Edric Ong combines the role of artist with designer, architect, curator, consultant and president. He works quite closely with UNESCO, advising on their Seal of Excellence for Crafts Program. He has convened the World Eco-Fiber and Textile (WEFT) forum since 1999. And has specialised particularly in the textile crafts of Malaysia, including Sarawak.
For Welcome Signs, he has designed a series of fibre-based jewellery drawing on the traditional craft of pandanus weaving. These draw on important elements of local material culture, such as wedding ceremonies and personal adornment.
Two string necklaces featuring blue glass beads and hand-crafted pouches made of dyed ‘pandanus’ leaves. These pouches are miniaturized from traditional dowry pouches made by the Malay women of Kota Samarahan , Sarawak, East Malaysia; and were presented during the ‘akad nikah’ or exchange of marriage vows ceremony.
Open plaited pandanus straps were made by the Orang Asli of Carey Island, Selangor, West Malaysia as part of their small pouches for keeping tobacco.
In the necklace and belt featured here, they have been made as components and strung into a cord (the necklace) or added to a rattan belt as accessories.
This is a series of fashion accessories I developed as part of collection to introduce the use of more natural fibers such as tree-bark, rattan, and pandanus into my work. It started with using tree bark cloth as appliqué on cottons and silks; then using rattan straps as accessories, and then using the pliable pandanus as bustiers, capes and also as ornaments for necklaces and belts.
The pandanus components are made by two groups of craft artists: the Malay women of Kota Samarahan, Sarawak in East Malaysia; and the Orang Asli women of Carey Island, Selangor in West Malaysia.
I hope that these new designs and use of their traditional crafts will inspire them to create a new product line and so generate more income for them.