These designers bring a fresh spin and perspective to the art scene.
Through the act of invention and reinvention, what is old becomes new, the familiar becomes unfamiliar, and the past brings forth a new dawn to art and craftsmanship. The exploration of our heritage, culture, identity, and memories inspires the work of toy designer Armand Kendrick and tapestry artists Lauren and Kass Hernandez, who push forward the art scene with their new techniques, unique perspective, and creative vision.
Crossing Threads, Tapestry Artists
Born a year apart in Australia as the 1980s came to a close, the sister act developed the “interknot” technique—intertwined chains of, say, Merino wool with varying textures and thickness that graduated to multidimensional relief. Often, their designs were an ode to their Australian-Filipino heritage.
Says Kass, “Our ‘interknot’ technique emerged as a transformative moment in our artistic journey.” After experiencing the loss of a loved one, Kass grappled with weighty emotions and turned to her fibers as a means of coping with grief. Intuitively, almost as a salve, she began knotting them in previously unfamiliar ways. “We integrated those chains as supplementary weft in our weavings, infusing them with volume and texture unattainable through traditional loom weaving.”
“Our personal contribution to Filipino design, I feel, revolves around weaving our cherished heritage into contemporary art,” says Lauren. “As first-generation Australians, we hold our Filipino heritage dear. We cherish the resilience that brought our family to this new land.”
“If we were to present a single work that epitomizes our design ethos,” says Kass, “it would undoubtedly be ‘TRAVERSE.’” The hero piece displayed in the luxurious lobby of Vue Broadbeach in Queensland “embodies our belief in a non-linear path to self-actualization, where progress often involves taking one step forward and two steps back.”
The sisters are genuinely buoyant about the contributions of Filipino design around the world. “Here in Australia, where other Asian ethnicities are more familiar to the Western world, Filipino culture is slowly being put under the spotlight,” says Lauren. “The increasing interest and representation of Filipino artists and creators indicate a positive trajectory.”
Armand Kendrick, Toy Designer
The Industrial Design graduate, 30, each day inhales and exhales, with each deep and involuntary breath, the delight of toy design and its storytelling. “Ever since I was a kid, toys have held a special place in my heart. They sparked my imagination and transported me to extraordinary worlds. Now, I get to do the same for others.”
Resin remains one of his fondest material discoveries. “Most religious-artifact craftsmen highly value resin for its exceptional craftsmanship potential,” he says, “making it perfect for composing limited-edition collectibles and unique designs. Resin’s versatility lets your imagination run wild as you shape and mold your design without any limits.”
Art toys have become more persuasive as collectibles than ever before—and increasingly endorsed by a growing number of once-reluctant consigliere. “As a toy designer, I find great purpose in inspiring the next generation of Filipino designers and showing them that toy designing is not just a dream but an attainable reality right here in our country. I believe my contribution lies in the current scene, where I aim to pave the way for aspiring designers and showcase the opportunities within the toy-design industry.”
Technological advancements, he declares, have made creating complex designs more achievable than ever before. “As I envision the future of Filipino design, I am brimming with hope and positivity.”
Written by VANNI DE SEQUERA. Edited by KENNETH COBONPUE. Additional Reporting by DAPHNE SAGUN.