Beads conference to showcase crafts from around the world

Fatimah (second right) in a group photo with Bibco directors (from right) Heidi, Rosemary Wong and Lyn Alhady.

Fatimah (second right) in a group photo with Bibco directors (from right) Heidi, Rosemary Wong and Lyn Alhady.

KUCHING: The 4th Borneo International Beads Conference (Bibco) promises to be even more exciting and vibrant this time around.

Taking place from Oct 9 to 11 at one of the city’s most venerable heritage buildings, the Tourism Complex (Old Court House), the three-day event themed ‘Stringing Past to Present’ is set to attract a global community of artisans and craftsmen to the state capital.

According to Welfare, Women and Family Development Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah, the event will be run in conjunction with state-level Women’s Day 2015, which falls on Oct 17.

“Bibco will return next month as a significant event that will allow the public and enthusiasts to explore how crafts and arts have shaped and enriched the lives of women, as well as the influence of culture and history on art,” she said during a press conference after receiving a courtesy call from the directors of event organiser Crafthub Sdn Bhd at her office in Bangunan Bailtulmakmur, Petra Jaya here yesterday.

“One of the most exciting events at the conference will be the great beads bazaar called ‘Beads Abuzz’ where both local and international artisans will be showcasing, selling and displaying their works of arts,” she said.

Fatimah pointed out that there would be a space showcasing the art of making Kek Lapis Sarawak, noting that cake-baking was among the skills that required creativity and attention to details.

“Visitors can also see a giant handbag produced by local artisans.”

Visitors can hunt for various beads, jewellery pieces and trinkets from all over the world at the bazaar.

Heidi Munan, who is one of Bibco’s directors, revealed that this year’s conference would feature more hands-on workshops, with 10 speakers having confirmed their participation.

“The speakers will conduct workshops based on their respective expertise and interests, in addition to presenting working papers.

“They come from many parts of the world, including the US, India, Australia and the Philippines, as well as Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak.”

Topics discussed will range from archaeology to ethnography, along with the practical aspects of professional bead design and the use of modern art media to make beads.

Visitors can look forward to a range of workshops including lampwork beadmaking, polymer clay beadmaking, paper beadrolling, natural fibre bead plaiting, head barrel stringing, eco-bead painting and Borneo indigenous beadworks.

The invited speakers are Daryl Wesley and Mirani Litster from Australia, Dr Jun Cayron from the Phillipines, jewellery designer Elaine Robnett Moore, beads researcher Jamey Allen and textile expert Khatijah Sanusi from the US, Akwele Suma Glory from Ghana, Ashvin Rajagopalan from India, polymer clay beadmaker Lara Lareveur from Australia and Sarawak’s very own experts on indigenous beads Wendy Terang and Datin Garnet Ridu.

Heidi, who is also the honorary curator of beads at Sarawak Museum, said the conference would be open to everyone – locals and foreigners alike.

Participation fee for the conference is RM650 per Malaysian, with an early bird special rate of RM590.

For foreigners, it is US$650 per person, with an early bird’s rate of US$590.

The organiser of Bibco 2015 will also host a gala dinner on Oct 10, with local dignitaries expected to attend.

The conference aims to provide a networking platform for all artisans, scholars, researchers and producers of beads.

It is hoped that through this platform, participants could share and exchange ideas as well as expertise with one another and at the same time, promote and showcase beads from Sarawak.

For details and entry forms for Bibco 2015, visit, while bead students, collectors and craftspeople may send emails to [email protected] for specific enquiries.