“Teacher Lanie, do you know Wonder Girls?” my Korean student was beaming with mirth when she asked me.
“Of course! I know them!” I quickly answered, and the seemingly unending chitchats went on.
Who wouldn’t know the K-Pop dainty girls with fair complexion, long-legged, clad in fashionable dresses, singing their hearts out loud? However, I’m not their avid fan. Sorry for those Wonder Girls fans out there.
But there’s a WONDER GIRL whom I admire since we’ve been friends more than five years ago. Recently, her masterpieces and herself were featured in the 2nd Doll Exhibit in an International Arts Center in Incheon, South Korea.
When I was a wee lass, I dreamed of becoming a fashion designer. I tried to make dresses for paper dolls. I wouldn’t forget the mirthful moments when I realized, I got the passion for dress-making from my mama who used to make dresses for me and my eldest sister, Leah when we were small. But the love to read and write diverted my focus. I never became one. But I’m grateful I read a lot about world-renown fashion designers, fashion icons, being a bookworm; and even write about a doll maker and doll’s fashion designer, being a blogger!
The excitement was so overflowing! I learned that ate Cecilia Dominado Serillano-Park and her dolls were featured in the said event. She even earned a lot when her masterpiece was sold for $279 (300,000 won).
As a token of friendship, I made an interview during our chat so I could feature her. I really wondered how she honed her skill in doll making. It’s been awhile since we updated each other.
Curly Bookworm: When did you discover your fascination with dolls and how did you hone your exceptional talent and skill making/designing dolls?
Cecilia: Actually, I never thought I have a talent in sewing dolls before. I had never tried it before, back in the Philippines. However, when I came here to Korea I faced a lot of difficulties coping in my new environment, so I entered in the Multicultural center support program to learn Korean Language. But I still have plenty of vacant hours at home, making me often homesick and lonely. Until, one day, one of the staff from the center, asked me to participate in a doll sewing class that the center is offering. But still, I cannot join their classes because I was often ill and having daily treatment, so I just asked if they can give me some patterns that i can look at then. I might give a try making one or two. Indeed, the doll making made me busy at home. The thought of making just one become two, three and then more. I just make them because it makes me forget being lonely whenever I’m alone here. The fascination is in every completed doll I make whenever I am staring at them; and the inspiration comes from my husband who always appreciate it seeing me very dedicated in it. One doll after another taught me how to improve my next work, for I can see the flaws in the previous ones. From there, I became better and more creative.
Curly Bookworm: What kind of dolls are u making?
Cecilia: Right now, I am making key-chain size dolls and big doll around 1 foot or more in height: ballerina, just a doll wearing ballooned gowns and my latest work is traditional dress.
Curly Bookworm: Kindly tell me about the doll exhibits 1 & 2 where your dolls were featured, and please specify the organization that catered it.
Cecilia: The exhibit was a collaboration project of different associations like district gov’t and city gov’t, private associations and other groups who promote multicultural programs here Korea in cooperation with different multicultural centers. During the first exhibit, I was not there. I was out of the country that time, so only my doll was able to participate, hehe. Different countries were invited to submit an entry. That time, it was only for displaying all dolls that we made and giving of certificates to the participants. This time, the 2nd exhibit is held at the International Arts Center, in Incheon. It was a showcase of different traditional arts such as handmade traditional dolls, hand puppet dolls and keychain dolls, all for sale.
Curly Bookworm: That’s remarkable! I’m inspired and impressed! What would you tell others who are interested with this kind of hobby, that can turn out to be a good business. I haven’t seen as dainty and lovely such as those here in the Philippines.
Cecilia: To those who will be reading this, I hope that you find your own passion or talent anywhere you are. I also realized that age is not a barrier to begin doing what your heart might desire to do, even sometimes we don’t know that we have those talents within us. Now i don’t start doing dolls alone, I also discovered that I love piano and badminton lessons. Once you discover it or them, learn from your work and love them, if you do that, you will find yourself continuously doing what you’ve started and falling in love in it.
Korean artists such as Wonder Girls can fascinate a lot of K-POP lovers around the world, and yet talented Filipina such as ate Cecile, would always be an icon of skillful hands and sweet heart that shares passion to a fashion-oriented world…world of dreams…world of more than just wonder girls.
© 2013 LAF
Note: Photos credit: Cecilia Serillano-Park. This blog has a copyright . The photos and article should not be used, reproduced and manipulated by any means without a written request and consent from the author.