by Aida Rahman
I was fortunate to be sent to Kg Buayan by Camp Borneo to participate in the Ulu Papar Bamboo Masterclass, one of the Masterclass Series by Arkitrek in February 2014.
This was my second trip to Kg Buayan within these last two years and it is indeed a magical place. Too bad that the whole valley where Kg Buayan is situated is going to be drowned once the Kaiduan Dam is built (when its built).
Nevertheless, the experience I gained was a valuable one. The mysteries behind making those beautiful bamboo baskets, the solid structures of bamboo slats and those sturdy bamboo furnitures was unravelled in just 5 wonderful days! I have been fascinated by bamboo in general for a while but it has puzzled me in the past on how are those hollow tube like pieces can be made into beautiful, wonderful and functional objects of desire.
Armed with a few ‘parangs’ (machetes) and a ‘pais’ (a small sheath of a knife) the master bamboo craftman, Jowitt, had showed us how to split, strip, slice, peel, shape, shave and sharpen pieces of bamboo into bits to make lampshades, racks and tables.
In time I shall impart the knowledge I have gained by training the Camp Borneo staff who had unfortunately missed attending the course themselves. I am now determined to continue with my own little bamboo projects and who knows when the time comes I may be able to build my own dream bamboo treehouse… 🙂
Those interested in participating in the next Masterclass Series can also help complete the magnificent Bio-Cultural Heritage Centre building in Kg Buayan alongside Tom and Nadhira the ever dedicated Arkitrek interns. I promise you it would be an experience to remember if not a reason to be converted… to a sustainable builder.