Location : Kampung Tang Itong, Lawas District, Limbang Division, Sarawak, Malaysia.
Our first stop at Long Tuma to visit the bead making workshop turned out to be a disappointment as it was locked with no one around to ask or a notice at the door to let visitors know they were closed for the day. We later found out that the lady in charge was attending a wedding reception somewhere out of town. All we could see through the louver windows were a number of kilns for the firing of the hand painted ceramic beads. I remember how my friend Gerald Goh a ceramic expert from Kuching help kickstarted this bead production more than a decade ago.
Lawas tourist attraction
Junction to villages
Long Tuma beads centre
Bead making workshop
Kilns of different shape and size
The Lun Bawang’s love for beads has always been well known but to produce their own beads is something never seen in other communities of Sarawak. Their ladies are always proudly adorned with beautiful glass beads from the headcaps to necklaces and bracelets. Antique beads are hard to come by these days. What we see nowadays are mostly replicas made in Gujarat India but they are just as beautiful. I remember meeting this guy from Bali at a hotel in Marudi some 20 years ago selling these Gujarati beads all over the interior of Sarawak. He made a killing, I am sure.
We left shortly for Tang Itong further down the same road where tree barks were turned into beautiful crafts by another Lun Bawangcommunity.
Kampung Tang Itong
Tree bark factory at Tang Itong
Mr Suut and his son Johnny was at the factory to receive us. Suut wasted no time to demonstrate his magic by turning a branch of the terap or talon treeinto a neat piece of beaten bark. He pounded, slit, split, rolled and more pounding and in less than 30 minutes was an amazing piece of processed bark. It needed to be further soaked in water and air dried before it could be made into shirt, purse or cowboy hat. Next……Penawan Waterfall.
Tree barks making
First pounding to seperate the tree bark from the trunk
Slitting the beaten bark
Splitting and removing the outer layer. Only the smooth inner layer is used
Johnny helping his dad spin the press
Thinning the bark with a press originally made for pressing rubber sheet #treebarkproducts
After pressing the bark is further pounded into the right thickness
Finished piece folded in halves, double its original size
Ms Sophia slowly getting the hat into shape with the ever reliable Singer sewing machine
Tree bark painting
Tarap / Terap tree
Fruit of the terap tree where the branches are cut and made into tree bark