Malaysian Crafts Go Contemporary- 10 Design Projects

1. Gerai OA 

“Help indigenous communities help themselves. It is not just about selling, it is about educating people” – Reita Rahim.

Designer/Craftsmen: Orang Asal people

For: Gerai OA (non-profit organisation) 

Location: Peninsular Malaysia/Kuala Lumpur 

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From the Jakun villages: pandanus “kerton kaki jangking” 3-in-1 nesting containers by Salbiah Teh (30) from Kg Simpai.

Gerai OA, founded by Reita Rahim in October 2004, is a volunteer-run traveling “shop” that sells traditional crafts made by the Malaysian ethnic group: Orang Asal. 100% of the money collected of sales goes directly back to the artisans. Reita Rahim, goes from village to village of 17 different ethnic groups around Malaysia looking for rare and unique craft. The items are then taken to Kuala Lumpur and sales are carried out at rent-free events or in sponsored spaces. Their mission is to document, revive and revitalise and encourage the survival of the heritage crafts of the Orang Asal via sales, workshops, publications, books or DVDs by or about the Orang Asal. 

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Alphabetical pandanus bookmarks woven by the Mah Meri. Designed in 2011 by Kamarul Ramat (18) & his sister, Pijay (20).

Information in depth here:

https://asiandesignrmit.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/gerai-oa-malaysia/

References: 

https://www.facebook.com/geraioa

http://www.wildasia.org/main.cfm/ideas_lab/Gerai_OA_turns_3!

http://www.wildasia.org/main.cfm/ideas_lab/Crafting_Culture

 

2. Soning Craft 

Designer: Malina Soning

Craftsmen: Rungu Community  

Location: Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, East Malaysia

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SONING CRAFT was founded in 2005 by sisters Mazelina and Malina Soning to ensure the continuous sale of handicrafts produced in their village. The Rungus community is recognised as a community with natural talent in making unique and original products out of beads. Generally, the Rungus handicrafts sold by SONING CRAFT are made from natural resources from the forest, redesigned using beads to create the motifs and artwork traditional to the Rungus community. Among the raw materials used are – all types of seeds such as igiu, talantang, sinangkil, petai and saga seeds which can be used to make accessories such as necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Some of the challenges this community is facing is that the production of bead handicraft has grown big while the demand has dropped along with the prices and Many people have started handicraft businesses, making it highly competitive locally, and here is where Malina comes in. She is responsible in the improvement of design, colour, natural resources and originality and uniqueness in general, this way, the Rungus community handcrafts can stand out and be successful in the future. 

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Pakugandang Brooches, glass beads.

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Pinakol Pakazan, glass beads

References: 

http://www.elevyn.com/shop_topic/soningcraft/about+us

 

Designers Featured at Kuala Lumpur Design Week Festival 

3. Little Syam

Designer: Little Syam

Client: Freelance 

Location: Kuala Lumpur

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from Collection FRENCH/KETTLE/COPTIC STITCH BINDING 

Little Syam is a Malaysian Freelance Graphic Designer who creates her own arts and crafts under her label named LittleSyam. On her blog profile, she explains how she creates based on the love her surroundings, past experience and personal expression depict. Even though she does not state that Malaysian traditions and culture are shown in her work, I believe it does communicate that sense of nature, animals, colour and vibrance Malaysian crafts have. 

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Bookbound Book 

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Kuda from collection Dolltopia 

Reference: 

http://little-syam.blogspot.com.au/

4. Oh & Ah 

Designers: Anonymous group of five with different backgrounds

Client: Oh & Ah Store

Location: Kuala Lumpur 

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RATTAN ANIMAL – RED BULL, collected in Malaysia, painted with acrylic

All products in Oh&Ah anre designed and handmade by the five designers of this brand. They collect, design and make with the purpose of selling unique and one of a kind product with a story and meaning behind. With the picture above as an example (Rattan Bull), we see how they are influenced by traditional ways of handcrafts, in this case Malaysian because of the kind of materials they decide to use for their products: rattan, wood, ceramics, etc. however, they innovate and make it contemporary by adding details such as bright red acrylic paint. 

