Celebrating creativity, style and fun in the sun

Step out in style and have some fun in the rejuvenated, new world.

With standard operating procedures (SOPs) still in place, we look forward to more activities and events outside.

At The Artisans Haven, we celebrate the styles and creativity of our award-winning artisans’ handcrafts as well as some of their adventure series.

That special touch

A symphony of scents awaits you at OLFAC3 Perfumes where fragrance notes present the different scent layers that make up the final fragrance.

An award-winning perfumery house, OLFAC3 Perfumes offers original perfumes created in Malaysia, inspired by fragrances of flowers.

“Like a flower that blooms in the garden, every artisan has the potential to create something of benefit to the world.

“When we support their creativity and talent, we are supporting their potential to make the world a better, happier and more beautiful place,’’ says Aien Mokhtar of OLFAC3 Perfumes.

There is always a story behind the scarves made by  DONNINGDONNA; in the Borneo batik piece, for example, it is the reflection of mountains in Borneo overlooking the river.

“Our scarves tell stories of cultural significance. Once artists and artisans are able to express themselves creatively and freely, they produce beautiful art that can be admired by the community and the world.

“As we wear locally designed pieces and meet foreigners, we can tell them the stories behind them, thus creating an identity for our artisans’ work,’’ says Siti Nurnazihah Ahmah of DONNINGDONNA.

At Tina Winness Jewellery, a combination of computer-aided (3D CAD) and handmade designs turns out exquisite pieces of jewellery

Among her designs, the Aquamarine Cobachon ring was inspired by the vast sea surrounding Venice, Italy, in summer; it features sparkling trillion-cut aquamarines that give the effect of sunlight sparkling across the water surface.

Painter/jewellery designer Tina Winness got the inspiration for this ring when she went to Italy to receive her award for her Tribute Wau Multifunction Pendant at the ‘A’ Design and Competition.

Artists and artisans’ creativity should be valued for its rich tradition and expression of artistic freedom.

“Every piece of bespoke jewellery should withstand the test of time, to be handed down for generations as a modern heirloom.

“Designing gives me a sense of freedom as there are no limits to my imagination, and being able to to bring my thoughts and feelings to realization, gives me great happiness,’’ says Tina.

Handmade beauty

The bespoke creations at TAS Woman of Substance are carefully crafted, taking into consideration, customers’ style and passion, for example, their love for pets, or their professions and businesses.

“I blend a mix of software, for example, traditional and modern print fabric, and hardware such as handles, metal, man-made leather, as much as possible while maintaining a neat look. That is my signature,’’ says Linden Leong of TAS Woman of Substance.

Handcrafted bags by Benang Sari, which are made from new fabric under the Tenun collection, are not just creative but they also support local artisan suppliers.

“Malaysians should support local artisans to ensure the continuity of our heritage, and to preserve our culture.

“Most of the appreciation comes from outside Malaysia and not from Malaysians; it is time to appreciate our roots … our identity,’’ says Linda Azmi of Benang Sari.

Linda also has a range of bags from repurposed kimonos that preserve the beauty of handpainted kimonos.

A lot of time and effort is invested to ensure the quality and uniqueness of the Rose bags at CaroPaya.

“Talent and creativity is cultivated with passion, patience and a lot of practice; we need to invest a lot of our time and energy in order to create something that is excellent and unique,’’ says Carol Jok of Caropaya.

Nurturing talent

The success of Penan weavers that used to weave from rattan, a scarce commodity now, is the result of a sustained process of change and evolution.

It was in 2010 when Helping Hands Penan (HH Penan) that is helping the Penan community, introduced PVC strips that have enabled them to produce more bags to meet increasing demand.

“Over the years, they have improved in their quality, colour combination and patterns to make bags that are fashionable and at the same time, practical and durable,’’ says Violette Tan of HH Penan.

HH Penan rainbow bags have also gained popularity among the urban folks who have artistically woven traditional motifs on the rainbow spectrum.

