Every year , the Craft Development Corporation of Malaysia holds a Craft Fair called the ” Hari Kraftangan Kebangsaan ” , and this year, we were honored to be a part of it. This year there was a huge turnout , consisting of 637 exhibitors, displaying all sorts of crafts Malaysia is proud of such as Bamboo, rattan and palm weaving, wood carvings, batik, pottery, jewelery, furniture , leather craft and knife making. The Craft Week is very popular especially for those who live in Kuala Lumpur at is brings all the traditional crafts from all over Malaysia, from Perlis right to Sabah.
Usually it is held in the month of February every year, but this year due to the devastating floods which happened at the end of 2014, the Craft Week was pushed forward to the end of March. Most if not all of the batik ( especially ) and knife makers from the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia were badly effected. Most lost everything , and needed time to start new. We hope they managed to get good sales to during the craft week so they could recover from the loss .
Besides buying and selling, there was also a lot of hands – on activities for visitors, such as batik painting , traditional music , kris standing competition, live carving demonstrations by the Orang Asal , mat and basket weaving classes and Parang making. It was definitely a busy two-week , and everyday we could see dozens of buses arriving and leaving with school children as well as government servants. Most of the parking lots nearby were choker full and the free shuttles were always busy arriving and leaving with full occupancy.
In the previous years, I would drop by and check out the various parang makers and sometimes pick a parang or two. Some come with 200-300 pcs for sale and some come with about 50 pcs. They vary widely in price, and sometimes you can get really exquisitely made parangs and goloks. You can also purchase exotic local wood, such as Kemuning ( Emas and Hitam ) , Arang Bunga , Juha ( Seribu Bunga ) , Serian , and many more. Below are some pictures of what you can find at the National Craft day .
Most of the Parang and golok makers were placed in hall C, while some, including MY Parang were placed in hall E.
Most of the above pictures are from hall C, while the pictures below are from hall E . All together there were 13 halls covering all sorts of crafts. It can be pretty mind boggling and exhausting to cover all in one day, and it was pretty common to see the same customers coming over a span of a few days.
Most of the craftsmen I noticed kept themselves busy when they can. Most of them brought their tools with them – carving knives, angle grinders and whenever they had time, they would be busy carving, sharpening or polishing their products. Besides selling their works to customers, there was also a “Back sales” going on between the sellers. No, nothing against the law, just special tool attachments, sand paper, brass tubes , wood , steel for making parang blades, various oils and polishing items, carving knives, jigs and whatnot. It was pretty amusing actually. The Craft fair is also a time for all the craftsmen from all over Malaysia to meet, discuss, share and learn new things from their fellow traders.
Another highlight of the National Craft Week is the blacksmith demonstration or known as ” Demonstrasi Kembang Api ” . Every year about 6-8 craftsmen are invited to demonstrate their skills at making everyday tools , like the parang, goloks, Kris, knives, Kacip ( a scissor like tool to cut betelnut ) , sabit ( sickle ) and lembings ( spears ) . They are located in an open booth , usually at the back of the premises . They do start pretty early in the day, as they take a long break when the day gets hot. Every time I arrive to man our booth at 9.30 am, they are already busy hammering orange colored steel . I believe they try to use the cooler part of the day to do the forging, then move to grinding and heat treating in the afternoon and evenings . Below are some videos I took of their booth.
The above is a video of a guy hardening a plane Iron
The video above shows the “Kembang Api ” open booth. You are welcomed to grab a hammer and start hitting.
As mentioned earlier, it was an honor for MY Parang to be able to take part in this year’s National Craft Week . It was a very busy two week period , not only selling MY Parang products, but visiting other Parang makers, discussing little details and learning new techniques. Some of our customers also have a wealth of knowledge and they are not stingy when it comes to sharing it.
We would like to give a big Thank You to Kraftangan Malaysia for letting us take part in the National Craft Week, and we hope we will be able to make it every year now onwards. We also would like to say thank you to the Kraftangan Staff who dropped by our booth to have a look at our products and give us words of encouragement .