Traditional weaving goes on app

Azlan Othman

A trio of Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) undergraduates is aiming to bring the traditional and intricate design thread called Kain Tenunan to an international audience through an application they have developed called Reka Bentuk Kain Tenunan Kitani (‘Our Woven Cloth Designs’).

The app, described as the first of its kind to focus primarily on Brunei Tenunan or weaving, was introduced under the Projek Pelestarian Motif Tenunan Brunei or Perpetuating Brunei Weaving Motif (Design) Project by undergraduates from UBD’s Academy of Brunei Studies (APB) – Noramalina binti Zulkefli, Hajah Nurzahidatul Hikmah binti Haji Serbini and Dayangku Nurul Fatin Nazurah binti Pengiran Zul Amli.

The Sultanate is famous and proud of its woven fabrics where intricate designs made with fine and expensive threads are worn during events such as weddings, religious gatherings and other ceremonial occasions.

One of the app’s features is that it can also be used as a database to document and preserve the Brunei Weaving Motifs Legacy.

Noramalina said the main objective is to document and perpetuate Brunei weaving in a digital manner.

UBD undergraduates and developers of the Reka Bentuk Kain Tenunan Kitani (‘Our Woven Cloth Designs’) app Noramalina binti Zulkefli, Hajah Nurzahidatul Hikmah binti Haji Serbini and Dayangku Nurul Fatin Nazurah binti Pengiran Zul Amli. PHOTOS: AZLAN OTHMAN
Traditional weaving the three UBD students are working on.

Currently, the app is digitising 119 motifs (designs) out of over 1,000 motifs.

“The design is still the traditional Bunga Bertabur but we plan to increase more designs in the near future,” she said.

She shared that the app took four months to make as they needed to gather all the designs from local Bruneian weavers and designers before uploading them into the app.

“The challenges include the process of digitising it by counting the X sign in the graph paper before it goes to the app maker,” she continued.

“We are hoping to upgrade them in the Google Play Store for Android and App Store for iOS users, as well as in-app purchases and services to digitise the design from locals interested to put in this app to be commercialised.

“In addition, we plan to add more design and not just focussing on Kain Sepugut or Silubang Bangsi woven threads.”

The Reka Bentuk Kain Tenunan Kitani application also aims to realise the wish of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, to make the country a progressive nation using innovative technology in the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI).

In developing the app, the undergraduates collected a number of traditional and modern motifs from local weavers and designers who have been actively engaged in the weaving industry, as well as young designers who have created modern as well as innovated traditional motifs.

Noramalina added that with the app, opportunities will open up to the community to design their own weaves based on their own creativity.

The application is also aimed to facilitate the community in identifying and accessing information on the Brunei weaving motifs.

The trio hopes the project will attract the younger generation to venture into the weaving industry and preserve the weaving motifs, create innovative patterns, and create new markets and entrepreneurship opportunities.