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Friday, May 31, 2024

Hands, heart, and hustle

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Izzie Guerrero-Puzon’s journey from grief to creative growth

A polymer clay workshop in Makati in 2018 led me on an unexpected creative path. At the helm stood Ingrid Guerrero-Puzon, or Teacher Izzie to her students, as her warmth and enthusiasm radiated all over the room. Little did I know that day I spent as a kid once again would mark the beginning of a mentorship and friendship I deeply treasure.

Izzie’s love affair with crafting has deep roots. “I was in elementary when I started to enjoy drawing for my school projects. By the time I reached high school, I was busy making props for our school projects,” she recalled.

“I guess I got my fondness for crafting since both of my parents, especially my mom, were equally creative.” The seeds of creativity, sown at a tender age, would flourish into a fulfilling passion.

Izzie provides DIY kits as well as on-site and virtual workshops to make the art of crafting easily accessible

Her foray into handmade products is as diverse as it is inspiring: accessory making, polymer crafts, metal stamping, leatherwork, perfume, candle making, and even floral crafts and bespoke fragrances. This diversity speaks to a limitless curiosity – a manifestation of artistic spirit.

While Izzie initially pursued a traditional path with a degree in business, fate had a different plan. Crafting became her outlet and source of strength after the loss of her parents. “Crafting helped me with the loss of my parents,” she shared. “I decided to pursue a handmade business in honor of my mom and dad.” It’s this heartfelt connection that adds a deeply personal layer to her creations.

The master crafter’s prowess in crafting spans floral crafts, polymer crafts, and many others

Beyond personal fulfillment, Izzie’s drive stems from a desire to make crafting accessible and empower others. She shared, “I wanted to create products and activities that could be readily accessible to people no matter the distance. Hence, my DIY Kits, on-site and virtual workshops, and events.” There lies the beauty of her approach – she does not merely create; she builds bridges, enabling others to find joy in their own creative explorations. I am proof to that as a former student.

“I find crafting has helped me in terms of expressing my creativity and artistry,” she explained. “It also taught me a lot in terms of patience, discipline, and determination.”

The act of making becomes not just a process but a journey of self-discovery, nurturing skills that transcend the work area. It is a therapy in different forms.

Izzie teaches the art of crafting using different materials like polymer clay to participants of her workshops

Izzie’s impact as a teacher is undeniable. “As a craft teacher, I find great fulfillment in being able to share my knowledge with my workshop participants. It makes me happy to have the opportunity to create handmade creations and at the same time get to know different people.”

Witnessing that spark of creativity ignited in others is perhaps the most rewarding form of success. Indeed, you can count on her to extend help beyond the workshop sessions.

Izzie’s talent has reached impressive heights, even gaining the trust of media outlets, including an international TV network. “My most memorable experience was when I became one of the workshop facilitators for an international cable channel which had a live streaming event here in the Philippines.” Yet, with every achievement comes a humble heart and just pure dedication to her craft.

Speaking of those who have paved the way, she emphasized, “I am thankful that my husband has always been supportive and helpful!” Crafting often requires a community of support, and Izzie gracefully acknowledges the role her husband plays in her success.

I bore witness to her husband helping her in sorting out materials for her workshops.

Crafting serves as a journey of self-discovery for Izzie as it had carried her through tough times in her life

“Crafting has many benefits. It can be relaxing and therapeutic, a great way to express one’s creativity,” Izzie mused when asked about what she values about crafting. “It also encourages communication and interaction with others.”

In a world often dominated by the digital, crafting provides a grounding counterpoint, offering tangible rewards and encouraging much-needed human connections.

When asked about her future vision, Izzie’s generosity of spirit shines through. “My dream for Provenance [her business] is to continue to grow and someday be able to provide an affordable venue where other artisans from different crafting communities could hold their workshops.” She is not just building her own brand, she envisions a thriving creative industry where everyone has the chance to shine.

My own crafting path has been lovingly shaped by Izzie’s influence. She’s both a mentor and an inspiration – a constant reminder that crafting can heal, uplift, and empower us to create lives defined by passion, purpose, and conviction.

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