1. What are your top 3 most memorable experience of the DepEd Mindoro Or. Teacher Training?
For me, there were so many highlights in the workshop which made me realize the importance of book illustrators/writers to interact with teachers especially those in the provinces.
My most memorable was listening to the Hanunuo dialect in the tandem storytelling session of Zarah and Teacher Nesla. It was both fun and moving because all the participants of the workshop got so engrossed in the storytelling and when the Mangyan teacher got so self-conscious after doing so well in her version of storytelling, all the teacher/participants would encourage her to go on by singing the Hanunuo lullaby in chorus. It was all so spontaneous and uplifting to experience.
Another most memorable experience was meeting Teacher Annie Lee who teaches Mangyan children in the hinterlands of a place called Labo and took time to study the Buhid-Bangon dialects and write stories (with Filipino text) for both Mangyans and Tagalogs. I do hope her stories get published!
My third most memorable is not to a specific person but that of the teachers as a whole---their open-ness to learn Zarah Gagatiga's storytelling techniques, Alice Panares' creative writing exercises and even understand the technicalities of illustration was really what any facilitator would wish for!
2. What are your non-negotiables when illustrating a picture book or children’s story book?
I was thinking hard on this. A non-negotiable thing happens when everything has been agreed upon from the very start---the compensation, the manuscript and upon approval of the studies or what we call comprehensives--the final art. It is not that as an illustrator, you'd want to have your way and period. It is just in my view, to allow the creative process to flow unhindered after all is discussed. Any change of storyline should be from the very start. When the final art is presented, that's it. Final.It has been studied through. Non-negotiable. Or else, it becomes more expensive.
3. Why nut art or bao art? How did it came to be?
NutArt or the my artworks in the bao was an idea presented by my husband Michael. He said that the coconut shell is really under-estimated. All the Filipinos can think of it as uling/charcoal. Of course, souvenir shops do have items out of coconut shells but to use it as a canvas has been overlooked. Michael thought of the porcelain plates in Europe where exquisite artworks are painted on them. So why not have a Filipino version of those porcelain plates? He also developed a particular stand for the bao so the whole thing is really hand-made/home-made in every sense. And then he said it should be named NutArt short for (coco)NutArt. So German. So no-nonsense.
4. How to buy your books and acquire your bao art?
The STARS Kindergarten books can be availed or ordered in any Precious Pages Bookstores. Other books can be had online via my other publishers LG&M/Vibal and Bookmark Inc.
I have also a blogspot of the Nutart where you can see samples of what I have had produced so far. http://nutart.blogspot.
I actually do them on commissions so email me at : email@example.com