, demonstrating to the class how to do Gothic calligraphy. He would go down the stage though and go around checking if the students were able to follow. He was even kind enough to guide Big Sis, writing with her side by side.
The SM Art Fest is to be held at various SM malls on weekends. I wish I could bring my girls to all their events, meet all the participating artists and learn from them, but I think yesterday’s learnings are enough for now. I believe Big ‘n Lil Sis not only enjoyed, but also learned a lot–and so did I–and they certainly went home with more ideas and confidence to create more art. ❤