Selangor, without doubt, is consistently blessed with diverse crafts and artisanal products. For six consecutive years, media members, local and international have discovered and provided exposure and documentation on many of these products through an annual event held over three days called Kembara Kraf Selangor (KKS).
Now entering into its seventh year, the Selangor Economic Planning Unit (UPEN), in collaboration with Gaya Travel Magazine, decided to make the programme different than before by focussing more on the artists or craftsmen themselves to acknowledge the deep passion these artists or craftsmen possess towards their respective craft and the ability to become creative despite setbacks in their lives. Hence, the theme of this year’s KKS was Crafts from the Heart.
For this year, a total of 25 media members and bloggers took part in this programme that was held from 17 until 19 August 2017. They were brought to eight craft production sites across Selangor.
Products We Discovered during KKS 2017
1. FS Design Furniture Sdn. Bhd.
Being an orphan at the tender age of 10, Fazli, the founder of FS Design Furniture, is now somebody worth looking up to. When he furthered his study in the university, he took engineering. Ironically, he holds a strong passion towards drawing and designing. Thus, he determined to start a manufacturing business at the age of 25 with the capital of a meagre RM2,000.
More than just a manufacturer, FS Design Furniture now supplies commercial grade furniture for homes, restaurants, condominiums, projects and commercial spaces from high grade raw materials such as solid timbers such as Douglas Fir, Meranti and Nyatoh, among others. Now, the seven-year-old company records RM1.5 million sales per year.
2. Art Jamila
Diagnosed as autistic since four years old, Wan Jamila Wan Shaiful Bahri proves she is also special in her own way by showing her creative talent through drawing. Coached by her mom, Noorhashimah Mohamed Noordin, the quiet but friendly Wan Jamila started drawing as a medium to express her feelings, thereafter giving her joy in doing so. As years passed, she began developing her own drawing skills with intricate and detailed patterns based on inspirations found through her experiences and observations.
Now 15, Wan Jamila takes part in numerous exhibitions. Her outstanding drawings have been catching much attention among the Malaysian public, including the royals, placing her as one of the brightest young artists in Malaysia.
3. Amaze Creative
Behind the beautiful creation of hand-painted canvas shoes and bags using acrylic paint, one might not actually be aware that they were done assiduously by a group of underprivileged people, including the deaf. Nonetheless, the works on these hand-painted shoes are agreeable. Their artworks indicate how meticulous and steadfast they are in producing artworks that strongly appeal to their customers.
The idea of establishing a business for the underprivileged came from the compassionate Chang Wan Sang seven years ago. To date, he has trained up to 20 persons, some of whom have left to start their own business. Produced in a humble shop lot at the TAR Villa Apartments in Desa Setapak, the business also raises funds for the Malaysian Federation for the Deaf.
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4. Queen L’s Craft
Inspired by the Japanese kimekomi or easy-tuck craft, Latifah Hamzah is the figure responsible in bringing the craft a notch higher by giving it an eccentric touch – dubbed as the ‘Malaysian value’ – onto it. From simple, basic drawing patterns, she brings songket and batik a new lease of life through her prodigious skills in creating brilliant and exquisite decorative masterpieces. The no-stitch patchwork craft is done by tucking in the fabric into the grooves of the patterns to give definition to the artwork. Latifah now receives custom-made orders besides participating in various exhibitions to promote her artworks and Malay traditional heritage to public.
5. Artsis Studio
Artsis Studio is a home studio based in USJ 9, Subang Jaya. Unlike any other art studio, it is founded by five sisters who come from a Malaysian family comprising artistes, according to the Malaysian Book of Records. Though each of the five sisters have their own styles, they share the same passion towards sharing their talents with kids through art classes and workshops. Their masterly father is Datuk Mohd Yusoff Jaafar who, surprisingly, was the former Commissioner of Police of Sarawak. The family members, including the brothers, have been taking part in many exhibitions, either as a team or individually.
6. HI Heritage Inspired
Founded by Hanisah Izzati Adnan, HI Heritage Inspired produces purses, clutches and handbags from songket, batik and pelikat fabrics.
Hanisah Izzati, who was a Science teacher, has never attended any craft classes before. In fact, the first handbag she made was by using her father’s old songket simply by following online tutorials.
From just a hobby, the business has now flourished due to Hanisah’s passion. To market her products, Hanisah utilises the online platform to engage with her customers have now grown larger in number. She has been receiving many orders not just from Malaysia but also Indonesia and Singapore, including France and Nigeria.
Place We Visited Along the Way: Boustead Cruise Centre, Port Klang
Boustead Cruise Centre, located in Port Klang, is Malaysia’s largest and busiest port. The cruise terminal is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and modern amenities to welcome ctuise passengers.
Among the cruises lines that have sailed into this terminal include Star Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises, Cunard Lines and Costa Cruises.
Holding the mantle as one of the main maritime gateways to Malaysia, the terminal provides souvenir and gift shops, including duty free outlets dedicated to retailing products by local entrepreneurs and businesses, especially crafts, to international cruise passagengers.