Talented mom-daughter weave exquisite tudung saji

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Noriyaton Juendah and Nurul Asdiana Mohd Ariff of Tudung Saji Che Ton have been creating stunning food covers since 2019.

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Nurul Asdiana Mohd Ariff (left) and her mother Noriyaton Juendah are the creative weavers behind Tudung Saji Che Ton. (Nurul Asdiana Mohd Ariff pic)

PETALING JAYA: The month of Ramadan has officially started, and if you’re planning to add a touch of colour to your home for Hari Raya, how about considering a couple of tudung saji or traditional food covers?

Although they may not be a conventional home decorative, the ones by Tudung Saji Che Ton may just change your mind.

These tudung saji are simply exquisite: satin ribbons woven into plastic strips to form eye-catching geometric patterns and flower motifs.

In fact, they also make lovely gifts, although recipients may hesitate to use them in the kitchen!

The talented hands and minds behind the business are a mother-daughter duo from Kedah: Noriyaton Juendah and Nurul Asdiana Mohd Ariff.

“My mother started the business in 2019 after she learned how to weave from our neighbour,” Nurul told FMT during a Zoom interview.

After mastering the technique, Noriyaton decided to sell 10 of the food covers she made. “But when I saw how lovely they looked, I told my mother we would gain more customers if we marketed them on Facebook,” the 31-year-old recalled.

Her hunch proved to be right, and business soon boomed. When she saw how busy her mother was, she joined the business full-time in February 2020.

“By then, I had already resigned from my job,” she said.

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These food covers are pretty as a picture. (Nurul Asdiana Mohd Ariff pic)

Although she only planned to handle the marketing aspect of the business, she soon realised two pairs of hands were better than one. And to help fulfil the orders pouring in, she learned how to weave from her mother.

“It was challenging at first. I made a lot of mistakes, and my patterns weren’t very beautiful,” she recalled. Nevertheless, she persevered and within a month, her work showed tremendous improvement.

A labour of love

Today, the duo makes food covers in three sizes – 30.48cm (12 inches), 60.96cm (24 inches) and 66.04 cm (26 inches) in diameter. According to Nurul, she typically takes between one to three days to complete one food cover.

As with any craft, patience and creativity are key. “When we weave, it is important to be meticulous or we’ll have to start all over. At times, I do get tired so I will take a break before starting again,” she said.

When it comes to the designs, the mother and daughter find inspiration from nature and even tile patterns. Nurul said they have more than 20 designs and it is hard not to be mesmerised by the stunning array.

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With a pattern resembling songket, this food cover brings an elegant touch to the home. (Nurul Asdiana Mohd Ariff pic)

“Some customers want a certain design with different colours,” she shared, adding that they also personalise the food covers with a customer’s name.

From their humble beginnings in Kedah, the pair has customers from all over Malaysia today. “We even receive orders from Singapore and Hong Kong,” she said with a smile, adding that all orders are couriered to their customers.

Weaving dreams for the future

Nevertheless, to take their business to the next level, it is vital to keep growing their customer base – and this is where  Persatuan Pembangunan Artisans (PPA) has been of great help.

The NGO assists artisans to widen their distribution channels by promoting their products through an online platform, physical stores in the Klang Valley, and pop-up events.

“PPA has been very helpful to us as we have garnered a fair share of customers through their platforms. We have even travelled from Kedah to participate in a pop-up event at The LINC KL,” she said.

Additionally, Nurul also conducts classes as she wants to pass her knowledge on to others.

“I believe that this is important to ensure that the craft survives. Most of my students are from the older generation, and I hope to see more young people taking an interest in it,” she shared.

She added that there are two teachers who are learning the craft from her so they can teach disabled children and subsequently equip them with a skill.

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Add a pop of colour to your dining table with a food cover from Persatuan Pembangunan Artisans’ Raya Series. (Nurul Asdiana Mohd Ariff pics)

Thinking big, Nurul plans to employ other weavers to increase their production capacity and someday, market their food covers to more countries outside Malaysia.

“I feel happy that I am able to help my mother and introduce this craft to others. When customers tell me that they love our food covers and want to order more, it’s so satisfying.”

See more interesting designs by Tudung Saji Che Ton on Facebook and Instagram. To purchase, contact 016-617 5385.

The Raya Series is on sale from now till April 24 at:

  • Malaysia Grand Bazaar
  • The LINC KL
  • Tokyo Street at Pavilion KL
  • pop-up store at Eslite Spectrum at The Starhill
  • or check out its website.

Read more PPA stories and get to know their artisans here.

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