My friends, Last year I was invited to present a paper on "The Art of Bead Stringing" and to teach workshops at the 4th Borneo International Beads Conference (BIBCo) in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia on the island of Borneo. It was an amazing time! There was so much to learn, so much to do, so much to see! As a result, I am suggesting to you that if you are interested in making, or stringing beads, or researching the history, origin, or culture of beads you don't want to miss the next International Beads Conference. in 2017. Start planning now! For more information go to www.Crafthub.com.my
Three planes, Twenty-one hours in the air each way, Two airport layovers.... and YES it was absolutely worth every minute!!
Clockwise the view of the Sarawak River from my hotel room in Kuching - breathtaking. There are many shops like this one with lots of hidden treasures (including beads) on Bazaar Row. Bazaar Row is the main street that runs parallel to the river. Then there are the statues of cats every where as the city's name 'Kuching' when translated means cats.
The patterns of the fishing poles on this boat will one day be incorporated into necklace designs. I love how the poles,though separate, come together as a solid force. These are the kind of patterns I work to imitate when I am designing.
This was a fun evening the night before the conference. What a great and knowledgeable group of bead enthusiasts and the food was to die for!
Presenters, Workshop Facilitators, VIP guests, and BIBCo volunteers. The chief organizer of BIBCo and director of Crafthub, Heidi Munan is third from the left in the second row. The following countries were represented by this group, Australia, Britain, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and the United States. I hope I didn't miss anyone.
This is the old courthouse where BIBCo held it's conference. A charming building with an interesting history. The interior is set up around an open court yard complete with a garden. Behind the courthouse the tall building is the home of a huge modern multi level shopping mall.
This is the opening ceremony of BIBCo with from left to right members of dance troupe, Hiedi Munan, Madam Surapee Ronjanavongse from Thailand (WCC), Datum Tulip Zulpilp, Assistant Minister of Tourism Sarawak, MP, Datuk Fatimah Abdullah, Minister for Women and Family Development, Datuk Empiang Jabu, former Senator, and member of dance troupe.
Participants who elected my classes were committed to learning how to incorporate imitation sinew into their beaded jewelry designs. The results were amazing as each created either a pair of earrings, a bracelet, or a necklace.
Every student left with an original design of their own creation, a working knowledge of how to work with a new material, imitation sinew, and sometimes a surprised awareness of how talented they truly are. We all left with new friends!
This was the courtyard of the courthouse and a great place to purchase ancient, rare, collectable, vintage, and some new beads. The rooms used for workshops and lectures were adjacent the vendors' tables. So we didn't have to go far to nourish our minds or our bead collections.
The Gala was held on the last night of the conference. The production, written and directed for the Gala by Heidi Munan was brilliant! It was followed by a spectacular fashion show of pieces designed by artists attending BIBCo. A great time was had by all.
Gifts were presented to the designers who's jewelry was chosen to be used in the fashion show. Gifts were also presented to those who presented papers.
Clockwise starting with the Journal. This is the Borneo International Beads Conference 2015 Joural besides the paper I wrote on "The Art of Bead Stringing" there are several other papers on beads from ancient to modern. If you wish to acquire a Journal you can contact Heidi at Crafthub.com.my. The gifts presented at the Gala were the book 'Sarawak Landmarks' written by Heidi Munan, a beaded necklace, and a beaded panel with hornbill birds and dragons. The gifts were such a surprise and so perfect.
Random shots that are self explanatory. If you are wondering why the red plate photo it's because I love this specific red and would love to have plates like this. ( I can't find them here.) These plates were the ones used for the Gala banquet.
Brilliant splashes of vibrant colors - Orchids of every description raised in an orchid garden in downtown Kuching.
So much to do, so much to see. Clockwise Fabulous Museums, Rainforest and Wild life Reserve where you can visit majestic Orangutans or tour Long houses, Night life on the Boardwalk, Beaches on the South China Sea, Shopping in a Mall, River cruises on the Sarawak River.
Here some of us are touring - 1st a Wildlife Center where Orangutans roam free as seen in the top center. 2nd to the right is the entrance to the villages/longhouses on stilts. Amazing bamboo flooring and many housing units, plus sacred skulls from head hunting times (bottom center and right
Here we are in the trees. A serious old river below and a contemporary bridge above. Here in the famous longhouses of old are beautiful modern homes complete with electricity, TV, and phones. Often next to structures that have not been updated And art is alive and well in this village. Beads are still fashioned into jewelry and head pieces for ceremonies, while a door painted long ago shows a boy coming home.
Left to right clockwise me, Stefany Tomalin, Jamey Allen, Deborah Zinn, and Heidi Munan in the lobby of our fabulous hotel the Ranee. Did I mention that this gem of a boutique hotel was the perfect place to be in Kuching. For more information or a closer look at the Ranee visit www.theranee.com
Meet Ramsey an artist I had the honor and pleasure of spending time with during my stay. His art is over the top!! One of the highlights of this trip (and there were many) was meeting an artist who's work epitomizes what jewelry art should be. What a gift he is to Kuching/Malaysia/the World! His knowledge of the art, culture , and customs of Malaysia gave me a deeper understanding and appreciation of what I was seeing.
The Hornbill is both an important bird and cultural symbol for the people of Sarawak especially the Dayak communities. The Rhinoceros hornbill the best known of all the species, is the State's emblem. For the Dayaks, male hornbills signify the spirit of God and they must be treated with respect. Hornbill elements are incorporated into their arts, dances, carvings, and ceremonial dresses. This hornbill (Kenyalang) was carved by Tutu anak Ragu, the headman of Rumah Tuntun Longhouse. The Dragon symbolizes strength, health, harmony intellect, wisdom and is seen as female. She is a grounding force.
These are the symbols of Malaysia I brought back from Kuching. They now reign supreme in my living room.
These packages contain beads I purchased in Kuching on Bazaar Row with the help of Ramsey. They are truly beautiful beads! However what is important here is that the wrapping is as exquisite as the beads themselves. It was a long time after getting home before I could bring myself to open them as the care with which they were wrapped was as important as the beads themselves. I believe these packages symbolize the way I feel about Malaysia. Everything about it is beautiful and presented in such a way that unwrapping the memories of Kuching will take the rest of my life!
Last yet far from least - this is a picture I took of the South China Sea. In Kuching we were only 45 minutes away from this magical place. It is just at sunset and there are no words to describe the beauty and peace one feels looking out over the water. When I look at this picture I am reminded of how rich in culture and history the country is and how generous of spirit and beautiful the people of Malaysia are. I look forward to going back and recommend highly Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia as a great place to visit.