Here are the projects we have developed and embarked on with various Rural Longhouse communities in Betong Division, Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo.
Our very first longhouse community we started craft development with back in 2016. Specialising in mat weaving, we have since created signature hand-woven table mats by these talented ladies, which make up a commissioned ongoing project. Traditional patterns based on nature or fruit found in the jungle are hand-woven using a polymer box strap material, making it practical and relevant to modern day living.
Here, traditional weaving techniques are preserved and passed down through the generations to produce items that are both beautiful and practical. Easy to wash down when required and great for indoor or outdoor dining.
Once only accessible by longboat, this is one of the furthest longhouse in the Layar area, and this is our second longhouse project under our craft development programme. The women weavers of this longhouse community are continually commissioned with two ongoing projects:
1) Upcycled Fan covers: Once tarnished and tatty unusable fan covers, the transformation into these vibrant trays is nothing short of brilliant. Challenging traditional weaving skills, colourful polymer box straps are woven through the metal mesh of old metal fan covers to produce exquisite ornamental trays. This is a painstaking process that takes up to 100 hours from splitting and processing the material to weaving this finished piece.Also used are natural fibres found in the lush rainforests of Sarawak, hand-woven through the metal mesh. This process can take up to 2 months from harvesting and processing the material to weaving this finished piece.
2) Traditional Iban baskets: reviving and continuing the art of double weave baskets. So fine are their workmanship that unless we highlight that these baskets have a double wall, not many notice the inner layer!
From this longhouse weaving community, attractive Iban motif baskets are hand-woven using polymer box straps complete with handcrafted bamboo or rattan handles. These limited Edition basket totes using mat weaving craftsmanship techniques, take about 4 days each to weave. Design and weaving patterns differ for each single bag; and patterns are continuous without seams; thus making it one of a kind.
A project close to their hearts, this group of ladies were very keen on a cross-stitch project. A relatively new form of craft to this area but the style has caught on quickly and now sashes worn with traditional costumes are made this way instead of the tradition style on a back-strap loom. We have embarked on a fun and colourful cross-stitch panel project with them.