Peranakan Beaded Shoes – Manek Ay

During the Peranakan days, it was a trend for the nyonyas to wear beaded shoes. Most of them learn to sew it themselves and they work with the tiny colourful size beads known as the manek potong. Sewing a pair of beaded shoe is time consuming. From my experience it is tedious and can be strenuous on the eyes too. Nowadays those sold in the shops are usually made up of the larger size beads which are cheaper and easier to work with.For all my beads handy craft work, I prefer to use the smallest size beads because the finishing product looks more elegant. To start off, I have to choose a design, colour of the beads, specified needles, thread and a frame. The frame is require to hold the cloth tightly which makes sewing much more easier.

The photo below shows the design of  bird and flowers which is from the nyonya era. The colour for the beads are chosen according to the theme. It took me three months to complete it. I have yet to make it into a pair of shoes which can be easily done in the famous Hong Kong Shoe store located in Lebuh Muntri.

Below are modern design bead work tops/cover which were already made into shoes. The shoes in the center and left photos were made using the smaller beads, while the pair on the right uses the larger size beads.

Bead works handy craft can also be made into pouches – for storing hand phone, tissue and even card holder. Some designs can be frame up and hang on the wall too. Will blog more on these in the coming days…..

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