Elmo's House
Artist Residency

Batan, Aklan

Behind the scenes with Nancy de Mayo

Behind the scenes with Nancy de Mayo

House and Garden Keeper
Batan, Aklan
March 2018


Each day, improvement projects are made to the house as part of the daily routine. Small manageable tasks are done, starting with one room and then another and through these sequential increments, palpable change occurs. Though it is most likely, the improvement projects will never finish, the house is at a wonderful place. From what was once a dark and dusty house, the Residency is now a home that fosters creativity and inspired research. 


With her own style of perfection, she has been instrumental in creating the Residency as it is today.


Working behind the scenes is Nancy de Mayo, who has quietly made her mark on the house with dedicated fervour. With her own style of perfection, she has been instrumental in creating the Residency as it is today. This is most evident in the flourishing greeenery in and around the Residency. With Nancy at the helm, the Residency’s garden is slowly producing papayas, calamansi, chilis, lemongrass, pandan and malunggay. Seeds sent by our good friends from Canada are now sprouting. If everything goes to plan, the residency will be growing lettuce, kale, Brussel sprouts and much desired herbs in the next couple of months. Small flowers are in bloom, brightening up the front garden beds as well as providing much needed colour against the predominantly rock and cement structure. Dancing Ladies which was growing wildly on an old Lanka tree bark, has been tamed, pruned and propagated to twice the amount as before.  


Nancy understands nature here and has expertly coped with the many natural adversaries of the home. House projects are getting executed and the residency has never been more ready for the next set of artists. Currently in the works is the rooftop sculpture garden. There are now comfortable spots to sit and watch the sunrise over coffee, or ponder the out of this world sunsets that blanket the town in hues of pinks and purple. Bamboo now line the front railing adding some privacy. Potted plants are strategically placed to soften the many stone pillars. The plants that grow wild in these parts have been integrated in the garden as well. Though often disregarded as common, these plants are given starring roles at Elmo's House. 


Nancy also participated in artist in residence, Karilynn Ming Ho’s video project, Unique Batan where she showcased her talent in weaving. Her participation in the video then resulted in her woven flowers being included in the group exhibition, Pagunawa along with work by past artists in residence. Experimenting with different applications, Nancy is currently working on a prototype for handmade lampshades using the same technique. 

One of Elmo’s House ongoing project, Elmo’s House Artist Cookbook is a compilation of recipes from contributing artists. Since Nancy is a huge part of the meals at the Residency, she also has a page in the cookbook. 


Nancy came as a referral from a friend and she officially got on board mid-October of 2017 before the second set of artists in residence arrived. The artists who have met Nancy will attest to her important presence at Elmo’s House. Her contributions continue to amass into an astounding body of work, making her an invaluable part of the team. 

What grows in Hard Garden

What grows in Hard Garden

Between the Pages

Between the Pages