“I think Senia is a very energized person. Although my English is not good, I could feel that everyone was very happy when they chatted, and wanted to be her friends.” ── Huang Wen-Chi, Designer at 2nd Corner Studio
“You have to like it from your heart and then you can continue the traditional weaving. This is what we call traditional. Because it is counted every stripe to make the weaving.” ── Senia Anak Jugi, lead artisan of Catherine Senia Jugi for Iban basketry, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Designer and Craft Community
“Whether it is the plant of the material or the structure after weaving, bamboo can always become what I expect in my heart.”
Wen-Chi, Huang, the founder of “2nd Corner Studio” which focusing on the creations and education of bamboo and rattan weaving. “隅 (yú)” means corner, and “corner” represents a small space. For Wen-Chi, the corner is not a synonym for darkness, but a place of comfort and freedom. She hopes that her works can be accomplished in a quiet space in a breeze, a sunny day, or a rainy day. She also looks forward the bamboo creations can be naturally integrated into every part of the house, decorating the daily life in an inadvertent corner.
Catherine Senia Jugi originates from a longhouse community close to Sarikei, Sarawak, and learned her traditional Iban basketry techniques from her mother and grandmother. Since leaving her home to pursue a career in crafts and bag making in Kuching, she has excelled after decades of practice earning the title of Living Legend for Iban Basketry from the Sarawak State Government. Her raw and woven materials for her bag-making are sourced from Iban and Penan communities. As an artist, she has traveled extensively within Sarawak to train younger crafts communities and also conducts regional and international workshops.
The lead artisan of Catherine Senia Jugi for Iban Basketry, Senia Anak Jugi, is a Malaysian national treasure. When she was a teenager, Senia liked to follow around her grandma and mother to watch how they weaved; she would be by their side cutting up fabrics. That was how it all started. Cooperating designer Wen-chi is also a bamboo crafter herself, and after she learned about the unique “pointy weaving” technique and “bark cloth” material, she decided to try to combine them. This was the first time Senia cooperated with a foreign designer. She said: I had never done such a challenging thing before, but I liked it because it had design and draft drawings. For the first time, Senia, who had always woven with her hands, had restrictions from size, number of tips, to the heterogeneous combination of materials—it was a new world for her.
Having said that, Senia was too familiar with the material that she was able to provide feedback from a production perspective, while also offering the idea of finishing up the weaving using ferns. An interesting story happened during the co-creation project: it was during the busy production phase, and news came from Senia that she tested positive and needed to be quarantined. During the weeks of her quarantine, Wen-chi and the team could only anxiously wait, fearing that the project would be delayed. It was not until the next meeting when Senia told them that she had nothing to do during the period of quarantine and weaved nonstop daily, showing them a series of samples, that everyone finally let out a breath of relief.
FIBER CO-CREATED PRODUCTS
〈Trace of Home〉
<Trace of Home> designed by Wen-chi consists of top and bottom parts. Looking at it from the side, it resembles a small mountain with several peaks, standing tall and confidently. The top was woven by Senia through the pointy weaving technique, and the indention is the most suitable place for storing fragrance; the bottom is a round wooden base, which, when lightly shaken, can release the fragrance into the space.
The table lamp, <Radiant Power>, made of translucent pointy shade woven by rattan and opaque bark cloth spills warm yellow light from the openings, making it a perfect nighttime lamp that offers a great sense of security. Closely observing the two works, the black finishing at the bottom is the idea of Senia: finishing up the weaving with Resam. Resam is a kind of fern, which is naturally black, and Iban basketry often uses it for edges.
2nd Corner Studio
Hi! I am Huang Wen-Chi, Designer at 2nd Corner Studio!
Iban basketry, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Hi! I am Senia Anak Jugi, lead artisan of Catherine Senia Jugi for Iban basketry, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia!