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In 2011 Kuching in Sarawak hosted the Borneo International Beads Conference 2011.

Location: Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Date: Friday 7th – Sunday 9th October 2011
Venue: Grand Margherita Hotel

Copies of the Journal of the Borneo International Beads Conference 2011 are available. It contains the research papers given by the speakers.

For details of costs and how to order click here


A broad outline of the programme is as follows:


Friday, 7 October 2011 Saturday, 8 October 2011 Sunday, 9 October 2011
Mid-morning 9 am. – 12.30 pm. 9 am. – 4.30 pm.
Official Opening of BIBCo 2011 followed by tour of Beads Bazaar. Presentation of Papers.Beads Exhibitions and Sales Presentation of Papers.Beads Exhibitions and Sales.
Afternoon 2 pm– 4.30 pm. 2 pm. – 4.30 pm. 4.30 pm. – 5.30 pm.
Keynote Address
Presentation of Papers.
Beads Exhibitions and Sales.
Hands–on workshops Plenary session, Q & A for all speakers and participants.
4.30 pm– 5.30 pm. 7.15 pm.
visit to Tun Jugah Beads Gallery. Gala Dinner and Presentation of Borneo International Beads Awards 2010/2011


There would also be post conference tours on Monday, 10 October 2011

You can download a more detailed programme in pdf format here.

Latest updates (20 February 2012):

  • Report on BIBCo 2011 and photos from the event.
  • After BIBCo 2011 – copies of the journal can be purchased from Crafthub.

Please revisit this page to keep up to date with latest news on BIBCo 2011 – we continue to update it with more details!

Introduction: Beads in Sarawak

The bead culture of Sarawak, part of a greater Malaysian heritage, is rooted in centuries of tradition. An ancient maritime trading network linked Sarawak to the world; the beads most treasured today came from production centres on the Malay Peninsula, from India, China and even further afield.

In the hands of Sarawak‘s craftswomen and collectors, these masterpieces of the glassmaker‘s art became intrinsically “Borneo Beads”.

Objectives of BIBCo

  1. To facilitate creative interaction between Sarawak’s artisans/designers and their international counterparts
  2. To share knowledge and expertise with international bead scholars and researchers
  3. To preserve the Sarawak bead tradition in a commercially viable way
  4. To encourage the production of top quality beads and beadwork in Sarawak
  5. To promote competent modern design in beads and beadwork
  6. To showcase the bead culture of Sarawak to a regional/international audience
  7. To promote ‘culture tourism’ in Sarawak
  8. To improve the earning power of home–based cottage workers in Sarawak

Panel of Speakers and Talks

Keynote Address: Ancient Beads of Peninsular Malaysia
Zuraina Majid–Lowe (Malaysia)
Beaded Wedding Baskets of Southwestern Sumatra
Art Astarita (USA)
Ornaments of the dead among the Nagas
Alok Kanungo (India)
Art on a String from Arnhem Land
Louise Hamby (Australia)
Something for Everyone — Haudenosaunee Souvenir Beadwork
Karlis Karklins (Canada)
Beads of Zululand
Eleanor Preston–Whyte (South Africa)
Karoh – a sacred and secular symbol of identity among the Lotud
Patricia Regis (Sabah) – Joint paper with Judeth John Baptist
The Concept of Adat Law and Adat Law Fines in Sarawak; Melanau Bead Culture; Kayan and Kenyah Bead Culture
Hang Tuah Merawin, Hat Hoklai and Henry Anyie Ajang (Sarawak)
The Beads Gallery of The Tun Jugah Foundation
Janet Rata (Sarawak)
Beads in the Sarawak Museum
Tazudin Mohtar (Sarawak)
Blue Beads to Trade with the Natives’ – a case study
Heidi Munan (Sarawak)


Report on the Event

The Borneo International Bead Conference 2011 went off with a bang. A ’pop’ anyway, when our guest of honour cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony, and ’beads’ popped all over the place.

Old friends got together at BIBCo, new friends joined the fun. Participants came from Australia, Canada, South Africa, Kenya, Indonesia, India, Egypt, all parts of Malaysia, Singapore and elsewhere.


The lecture component was very interesting and informative; we learnt about bead links from all over Southeast Asia and beyond.

BeadsAbuzz – exhibition and sales

Participants and the general public revelled in beads, beads and beads at BeadsAbuzz, the exhibition and sales component of BIBCo. Bead sellers, bead designers, bead artists contributed to the sparkling display; Sarawak’s traditional craft-workers enjoyed the exposure to a wider world.


The three workshops were so well attended that some people had to wait for a turn! A group of experts from the Vukani Museum in Zululand shared the secrets of beading a Zulu Love Letter.

A team from Kraftangan, the Malaysian Handicrafts Board, had a different secret to reveal — how to make dainty beads out of fine strips of bamboo! One specially skilled participant took this a step further to make a finger ring.

The third workshop was a ‘show and tell’ session monitored by Karlis Karklins and Thomas Chung. These two bead experts examined and commented on beads shown to them by participants, but they didn’t just hand down verdicts — they encouraged lively discussion in which everybody took part.

Post-conference tour

The post-conference tour to a Bidayuh longhouse was considered the high point of the event by those who joined this day-trip. An old lady demonstrated the art of making the tall beaded head-gear for which this ethnic group is famous, and the group shared a no-frills Bidayuh lunch on the airy verandah of her house.

BIBCo 2011 Journal – copies available for sale!

Journal Cover

We have more copies of the Journal of BIBCo 2011, containing the papers given by the speakers, available for sale.

In Kuching

The Journal is sold at Crafthub Office, 96 Main Bazaar, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia at RM 45 a copy. Payment by cash.

Within Malaysia

Copies sent by Registered Mail to anywhere in Malaysia cost RM 60 – including packing, postage etc. Please pay by direct banking into Crafthub bank account.

Please email us to request a copy and to get more details of how to make the payment.

Rest of the world

Copies sent by Registered AirMail to anywhere outside Malaysia cost US$ 40 – including packing, postage etc.

Please pay by Paypal or Western Union, do NOT send bank drafts or cheques etc., they are practically consumed by bank charges. Please email us to request your copy and to get details of how to make the payment.

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The Borneo International Bead Award (BIBA)

This international bead-making and bead-working competition was announced at BIBCo 2010 by Usha Krishna, President of WCC (World Crafts Council). The competition was administered by Crafthub Sdn.Bhd, organizer of BIBCo; it was supported by the WCC and the WCC/APR (Asia Pacific Region).

For more information about the competition, see our BIBA page.

The first winners were announced at BIBCo 2011 Gala Dinner.

Photos from the Event

All photos of the event shown below are Copyright © Crafthub 2011


BIBCo 2011 is organised and managed by …
Crafthub logo
Crafthub Sdn Bhd
… with the help of our Supporters …
Sarawak State Government logo
Sarawak Craft Council logo
Sarawak Convention Bureau logo
Sarawak Tourism Board logo
Sarawak State Government Sarawak Craft Council Sarawak Convention Bureau Sarawak Tourism Board
Sarawak Museum logo
Borneo Adventure logo
UCSI Communications logo
Jabatan Muzium Sarawak Borneo Adventure Sdn. Bhd. UCSI Communications
World Crafts Council (WCC) World Crafts Council – Asia Pacific Region (WCCAPR)
… and the Official Airline of BIBCo 2011 …
Malaysia Airlines logoMASholidays logo
Malaysia Airlines