Written by Aya Marie Somil, B.S. in Computer Science III.
One of the greatest forms of art known to mankind, wood carving has been around for thousands of years originating from Ancient Greece. It has been a magnificent form of art with ideas usually drawn from imagination, nature, and even us humans. Wood carving is still, up to this day of writing, prominent in art classes, museums, businesses, and in our homes.
Intrepid people usually engage in this form of art for a tremendous amount of hard work is required to fulfill an infallible beauty; otherwise a decline in quality would really put the reputation at risk. This posed a challenge for many, but still a few dare to take part in this kind of job description. One of them is Joody Torrebillo, a native of Tigbauan, Iloilo.
Tigbauan is a small town in district one of Iloilo. This beautiful place can be reached by jeepney or bus from Mohon Terminal in about 45 minutes of travel. It consists of 52 barangays, one of which is where I found the great artist.
Joody Torrebillo, a resident of Brgy. Parara, Tigbauan, is a magician of wood carving in his own ways. Already in his mid-40s, Mr. Torrebillo has been in this field for 15 years and his skill as a wood carver took a long way down before having a stable source of income.
This ancient form of art piqued his interest and as he was jobless at the time, grabbed it by the hook. “Manong Joody”, as he told me to call him, started his job without knowledge and thus, had to teach himself by observing others’ work. Also, being an apprentice of an elder and more experienced carver for 2 years, helped him learn the basics.
Initially producing mediocre works, Manong Joody started to ponder through his own imagination, experience, and “diskarte” to improve results. When I asked him how you can make a simple furniture design, a Joody Torrebillo classic, he simply told me that a trademark in his works is a grape inclusion, together with curve-like features except when furniture is a made-to-order product. The designs in these furniture are customized depending on the customers’ preference.
He has done quite a handful using his signature weapons, a chisel and a hammer, in order to impress every individual in town. And luckily, a businesswoman handpicked him amongst other carvers to work for her.
Joody found himself a stable job and is now an employee in Danric Furniture Shop which can be located in the same barangay. He has been in this business for more than five years and he is getting better and better. Having the job in this firm really did have an effect on Mr. Torrebillo’s skills on carving because of how known this shop is which meant more complicated customer demands. These include detailed and hard worked furniture that are mostly done by higher-leveled carvers. He worked hard to comply in the customers’ wants and to reach that certain level as well. “Kanami gid ni siya bala si Manong mo Joody, ta. Bisan ano kabudlay kang design nga gusto sang customer, kuha ya giyapon. (Your Manong Joody is really good at this. Even though the customer’s chosen design is difficult, he still manages to deliver it perfectly.)”, Ma’am Gloria Ledesma, the owner, stated when I asked her what she can say about Mr. Torrebillo’s works in her shop.
Since this work is of utmost importance, Manong Joody wakes up early every day in order to sustain his family’s needs. He can attest his newfound success from art appreciation and interest. He sure cannot last long in this kind of business without having a strong interest in this field of art, can he?
These works shows Mr. Torrebillo’s inclination in using patterns and curve lines. The designs require a meticulous and patient attitude towards carving in order to be perfect. According to him, it takes about 4-7 days of hard work to finish one product which proves how tedious furniture wood carving can be. But having enough expertise in this field of art, Mr. Torrebillo is no longer having trouble in creating his master works of art.
The process starts by Manong Joody drawing his design on a cardboard. He then, cuts out the design he made to be later on used for tracing on the wood where the design will be carved. These designs are then kept for future purposes and also, customer’s basis of aesthetic design for their furniture of choice.
These cut-outs are then placed on top of the wood to be traced and serve as guides. After this, the hardest part of wood carving starts. Mr. Torrebillo mostly, just sit on a stool in front of his work for 7 hours each day to finish a perfected output of hard work and brilliance. “Bisan ano na kasakit sang likod ko ka-carve, ayos giyapon kay nasadyahan man ko. (No matter how much backache I get when I carve. I still feel okay because I enjoy doing it.)”, he chuckled.
These furniture designs are then furnished by other employees with the use of wood varnish and sand paper to bring out its overall beauty. And as soon as the furniture is finished, it is then delivered to the customer in exchange for cash and praise for a job well-done.
Artists of today only rises to fame most likely because of their patrons and of course, wealth. People like Mr. Torrebillo, who have in-born talents but are not that lucky, should have a chance to be recognized. This kind of artists uses their skill to help other people and earn a living to sustain their needs. Most of them are easily satisfied of what they have and just move on in life but little did they know is that they can do better for the greater good. Their skill is a gift and everyone in every corner of the world should know about it.
ARTIST AND EMPLOYER
DANRIC FURNITURE SHOP
Brgy. Parara, Tigbauan
Shop owned by Mrs. Gloria Ledesma
Contact at: 09195541238