Homegrown Cebuana Artists: Creative and Crafty

Café Caw regulars and arts & craft aficionados were in good company with homegrown Cebuano artists for a fun Summer Crafternoon. The Cebuano artists held capsule workshops on different arts and crafts topics and everyone in the café had a lot of fun making summer flower crowns, rubber stamps and painting their colorful masterpieces.

Gizelle Faye Bunagan, stylist of Cuckoo Coud Concepts, is a kindred spirit and a risk-taker who has an undying love for books and art & pop culture. She finds music an escape from reality and a pool for inspiration for her style. She is a perfect epitome of quirkiness and aims to put smiles on everyone’s faces.


Sam Despi, illustrator and graphic designer, always loved to draw, but she didn’t realize that it was the only thing she wanted to do recently. After working in advertising for three years, she learned that while she appreciated good layouts and typography, they didn’t thrill her as much as illustration did. Now she spends her time building her portfolio, while helping out with the family business. Her favorite things to draw are ladies of all shapes and colors from blue-skinned sunbathers to neon-haired mermaids.


Meream Pacayra, crafter of Bored & Crafty and Thimble Cap, lives for 3Cs — crafts, cats and coffee. She teaches all sorts of craft and art classes in the School for the Bored and Crafty and is the manager of Craft CEBU. She is the chief designer and maker of the handmade brand, Thimblecap.


lifeisbeyeeutiful.com was lucky to have a short talk with these three creative artists: Gizelle Faye Bunagan (Summer Flower Crown Making), Sam Despi (Summer Illustration in Painting) and Meream Pacayra (Rubber Stamp Carving), as they share candidly how they started out in the industry and the challenges they faced throughout  their journey. Read on for more of their interview.

lifeisbeyeeutiful.com: For how long did you get into this kind of industry?

Gizelle: Four years this coming October

Sam: I’ve been in the industry since 2011 not counting my school years. So very recently, five years working in the industry. I worked in an Advertising agency for three years right after graduating and then I eventually discovered that what I really love doing is illustration so I resigned from my Creative Director Job and I became a freelance illustrator.

Meream: With rubber stamping, for three years now.

lifeisbeyeeutiful.com: How did you get into this industry?

Gizelle: Actually the Flower Crown Making is part of my service since I do flowers and decors so I style weddings and photo shoots. I got into this business because of my own wedding last 2012 when I styled my own PreNup and did a few DIY on my bridal décor. I wasn’t into flowers yet because I was still learning. So I started full-blast with flowers around mid-2013.

Sam: I come from an artistic family so I started drawing since I was very little. And my family always encouraged me with the arts.

Meream: I’m into a lot of crafts and one of the things I want to learn is rubber stamping. I learned it on my own – this was like three years ago. So I bought a lot of erasers from Gaisano Capital and learned the art. So that’s how I started. I carved one rubber stamp a day for a year. I got the idea of rubber stamps through Instagram and I find it so pretty. Then I realized that the regular erasers people are using in Instagram is easier to handle than the rubber stamps used by carvers you find in Colon Street.

lifeisbeyeeutiful.com: What are your other inspirations?

Gizelle: It’s a mix of fashion editorials since I’m into fashion ramp even before and also from weddings and movies.

Sam: When it comes to illustration, Malika Favre, John Julian, my family. I’m always surrounded by people making arts.

Meream: Basically when I like something and when I learn how to do it, I just do it. And I have a handmade brand, Thimblecap, if it’s cute and it’s pretty, I want to make it.

lifeisbeyeeutiful.com: What was your memorable project?

Gizelle: Last May 2, we had a wedding in Bohol. It was memorable because it was only 70 guests and the bride is the sister of Marco Alcaraz (a Filipino actor, commercial model and husband of 2005 Miss International, Precious Lara Quigaman) so it was really a pressure for me because Marco and Lara’s wedding was my inspiration back then so I kept on checking their wedding photos. I came full circle when I finally met them. It was also memorable because the bride really fought for me despite that there are already florists in Bohol.

Sam: Each project is exciting. Each brings their own challenges. Every project is unique, you always learn something new. However there’s one in video production wherein our team is tasked to work on a promotional video for the upcoming Sugbo-Chinese Heritage Museum. So we did planning, production design – so for my creative career in general, that was so far memorable.

Meream: This year, this mural (pointing Café Caw’s mural art near the café’s entrance) is my memorable one because it’s a hard project and it’s my first time to paint on the wall. So I asked help from my boyfriend on the graffiti background. We used house paint for the mural.

lifeisbeyeeutiful.com: What was the biggest challenge you’ve encountered?

Gizelle: When the couple doesn’t have a wedding coordinator. I don’t just do floral décor as a florist but I also do wedding details. If the couple doesn’t have their wedding coordinator, I would get into it then it would already become a challenge to juggle between helping the couple out and doing what needs to be done for their wedding since my job is supposed to be décor.

Sam: The biggest challenge for me right now is staying focus and trying to draw everyday. Since I’m a freelance artist and I also help out with the family business which is totally not related with the arts. So finding time to do that to help my family and finding time to develop myself as an artist – keep on producing art work. It can be really tiring especially when you spend a day at the office and when you get home – but I think if you really love something, you really make time for it.

Meream: Of course the availability of materials – sometimes the materials aren’t found here so we have to search them online.

lifeisbeyeeutiful.com: Any upcoming workshops or galleries?

Gizelle: None as of the moment. I did last month on flower arrangement workshop.

Sam: I don’t have a gallery of my own but I have joined several art exhibits by local illustrators. I don’t have an upcoming workshop but I’ll be joining this art exhibit called Design UBEC, there’s no date yet but to those who are interested in the arts, hope you check it out.

Meream: I’m teaching watercolor on May 29 at Craft Cebu in Guadalupe. You can also check out my products (Thimblecap) here in Café Caw for the rest of the month and I also have a display at Assembly at JY.

lifeisbeyeeutiful.com: Any advice for beginners or who are starting to love the arts and crafts?

Gizelle: Just create new things everyday. Don’t compare your work to others because “comparison is a killer of dreams” but if you can’t help it just remind yourself that you are unique and you have your own thing.

Sam: Stay true to your art. A lot of people who wanted to pursue art would end up quitting early because they compare themselves to better artists – some who are younger than you, some who have better training than you – even if you know that, just don’t let it get you down. It’s okay to take breaks and keep on practicing because you are going to get better. If you’re going to work hard on something, you’re going to improve.

Meream: If you like something and you want to make it then do it. Starting it is always the hardest part so if you’re not motivated or not inspired, just do it.


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 For event and wardrobe styling, you may get in touch with Gizelle Bunagan at this number, 0922-8116494 or check out their work at www.cuckoocloudconcepts.com and to get more updates, just add and follow them at Facebook: cuckoocloudconcepts / Instagram: @cuckoocloudconcepts

To check Sam Despi’s world of colors and illustrations, follow her at Instagram @samdespi or you may check her website at www.samdespi.com

For Meream Pacayra’s cool and crafty works, follow her at Instagram @boredandcrafty and add her at Facebook: boredandcrafty.

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