It was a wonderland of art and culture at the Jesselton Artisan Market: Christmas Edition this past weekend. Christmas was truly in the air, and we felt the magic!
With 145 brands from Borneo, KL and Brunei selling everything handmade including clothes, cards, plants, art and of course food (glorious food!) at The Walk, Riverson, it reflected the growing arts scene in Kota Kinabalu.
Local musicians (DNA, Merea, Peanut Butter Jelly, Popcoma) filled the air with festive songs and popular sing-a-longs, much to the delight of children and adults alike. Campus Life led the crowd in hearty renditions of well-known carols for a Christmassy end to the night.
Salt x Paper co-founder Aaron Lam, who helms the Jesselton Artisan Market, said he was excited at the massive turnout and glad everything went well. It was a great crowd of hipsters, artists, families, tourists and curious folk who stopped by.
Walking around the market was an amazing experience. Every brand and artist had a unique story to tell. Butodart’s woodcarver Darrel Khar was sitting on the floor, carving a wooden spoon. “We mainly use wood from fruit trees as they look nice and are easier to carve,” he said. Next to him sat Branko, a young man learning the trade of basket-weaving.
A little ways down, 3D Dreamer Production was drawing a crowd for David Ho’s handmade paper-cut light boxes. Each box takes 1-2 days to make and tells an intricate story. Along the boardwalk, Poprina founder Nurul Alam shared about her exciting journey with rice from Long Pasia, Sipitang.
“I was trekking in Long Pasia, tried their rice and it was incredible! I spoke to a farmer and now we’re exploring ways to make the rice available to more people. Their rice is organically grown and only harvested once a year, so it’s really the best rice out there,” she said.
We tried the rice with some tuhau, and couldn’t agree more.
Other booths were selling cool art, button badges, notebooks, cake toppers, cards, jewelry and clothing. Mondo Borneo and Cross Culcha sold their self-designed t-shirts, while Tsukicchi’s artist Aqmar had to stop accepting on-the-spot commissioned works due to the overwhelming crowd.
The food was also a hit. Local businesses and food trucks sold tasty finger foods and refreshing drinks. From cakes, pastries, burgers and sandwiches to homemade ice cream, slushies and jelly, it was a yum fest for everyone.
The pavlova from Pies & Jars was so good! It was definitely one of the best pavlovas we have ever tasted here in Kota Kinabalu (plus it is very rare to find pavlovas here in the city). Also, the mouth-watering Christmas gingerbread ice cream from Pops & Pints was definitely something that the Beanies will have again soon!
For local students Zeke, 20, and Sonia, 21, it was their first taste of the Jesselton Artisan Market. “It’s interesting, one-of-a-kind and a great experience to see all this beautiful stuff around us. The place is really crowded though, maybe next time they should get a bigger space,” she said.
Bryan, 23, said the market is a good way to support the art community, as previously there had been little to no exposure. “With events like these, people appreciate local art and support the artists more,” the barista said, adding that it’s a great development for the city.
Yes, the true meaning of Christmas is all about the giving of oneself. Market-goers made a difference for local children in need by partnering with Shoebox Christmas. The NGO distributes shoeboxes containing school supplies, daily toiletries and other necessities for children in rural parts of Sabah.
All in all, Jesselton Artisan Market: Christmas Edition came across as a huge success! Kudos to the organising team for providing a great platform to celebrate art and culture. We’re already looking forward to the next market.
Thanks to Salt x Paper Stationery for putting this whole thing together with support from Riverson, The Urbanist, Campus Life, Bah Dsign, Shoebox Christmas, Virtual Dimension, Mega Boogie, The Lab and Urban Sketchers. You guys rock!