"Life had stopped."
On June 1991, after 635 years of dormancy, Mount Pinatubo erupted on the northern island of the Philippines. News quickly spread across the globe, that the volcano had ejected billions of metric tons of magma and sulfur dioxide.
This had marked the eruption as the second most violent terrestrial eruption of the 20th century. Ash particles remained suspended in the atmosphere reaching as far as Russia and North America effectively decreasing the world's temperature by one degree Fahrenheit.
In our small town Concepcion, Tarlac, riverside villages were covered in pyroclastic flow gushing from the Sacobia River.
Homes became uninhabitable for the next foreseeable months. Communities struggled to relocate inland, doing their best to reclaim what was left of their homes.
Post-eruption, the entire province had to start from scratch. Economic activity was mainly for survival on a day to day basis. For the next few years many of us struggled to find a stable livelihood worth pursuing.
"Raw and Instinctive."
An epiphany came to us as we were travelling by the hardened ash dunes of the Sacobia River.
Maybe the community can express their story through the the remnants of the eruption. A sort of healing by poetic justice.
To transform ash into art.
This opened up an exciting new medium. Crafting nuances were unexplored and everything had to be learned from scratch.
Sacobia River Post-Eruption (1992)
ASH INTO ART
Karakal a bato hanggang ngeni,
pwedeng magamit keng aliwang bage makasaup?
There's so much ash until now,
can it be used for something good?
SOUTHEAST METRO ARTS INC
In 1994 with a staff of four, we embarked on an ambitious project of creating decorative handicraft using Mt. Pinatubo ash fall. This material which had once devastated the region’s landscape, is transformed into a source of sustainable livelihood; providing artisanal work for the local community.
Over the past two decades, we have been collaborating with many talented designers in crafting beautiful handmade décor and furniture. Each one tailored to meet the needs of our clients and their design leads.
Our product designs range from table top décor, garden sculptures, planters, wall art, stools, tables and etc.
Our products have reached a diverse range of homes from countries such as the United States, Europe, and the Middle East.