Borneo International Bead Conference 2015

Between October 9th to 11th, I was lucky enough to attend the Borneo International Bead Conference.  Held at the Old Courthouse in Kuching, this is the fourth time the conference has been held. front of old courthouse

My friend Lara Le Reveur is an extremely talented contemporary clay artist and was invited to the conference as a keynote speaker to talk about polymer clay and various techniques to use when working with it.  Lara also ran two workshops.  Lara kindly invited me along to assist in looking after her trade table and generously let me bring some of my lampwork glass beads along.  We had a very simple table set up as it’s hard to bring many display props over in a suitcase.

shared trade table1

Each morning began with presentations by various speakers from all over the world.  Workshops were held in the afternoon.  Trade tables were set up in the quadrangle of the courthouse.  It was extremely humid and my ankles swelled up horribly.  Our tables were sheltered by large veranda’s which kept the sun at bay and sheltered us from the downpours of rain that happened during the afternoons.

quadrangle of courthouse

As the trade tables were so large, we also shared with Margaret Mueller who is the president of the Melbourne branch of the Bead Society of Victoria.  Margaret also facilitated a workshop on using recycled objects in jewellery.

Part of being there for me was educating the local people about lampwork beads.  Many had not heard of the term before and were quite fascinated with my beads.  I explained numerous times how the beads were made.  I just wish I’d taken some books or photos to show how the lampwork beads are made.  I was even asked by several people if I was running a workshop.  Unfortunately the equipment for making lampwork beads would have been very difficult to take with me and I doubt they could have been sourced locally.

Polymer clay beads were also a new concept to many participants.  Lara’s workshops were very popular.  I’m sure some of the workshop participants will continue on with making polymer clay beads. The tools and equipment for polymer clay are a little easier to source.

One of the other workshops that ran was a stringing workshop.  I sold one lampwork bead to the lovely girl below (sorry but I can’t remember your name). She discovered that another focal bead was required so she came back and bought another bead in similar colour scheme.  The necklace was proudly worn to our gala dinner and looked gorgeous.

simple stringing using my lampwork beads

Below is a photo shoot that took place before our gala dinner on Saturday evening.  I’m the shorter one.  We had to wear a necklace made out of plastic beads for the photo.

borneo banner

During the conference, we were very well looked after.  There was morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea.  Each meal had several different dishes on offer and you helped yourself.  As Lara was a speaker, we also went to a welcome dinner which was held at the Sarawak Club and a farewell dinner which was held at a seafood restaurant.  The food was delicious and extremely fresh.

After the conference and before flying home, I managed a visit to an orangutan sanctuary and a long house so I did get a glimpse of the countryside.  Never having been to Asia before, I really wasn’t sure what to expect.  I was pleasantly surprised by the lovely people and the great food.  I could do without the swollen ankles though.  If given the chance, I would definitely do a return visit and see a bit more of what nature has to offer.

Comments

  1. What an interesting account of your trip Marianne. After reading it all I too would love to see you at work producing your glass beads.
    Warmest wishes,
    Sharon

  2. Great to read some details of your trip- it all sounds wonderful. I would have enjoyed being an attendee Im sure!

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