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CLAY CANDLE STAND 

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BAS SEKOLAH – WOODEN CASING typical school bus around Malaysia

Reference: 

http://oh-and-ah.com/store/

5. Material Poetry 

Designer: Mike Tan 

Client: Material Poetry Shop

Location: Ipoh, Malaysia 

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Material Poetry is a Malaysia base T-shirt brand created by Mike Tan. Even though they are made from organic Pima Cotton from peru and not with local materials, all the graphic design and photographs come from the Old Town part of Ipoh in Malaysia. They use Direct Garment technology when printing, which added to the fine cotton makes Material Poetry’s T-shirts very durable and unique. 

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Reference: 

http://cargocollective.com/materialpoetry

6. Gigi Gee

Designer: Gigi Gee

Location: Malaysia

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Jewellery designer Gigi Gee is an expert in polymer clay beads after seven years of experience. She likes to push the boundaries of the beautiful material and likes to get creative with colours, textures, patterns and shapes. Always looking for a new look in each collection, Gigi Gee showcases what Malaysian crafting is looking to when it comes to innovating with traditional materials such as clay. 
 
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Reference: 
 
7. Makanlah
Buah-buahan 
Tempatan 
Exhibition ’13
 
Designers: more than 20 Malaysian designers
Location: Kuala Lumpur 
 
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Advertising at local fruit markets 
 
Buah-buahan tempatan means local fruits, such as Durian, Langsat, Duku and Jambu. A composition of these together is something any Malaysian would remember from their childhood at primary school drawing class. This exhibition looks forward in bringing out that memory or the memory of eating fresh fruits in each viewer with the goal of making the nation appreciate and consume local fruits and locally crafted art. Their approach is that after all, art is also one of the fruits of Malaysia. As well as local fruits, there is homegrown creative culture and the intentions of this exhibition was to support and celebrate local talent in art and design. 
 
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References: 
 
8. Things Eye Made
 
Designer: Ng Siow Foon
Client: Makanlah
Buah-buahan 
Tempatan 
Exhibition ’13
Location: Kuala Lumpur 
 
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Ng Sioe Foon is a Graphic Designer who participated at the Makanlah
Buah-buahan 
Tempatan 
Exhibition. He showcased the furniture piece above which consists of a traditional ancient Chengal Wood table with one of the designer’s illustration at the bottom of the top part. Chengal Wood is the strongest kind of wood found in Malaysia and it is commonly used in house constructing. The combination of old and contemporary art makes this piece look fresh but still unique and interesting. 
 
Reference: 
 
9. Sueh Li
 
Client: Makanlah
Buah-buahan 
Tempatan 
Exhibition
Location: Penang, Malaysia
 
Image Sueh Li is a graphic and type designer from Penang, Malaysia. She has previously worked as a graphic designer in Amsterdam, The Hague and London before returning to Malaysia.  In 2012, she co-founded Typokaki with Karmen Hui to explore type design and typography in relation to Malaysia cultures through workshops, events and research. Her work for Makanlah
Buah-buahan 
Tempatan 
Exhibition was experimenting with the textures and forms of the fruits in order to create typography, and the results are very successful. 
 
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Reference: 
 
10. Ellie See 
 
Client:  Makanlah
Buah-buahan 
Tempatan 
Exhibition
Location: Kuala Lumpur 
 
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Ellie See exhibited two of her collection at the Makanlah
Buah-buahan 
Tempatan 
Exhibition: skins and fruits. For the first one, she was inspired by the flexibility Malaysians have when adapting to new environments, weather, food and languages. Based on that, she created a series of posters using balloons as the skin, stuffed with objects we see and use daily to reform the shapes of local fruits. Ellie was not only inspired by the local fruits but mainly about the essence of a Malaysian and their culture. Other posters where showcased as part of the exhibition where Ellie deconstructed the fruit into geometrical shapes and then repeated them creating great illustrations.  
 
Skins
 
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Fruits 
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Reference: 
 
 
 
 

 

 

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