SEREMBAN: Born into a Terengganu songket weaving family brings endless pride to a local here, who is determined to continue the legacy started by his mother in the 1960s.
Nik Mohamad Salahudin Nik Nizam, 29, wants to make sure every piece of the Malay traditional handwoven fabric created by his mother, Meriam Musa, 60, known as ‘Meriam Songket’ is sellable at a worthy price.
Fondly known as Nik, he makes full use of the latest communication platforms to ensure each piece that his mother created could be sold at the best price on par with its quality.
“My mother raised my siblings and me with income from weaving songket and selling it to the traders at the Pasar Payang market in Terengganu.
“When I was younger, I always felt that the earnings she received for every piece of Songket she weaved was not worth the effort, she only gets about RM400 to RM500 but to complete each piece took two to three months as the process is complicated.
“Mother would start working very early in the morning and was meticulous with her handiwork but there was nothing I could do to help at that time except to try to sell it to my teachers,” he told Bernama here today.
He also said that his mother has the skill to create her own pattern, and this allowed her to weave custom-made orders based on the pattern, type of fabric and colour requested by the customers.
Nik, now a police officer and the seventh child of 10 siblings said after finishing school, he spent his free time while he was at university and even after entering the workforce to market Meriam Songket using online platforms.
“Songket is a seasonal item, customers only look for it during the festive season or for weddings. Therefore, we could not rely on old-fashioned selling methods so I market it online on Facebook and Instagram.
“The online platforms allow me to expand my market and reach customers from all over the country,” he said.
Nik admits that a piece of handwoven Songket could be worth a few thousand ringgit and not everyone could afford it, but with a good combination of design and colour, Terengganu handwoven songket enthusiasts will surely be pleased with the final result.
“There are two types of fabric used to create songket, cotton or silk. The price for our Cotton Songket ranges from RM1,000 to RM1,500 while for Silk Songket, the price range is from RM5,000 to RM6,000. The type of thread used and its pattern also affects the price. Still, our price is much lower compared to market prices which can go over RM11,000.
“The price of songket is not cheap, so it’s a bit difficult to sell. I usually persuade a potential customer to meet-up so that they could evaluate the quality of our handwoven songket themselves. Although there have been times, they change their mind after meeting, I take it as a challenge,” he said.
To give more variety to the choices of the songket sampins (waist cloth) he sells, Nik also helps other songket weavers from his hometown particularly relatives and housewives from Kuala Terengganu market their products.
“This way, I can keep the legacy of Meriam Songket alive and at the same time help my hometown folk earn better income. Most of them have their own looms.
“I think my sister has also decided to follow mother’s footsteps in the art of songket weaving,” he added. – Bernama