Friday, October 14, 2022

Made with Passion: Fiber Arts ft. Aze Ong

Fiber art is the creation of works of art using a combination of natural or synthetic materials. Fibers can consist of cotton, linen, thread, felt, hemp, string, ribbon, wool, silk, acrylic, rayon, and many others. As with any other form of art, the imagination of the artist is the only restriction on what can be done. Forms of fiber art include sewing, quilting, needlepoint, macrame, weaving, felting, crocheting, knitting, embroidery, rug-making, basket weaving, and more. As the years pass, different forms of fiber art and various artists have increased drastically.

One of the artists who became fascinated and loved this type of art is Aze Ong, a 44-year-old Quezon City-based fiber artist who was influenced by some of the well-known artists in and outside the country, Lirio Salvador and Vincent Van Gogh.

Aze Ong’s Life as an Artist

Aze began to discover this type of art when she was still in grade school. Coming from an all-girls school, they were taught to do crochet in their Home Economics subject, which she later fell in love with. For Aze, crochet, as an art technique was very difficult to learn when she was still in grade school. Aze's steps in learning this art became too complicated, not because of lack of her skill, but because she was left-handed, making her different from her teachers and classmates who were all right-handed. During her time, YouTube video tutorials for left- or right-handed artists were not yet popular, and for her, it would have been easy to learn to follow instructions and patterns if there had been this type of technology back then.

Aze never stopped honing her skills, she first studied the basic fundamentals and she also created some free-form projects. Growing up, she did not know that what she was doing could be called art, until in 2010 veteran artist Lirio Salvador mentioned to her that what she was doing were works of art, so he encouraged her to keep making these.

“When Lirio told me I was making art and encouraged me to pursue it, it felt like he taught me a crash course in the arts in a year. I always ask him about the difference between my work with other works using crochet as a technique. It was also as if he was proving my sincerity with my creative process, and when he did, he told me, ‘Yung trabaho mo laging nasa gitna. Yan ang lakas ng trabaho mo.’“ 
                                                                                                                                                 - Aze Ong

Aze was not fully aware that continuing to make projects from the time she learned to crochet in grade school up until now is a continuous mastery of the technique, and of the medium. There is something that she gets to discover every time. Aze stated that in order to Master this Art, start doing the work already. You cannot learn and experiment without doing it. Along the way, you'll discover a lot of things. “Naalala ko si Lirio, sabi niya lang sa akin, ‘Gawa lng ng gawa.’” she followed.

Photo Courtesy of Aze Ong

Art as Aze’s life-long Passion

Throughout Aze Ong's career, many creators have given her inspiration and life-long motivation to continue creating her works. According to her, it is a dream to see the works of Vincent Van Gogh in person because she was greatly influenced by his work. Her Mentor, Lirio Salvador who encouraged her to become an artist and the Talaandig indigenous people are also among those who inspired Aze to take this path. In 1999, when Aze was given the opportunity to live with the Talaandig tribe, there she learned that the melody of a flute cannot be repeated because the music comes from their heart. Here, Aze also saw an old woman dancing the ritual slowly, precisely, and with simple movements that look easy, but how she gave meaning to the movements with strength and presence, made her stand out. The old dancing woman she saw was not wearing her traditional clothes yet she communicated from her soul with Aze. Through the indigenous people's imitation of birds and monkeys in their dance, she discovered how nature communicates and influences a person's life. From this, Aze was given a broad idea of ​​what Art really is.

As for a passion, when Aze was still young, she already had inclinations to experiment with fibers. Her mother built a garment business in the garage of their home, so throughout her childhood, she was aware of thread, fiber, and fabrics. According to Aze, her mother herself designs the clothes they sell, she also goes to the mall to look for designs to be used here, then she would mix and match the designs and put them in one piece of clothing. It is said that Aze will never forget the "summer dress" made by her mother, which became a hit and was well received by the masses at that time. Aze still remembers how it shaped her imagination, she used to make a toy house using discarded fabrics and threads. Growing up, Aze didn't think she was an artist. When she crocheted bags and purses before, she didn't plan any figure or pattern, she didn't count her stitches, as if it gave her the freedom to do according to her ability. This art gave her an outlet for her expression. Fiber and fabric seem to be speaking at her every time as if they were alive like cartoon characters communicating. The colors reveal themselves and everything is just fluid. It's like water calmly flowing. When Lirio told her that she was making art, she had to investigate. This is where her path began in this scene, he became the first critic of his own work. 

“When I am creating, I begin to live in my own world where I don't get to think about anything. It calms me, it releases me from worries. It healed and continues to heal me. I breathe and live art. It is my way of life. “
                                                                                                                                                - Aze Ong
As for her personal life, this art continues to hone and challenge the capacity of her vast imagination, perception, and thinking. This art keeps her sane.

Aze’s advice to young artists

                                “Life will always challenge you in ways that can make you give up, so DON'T! “
                                                                                                                                                - Aze Ong


Some of Aze Ong's Best Artworks

"I am Living with Monsters", Photo Courtesy of Ralph Meting
"Divine Surrender", Photo Courtesy of  Dani of Modeka Art
"Transcendence", Photo Courtesy of Albert Labrador
"Queen Azenith"
"My Soul's Light"

If you want to check Aze Ongs’s artworks and other information about her, visit her Facebook account at and her website at

Written by: Jan Audrey Francisco

Jan Audrey Francisco is a Digital Marketing intern at PS Media Enterprise. He is a 4th-year Bachelor of Arts in Communication student from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

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