Japanese lace bags, which are not traditional Penan bags, have an interesting story, having originated in Miri where a Japanese lady residing there started teaching local ladies to weave.

As the pattern looked like lace, the bag was therefore, named Japanese lace bag.

HH Penan also supports Penan rattan weavers in the Ulu, and among the elderly.

HH Penan also takes care of their longtime ‘Nenek’ weavers by giving them less complicated designs, for example, in two-tone colours, to weave.

Modern, minimalistic designs on cow vegetable tan leather is the hallmark of Bearminima.

While showing his fine workmanship, Juan Mahussin of Bearminima has expanded his range of  products from wallets to coin and card holders.

“Appreciation and respect from the public, especially from those around us, helps drive the passion that we, artisans, have for our craft,’’ says Juan.

Fashionable and trendy … futuristic yet chic … are some of customers’ comments on the Bao Bao Issey Miyake inspired bags at I Love KL.

Among the variety of colours, matt green has the most unique feature – the bag turns into rainbow colours under different lighting conditions.

Indeed, the rainbow bag is the favourite for many I Love KL fans, as it reflects possibly the most creative and beautiful of the KL bag designs.

Looking good

From just making hair clips for her daughter, Christine Ng of Infinitylove Handcrafted had used her creativity to craft earrings, brooches and bag pendants with a glass ball that can be filled with essential oils.

“I have dedicated time and effort towards my craft … from A to Z of the process … choosing the materials until the finished product.

“Each design is created in limited quantities and will not be repeated; my customers will know that these are unique and cannot be copied by anyone else,’’ says Christine.

At Dr Beads, her creativity leads Dr Nalini Velaitham to constantly try out new ideas, and find new ways of thinking and problem solving.

“Creativity encourages self-expression … to create something from personal feelings and experiences; creative activities help us acknowledge and celebrate our own uniqueness and diversity,’’ says Dr Nalini.

Bright and beautiful, the various designs of glass bead accessories at RabenBeads reminds us of the vibrant culture of Sarawak.

Customers appreciate RabenBeads for the care it takes to show them the exact measurement of the earrings, and in the case of long earrings, they are ‘so carefully displayed even with the measurement ruler next to it.’

“I also love the colour and how the beads were put together in the shape that will certainly bring out a long outfit,’’ says another customer.

Fun, sun and adventure

Mostly ‘caged’ up during this time of Covid-19, enjoying some sun and fun at the Most Fun Gym, a motocross park for the young and old, would be a good idea.

“As long as you know how to ride a bike, you can join us and also learn some risk management.

“For those caught up in the digital world, this is a good chance to flex your muscles and develop some useful motor skills,’’ says ex-national racing champion Oh Kah Beng of Most Fun Gym.

Kah Beng, who has dedicated his retirement years to teaching others the joys of riding, is also happy that clients make friends along the way.

Especially during this time of stress and isolation, all these activities carried out with SOPs in place, also help to ease any mental health problems.

After a long lockdown, we can finally go outdoors again!

As we’ve been away from nature for a long time, it’s time to refresh ourselves with the beautiful greens around.

So grab your camping gears from Explorer Outfitter and start your adventure.

You can bring, among other things, the new Explorer camp bed, the MIS flysheet, MIS canopy tent and the folding, camping aluminium table, along to enjoy your outdoor trip.

Veteran explorer Thomas Foo, who is also a partner in Explorer Outfitter, has gone on 4x4 adventures to over 100 countries.

Through his experiential retail shop at Explorer Outfitter which hosts various other activities, he imparts his experience and knowledge of the great outdoors to active and eager Malaysians.

Explorer Outfitter organizes overland expeditions and outdoor workshops that equip enthusiasts with the knowledge and skills of outdoor life.

Foo and his team are currently on humanitarian missions and relief work especially to the orang asli community.

You can have a fascinating time going through the variety of creative talent at The Artisans Haven.

The list is growing, so make your mark today and SHOP ARTISANS.

By Yap Leng Kuen, Chief Storyteller, The Artisans Haven


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