Icban Handpainted Jars

Icban handpainted Jars

Icban handpainted Jars

Founder Mr. Ben Fajardo started painting jars in 1979 to supplement his meager food rations while imprisoned during the Marcos Regime for his political beliefs and for opposing Human Rights abuses. His prison cell project soon grew to include other prisoners. What was originally a hobby became a full time means of livelihood when he was finally released from prison several years later. Some of his former cellmates joined him to start their artistic community.

  • Location: Hermosa, Bataan- Central Luzon Region
  • Founded/Organized: 1986
  • Type of business: Family Business
  • Products: Hand-painted Clay Jars
  • Number of workers: 5
  • Male/Female: 2/3

In an effort to help the poor and out-of-school youth who were not qualified to work at the US Subic Naval Base that was the area’s largest employer, Ben began to teach them how to paint. He developed a method to make the production technique interesting as well as productive. Soon he had ten members in his production group. Some developed their hitherto unknown artistic talent and were able to paint their own unique designs as well as make excellent reproductions of tradition art by famous Filipino masters; some worked part-time and went back to school; while still others found a new sense of self-esteem and went to college.

The transient nature of the artists made it difficult for Ben to form a formal cooperative. In 1986 Ben approached PREDA Fair Trade Products for business and marketing assistance. The management of his business was in chaos and he was unable to deliver orders on time or with marketable pricing. After some training at PREDA, he was able to improve the management of the business. With interest-free production loans and orders from PREDA, the former political prisoner was able to give steady work to many youth at fair wages.

The project complied with the Fair Trading criteria of PREDA and became a full member of PREDA Fair Trading by the end of 1986. The jar painters of Hermosa are known far and wide for their fine craftsmanship and world-class design.