Penan Artisans Diversify Their Craft Making Skills

Sarawak Energy collaborates with Malaysian Handicraft Development Corporation to enhance marketability of traditional crafts of the Penans in Murum

KUCHING, 4th DECEMBER 2015, FRIDAY: The marketability of crafts from the Murum resettlement area has gone up a notch after Penan artisans from the area underwent training organised by Sarawak Energy to diversify and improve the quality of their handcrafted products by exposure to new ideas and design concepts on rattan weaving, the art of sewing as well as proper finishing techniques on parang(machete) making.

The artisans honed their skills over two workshops held in May and November at Long Wat, Tegulang Resettlement Area in Murum. The programme was developed under Sarawak Energy's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative in partnership with the Malaysian Handicraft Development Corporation (MHDC). Parang-makers learnt how to apply gloss and polishing techniques to embellish the traditional machete whilst rattan weavers were taught how to refashion their woven products into bags and vanity cases.

The final products were later showcased at the Festival Kraft Sarawak held in Miri and Bintulu recently. The events served as an ideal platform to highlight the artisans’ talent among the local handicraft industry scene and to provide networking opportunities with the other players of the industry. For some artisans, it was their first exposure to marketing of their crafts to the public.

According to Joanne Tan(陈楚燕), Sarawak Energy's CSR manager for Social Investment; “The skills possessed by the Penan artisans in handicraft making is already tremendous. Enhancing the marketability of their crafts by exposing them through the workshops and exhibitions means that they can sell more of what they produce, improving their income opportunities whilst still ensuring that their culture and heritage is preserved.

“We are happy to have established this working relationship with the Penan community from Murum and look forward to collaborations with other agencies to improve the socio-economic opportunities of the community.”

Sarawak Energy has actively supported handicraft production of the Penans in Murum by purchasing and offering these crafts as exclusive gifts for the company's corporate guests both international and local.

Happy to participate at the Festival Kraft Sarawak.

Machetes made by the Penan community being showcased at the festival.

The beautiful rattan woven products of the Penans.

The machetes display a sleek finishing.

Sarawak Energy’s corporate gifts feature the crafts from the Penan community in Murum.

Refashioning of the woven products.

The ladies are taught the art of sewing for a smooth finishing.

The men honed their skills at embellishing the traditional machete.