Kuala Lumpur International Craft Festival (KLICF), the second of its kind, is currently in full swing at the Craft Complex, Kompleks Kraf Kuala Lumpur from 24 to 27 November 2016. The website states its objective is “to promote and showcase unique craft products and designs from all over the world with demonstrations and cultural performances by the participants.”
Nearest Train Station: Raja Chulan LRT Station
If driving: Jalan Conlay can be accessed via Jalan Kia Peng or Jalan Bukit Bintang behind The Pavilion. Parking was little haphazard, maybe because it was the first day. I ended up parking at a friend’s place and walking. Alternatively, you can park at the hotel or at Pavilion across the road. Someone I know parked at Prince Court Medical Centre. There seemed to be a parking fee for both the hospital and the hotel.
Landmark: Next to The Royale Chulan, Kuala Lumpur
If you enter from the gate next to the Royal Chulan you will be greeted by a giant canopy which serves as a food court. There is another gate a few metres ahead too. If you enter from there, you have to first walk through the emporium then cross over into the exhibition halls. There is a Maybank ATM at the entrance and they have counters accepting credit cards for payment, interspersed amongst the stalls.
The focus of the festival this year is Fabric. So fabrics galore it was: especially batik and a little bit of songket. All kinds of attire made out of batik material made for a vibrant walk through the basement. Malaysian vendors are housed in the Basement and part of Tent B while International stalls are in tents A & the other part of tent B.
The same basement also has a bunch of exhibitors displaying bead jewelry from the Borneo, silver and metal-ware accessories. I spotted Tanoti, a Sarawakian enterprise of women weavers and artisans Gerai OA, a volunteer run stall selling crafts by the Orang Asal (indigenous minorities) of Malaysia that guarantees 100% of the sales is paid to the artisans.
Part of hall B which houses the Malaysian stalls has displays of bamboo and cane furniture and even products made from pineapple fibre. Visitors thronged a stall named Claypatra, selling natural products from lip balms to body products.
The International stalls include those from Philippines, Thailand, Mauritius, Sri Lanka some as far a Kenya (the lovely beaded footwear), Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Argentina. These stalls were scant and carried few products on Day 1.
The Complex also houses a Craft Museum with displays of ancient technology used in the production of craft products and their manufacturing processes. Visitors get to know local crafts through a display of native products, motifs, materials used and their fabrication processes, as well as the function of the product itself. The Complex offers activities too: batik workshops happen throughout the year. According to their website there are also workshops in wood carving, ceramic, metal, pewter and costume jewelry. Visitors can also observe the art of craft through demonstrations and crafts interactive at the Craft Village.
Why should you go?
- Great exposure to crafts from over multiple countries, get ready for a riot of colors!
- Conveniently timed from 10am – 10pm and spread over four days including the weekend.
- Entrance is free, as is parking (if you find spot – I hope you do!).
- Good food & beverage arrangements (with air-conditioning), and wash room facilities available too at a nominal cost of RM0.30.
What’s not to like:
- The KLICF website could definitely have been a little more comprehensive about all the exhibitors with details of countries and products. With such information at hand, it would have made it easier skimming and navigating through 175 stalls!
- Parking could have been much better organised.