Artisan Lanelle Abueva-Fernando Handcrafts Mugs that Symbolize the Filipino Spirit

There is always a story behind every piece of art that gives its special meaning. It can be borne out of the artist’s vision, symbolize an experience, or simply exhibit years-long honed craftsmanship. The works of Lanelle Abueva-Fernando, a Filipino potter based in Antipolo City, Philippines, is a culmination of all three. This is what makes her handmade stoneware ceramics special—and she’s sharing her artistry with Filo Artisan Trade.

About the Ceramicist

Lanelle Abueva-Fernando is a Filipino potter who specializes in handmade stoneware ceramics. She currently produces stoneware ceramics for hotels, restaurants, and companies, both local and overseas. She has also had numerous solo and group exhibits.

After graduating with a Certificate in Fine Arts from the University of the Philippines Diliman, Lanelle moved to Japan with her family. Here, she fell in love with ceramics, seeing it used in different styles at various museums. Lanelle eventually apprenticed with a potter in Hachijojima Island for three years, crafting ceramics under the guidance of a sensei.

A full Japanese apprenticeship takes seven years. But excited to work on her own, Lanelle decided to transfer to the US, where she continued her studies at a one-year ceramics program at Sun Valley Center for the Arts in Idaho. The experience was completely different. In Japan, the learning method was strict and structured; meanwhile, in the US, she was granted the freedom to craft whatever she wanted.

According to Lanelle, her current rustic but refined style has been shaped by the mix of cultures she’s worked with, as well as her personal experiences and the people she’s met along the way.

After the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991, Lanelle also started to incorporate volcanic ash glaze into her pieces. It’s a technique she learned from her apprenticeship in Hachijojima, a volcanic island itself. She also partnered with EVA Charity Foundation which supports the indigenous Aeta tribes in Central Luzon. At the time, the organization was helping those displaced by the eruption.

In 1981, Lanelle opened her own pottery studio. Ten years later, she moved to Antipolo City where Crescent Moon Cafe and Studio Pottery, a restaurant, bar, and creative space that houses her own pottery studio, stands.

Behind the Filo Artisan Trade Mugs

Chris first noticed Lanelle’s work from the IG feed of Malagos Chocolate, a Philippine tree-to-bar chocolate maker. He reached out to them and Jen Puntespina directed him to Lanelle.

Lanelle worked with Filo Artisan Trade to create exquisite mugs named after the three varieties of cacao: Criollo, Trinitario, and Forastero. The design was inspired by Filo Artisan Trade’s logo, which was conceptualized in collaboration with Filipino design firm PINO Studio in 2019.

After discussions about the specifications, Lanelle crafted the mugs in her Antipolo studio. According to her, “all stoneware ceramics are handmade and hand-glazed, thus no two pieces are exactly alike.”

A Symbol of Resilience

Each mug is engraved with “2020” at the bottom, a mark of the year the mug was made. It serves as a reminder of a year that brought immense challenges and difficulties, from a global pandemic to three super-typhoons in the Philippines—and how each person exhibited the resilience to come out of it stronger than before, a trait Filipinos have famously shown in countless times of crises.

Just like the mugs, 2020 moulded us into the people who we are today. It helped us put things in perspective, so we could chip off the rough edges. And after a stint in the fire, we came out as better people.

We hope that the Filipino Artisan Mugs reminds us that despite the worst of experiences, we can choose to come out with something beautiful: lessons and memories that are worth keeping.

You can take home your very own one-of-a-kind artisan mug from Filo Artisan Trade. We deliver Australia-wide or you can opt to pick up your order in Caroline Springs, Melbourne.

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