Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Kimekomi Craft| Bringing Japan Home

I always say ‘In every country you visited, you’ll take a piece of it home’, and for Kak Latifah, Kimekomi craft has found a new home. Malaysia.

A foodie will hunt for good food, a photographer will scout for beautiful subject, a fashionista clothes, and an artisan or craftsman, art and craft (obviously). And this is the story of Kak Latifah Hamzah of Pulau Indah, the artisan behind easy-tuck craft or kimekomi, as what the Japanese calls them; the birth place of this few centuries old craft.

Traveling to Japan in 2015 was certainly a life changing mexperience for Kak Latifah, marveling at kimekomi craft during one of her many subway train ride, has sparked Kak Latifah’s interest and now has become her greatest passion. And what makes it even greater is the fact that she combines our very own Malaysia heritage; batik and songket into this old craft from Japan. The result – astounding.

I remembered telling Sham that when you have a good story behind a great product, it makes us; digital storyteller easy to write. Well, ‘easy’ is an understatement really, the right word should be eager, excited, enthusiastic or perhaps passionate as we felt the artisan love and sincerity in producing the craft, and the depth is rather contagious and overwhelming. Thus me writing this, enjoying and appreciating the artisan and their craft even more.

‘Wah’ and ‘Ooooh’ was the first (and only) thing you hear as we entered her studio, just like her subway experience, we too went googoo gaga over the art pieces. This is especially amplified when we laid our eyes on her ‘kebaya songket girls’ as well as her ‘owl family’ piece. Awestruck (I wasn’t even this awestruck when I saw Sheila Majid during her concert recently). First thing that came into my mind (and I verbalized it [after all, I can only contain so much]) was ‘Kak Latifah, berapa harga ni?’ / how much does this piece cost?, wanting to own it.

One must wonder, why the fuss over her art piece?
Here’s the thing, not only she combines our batik and songket into this centuries old craft, she formulates it in a way that it portrays our beautiful aMalaysia heritage and hculture; girls wearing traditional malay attire such as baju kurung pahang, kebaya, cekak musang and etc, easy-tucked it with songket fabric. If Kak Latifah marveled at what saw in Japan subway, we now are experiencing and doing the same. In a magnifying scale. And more.

She strongly believes that there are more than one way to promote our heritage and culture – batik and songket, by using kimekomi craft, she is able to combine both our fabric (heritage) and traditional attire (culture) into a beautiful art piece that can be easily sold, transport and showcased to public.

Knowing very well that she takes custom made orders, participate in exhibition and sells some of her work of art online, I ask her on her next step and as I suspected - ‘beginner classes’. So, you guys out there, go to the link below and follow Kak Latifah on her Facebook and wait for her announcement on craft classes.

What is Kimekomi craft?
"Kimekomi" means to "tuck in" in Japanese. Farbric is of Japanese design silk brocade tucked (and/or glued) into grooves that was carefully carved into.

This craft dated as far back as early 18th century. A priest at the Kamo Shrine in Kyoto named Tadashige Takahashi created a doll body from scraps of willow wood trees and covered it with left over fabrics used for the Shrine festivals, thus the name Kamo dolls. However, kimekomi doll is not temari ball craft as often confused.

For more info on Kak Latifah’s artwork :

Kembara Kraf Selangor 2017 Fam Trip is in collaboration with UPENS (Unit Perancangan Negeri Selangor) and all its sponsors with #GayaTravel as media coordinator.

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