BAR PINS: THE OTHER SIDE
As we stroll around the crowded city of Iloilo together with my partner Third, feeling the heat of the sun, we paused for a while because a man doing something caught my attention, not because his handsome but because I can see that he possessed a hand of an artist. He has unusual hand movements that I’ve never seen before. He was holding his magical pliers and his other hand holding a kind of stainless wire, so fine and slender, and after a few moments of giving his magical touch to that wire, he made it, a very beautiful masterpiece, a bracelet with beautiful designs on it.
My partner also noticed what I had observed to that man and we discover that he doesn’t only make bracelets but also other kinds of accessories like earrings, necklace, anklets, and rings. Accessories became a part of our life that we inherit from our ancestors but unlike in the past that it is only used in formal occasions.
We had a short interview with him to know why he was engaged to that kind of art making. He said that he is Alex Premor of Cebu and currently staying at Iloilo City together with his family. At first, he was selling all kinds of accessories but it came to a point that he wanted to try something new. After he visited his friends in Leyte, they taught him to make this kind of art, the lettering and designing bar pins. We were shocked after we found out that the stainless wire that he used is the same as what the fishermen used in making fish hook.
What’s good about Mr. Premor’s work is that we are stuck to the idea that accessories are sentiments and designs as fashion; it is worn as an ornament, a love token or a remembrance, a symbol of gender for some, a symbol of status in the society, a description of personality, and a reflection of culture.
In making his art, the customers often suggest what designs or styles that will make up their personalized accessories. Just like for example in bracelet, you can have your name on it. He can make beautiful designs with the use of pliers. Here are the steps we had observed when he make a bracelet but it is also applicable in all accessories:
- All you need is a stainless steel wire (bar pin) that can be bought in any fishing supply stores;
- To make the bracelet with its desired length, cut the bar pin shorter and make a hook on both ends to connect the other shorten parts of it until it reaches the desired length based on customers want.
- As what we had observed, his designs are more on curves and he avoids making straight line designs because it will just make the bracelet lifeless.
- In order to make names or other designs such as heart, stars, and other symbols that the customer wants, all he need to do is to bend and twist the bar pin using his pliers and the rest is with the use of its artistic skills and magical touch.
It is an amazing experience for us to witness the creative ability of Mr. Premor in making such good accessories. I was inspired to let him make a bracelet for me and after few minutes he gave the finished product to me and you will see that it is truly an artist work. Although it is simple but it is elegant and looks like more than its price.
While we are riding on a jeepney going home, we realized how complicated Mr. Premor’s work is. This artwork has a “one strike policy”, he cannot have trial and error, once the bar pin is twisted you cannot bring it back to its original appearance, if so; it will just destroy the smoothness of the wire.
Manual job is a serious task since it needs persistence and patience to finish a certain work like what Mr. Premor is doing. We can’t deny the fact that those beautiful accessories is made not only because of the malleability of the bar pin, but also of the artistic touch of Mr. Premor given to it and its attitude towards its job.
He’s an expert on his field, making personalized accessories and even we are living on modern times, he still opt to earn a living manually with out the use of high technology gadgets, yet his works are elegant and durable.