HIS penchant for arts has led him into making functional pieces of furniture with some touches of Mindanao designs for a decade now.
Jon Traya, homegrown artist and owner of Raya Arts and Furniture, said what makes his creation distinct is that in every artwork, one can glean through it a brimming Mindanaoan culture.
But more than just a furniture maker and designer, Jon is also advocating the promotion of different tribes in Mindanao that he plans to come up with one piece that is infused with the cultures of IPs and Moro combined.
“Nag visit kami sa Teduray (South Upi, Maguindanao), may weaving sila, gusto ko i-combine sa design, in that context pwede ang muslim at IP magkasama sa isang design,” he said, adding that even through his creations — an expression of peace — the moros and the IPs can live in harmony.
There, he learned that most of the Tedurays are weaving crafts that can be integrated into his furniture.
“I-integrate lang naman sa existing design, kunyari sa sultan chair ko, pwedeng ibi-built in nalang as accent sa chair,” he said.
Traya had also seen the woven products of the Tedurays with great potential if developed further into other forms other than crafts, which can add value to their products.
Traya added he is also hoping that more budding artists will engage in furniture making following Mindanao designs, and encouraging even those in the industry to go a notch higher in furniture designs.
He said Mindanao has all the resources, a great advantage over the contemporary furniture makers, especially in Cebu and other places in the country, except for one problem: only few seem to have the interest and courage to do so.
“I think may edge tayo. Kasi ang resources galing sa atin. We just ship it to Cebu, and they make use of it. But, why not create our own?” he said.
The artist said Mindanao should go beyond being a supplier, but a producer of high quality furniture.
He said he has maintained few skilled workers for now, adding that most of the designs are coming from him. Sometimes, he outsources some materials, which he will assemble into a functional furniture.
Aside from this, Traya also does interior design. “First things first, dapat may design ka. If you have the design, you can manipulate the materials,” he said.
Among his latest projects are a 12-seater and 10-seater tables, and soon the 14-seater table.
“Hapagkainan talaga. Kasi ang nangyari lumiliit na ang mga tables sa bahay,” he said.
Traya shared his humble beginning having only started small at his own backyard.
He added that his arts and the arts of other artists will soon find new home in a new store that will soon open at The Peak of Gaisano Mall of Davao through the collaboration between homegrown artists, non-government organization, and the mall itself.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 10, 2014.