Artisans get into spirit of Christmas

KOTA KINABALU: This year’s Christmas edition of the monthly Jesselton Artisan Market (JAM) saw visitors thronging Riverson Walk in Kota Kinabalu for festive-themed crafts and activities.

For Latonia Lanette and her husband Joseph Thomson, both 31, the two-day Christmas night market was a good way of spending quality time together, in addition to supporting local artisans and businesses.

Latonia is from Penampang, Sabah but currently works in the oil and gas industry in Miri, Sarawak. Thomson is a software engineer in the Netherlands.

Although they would usually be off travelling in Europe or Thomson’s native country Britain to visit the Christmas markets, JAM’s seasonal offerings this year were a welcome change of scenery for the couple.

“I enjoy Christmas markets because they are very pretty and people are generally in good spirits.

“It’s very nice to see,” said Latonia, who purchased a Christmas-themed bath bomb, among other trinkets, at the market.

“It’s exactly Latonia’s sort of thing. There is a good selection of products and she also needs someone to help her with carrying the bags,” joked Thomson.

Latonia was happy to support small local businesses and startups, as she saw many vendors coming to Kota Kinabalu from all around Malaysia to sell special editions of their products.

One popular item at the market was the Christmas-themed hat made out of upcycled sarong by Tuaran-based local outfit, Sangsarong.

Co-founder Jofanna Dusing, 37, said Sangsarong was a project she started with her mother Fanny Pang, to create clothing and pouches from upcycled sarong.

“My mum was always wearing sarong at home, so we decided to turn the material into headbands or clothes to be worn at home.

“The only festive-themed item we sold this year is the Christmas hat. It was a hit with the customers as it is localised, and they liked the style,” she said.

JAM co-founders Aaron Lam and Chrystin Choo said this year’s Christmas market was more successful than the last, in terms of the amount of vendors, activities and crowd.

A total of 170 local and international brands participated in the market.

Other than Sabah, the vendors came from Sarawak, peninsular Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore. There were also French, Japanese and Korean expatriates participating in the event.