Traditional art form goes global

  • Community
  • Saturday, 12 Oct 2013

KUCHING: Beads have long held the fascination of cultures around the world, and interest in the decorative ornaments have grown stronger in recent years.

The 3rd Borneo International Beads Conference here received overwhelming response this year with more foreign delegates coming from as far as Germany, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and India, to attend the three-day conference, which was launched yesterday.

The event was organised to provide a networking platform for bead artisans, scholars, researchers and craftsmen from Borneo as well as overseas to share their knowledge and expertise with one another on the subject.

Aaman Rashid from Bangladesh was among them, showcasing his unique assortment of jewellery and accessories created from recycled materials, which he called eco-friendly and “upcycled”.

“What I do is I take natural materials, which can be found almost anywhere like leaves, tree branches, coconut shells, feathers and fishing nets, and turn them into jewellery pieces,” the founder of the popular brand Aadi told The Star.

“In a nutshell, anything that catches my eye can be turned into a fashionable item. I do, of course, incorporate beads from countries like Ghana, Ivory Coast and Chiang Mai (Thailand) into my designs.

“This ensures that every Aadi product is unique in its own way, and every ornament has a name,” said the craftsman, who has been into bead crafting since 2001.

According to him, Aadi is the only jewellery brand in Bangladesh that has been upcycling since the very beginning, which is the process of converting waste materials or no-longer-used products into new items of better quality or with higher environmental value.

“I feel that a conference like this is a great way to get different bead enthusiasts from different parts of the world together and share ideas with each other. It’s been a very enjoyable experience so far, and there has been a lot of interest from visitors regarding my products,” he smiled.

Many other bead makers from different parts of Borneo were also at the conference to display their creations, ranging from the minuscule yet intricately designed multi-coloured bangles to larger bead necklaces reaching down to one’s waist.

The delegation from Sabah caught the attention of many visitors with their designs that incorporated the traditional symbols of the state’s different ethnic groups.

A live showcase by 22-year-old Anna Sual from Kampung Tinangol, Kudat, was also a crowd puller, as the young lass demonstrated just how hard it was to weave a beaded bandolier called Pinakol Pakazan.

The conference, organised by Crafthub Sdn Bhd, ends tomorrow. Tonight it will feature a beads fashion show during a gala dinner.

Presentation of awards and prizes to winners of the Borneo International Beads Awards are also scheduled to take place this evening, with cash prizes of more than RM17,000 up for grabs.

Several workshops held throughout the three days include know-and-show-how on the making of paper and fibre beads, hand-painted eco beads and traditional beads in modern jewellery.

Registration fees for each workshop is RM50 per person, and those keen to attend can register on the spot or by calling 012-854 7277.

The conference is supported by the Tourism Ministry and National Heritage Department, with endorsements from Sarawak Tourism Board, Sarawak Convention Bureau, Sarawak Museum, Sarawak Craft Council, Sarawak Cultural Village, World Crafts Council and World Crafts Council Asia Pacific Region.

Details and entry forms can be obtained at CraftHub’s website

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