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.
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 Bawang community.
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 tree into 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
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