KUANTAN: So highly-skilled is Muhammad Abdullah Lotin Mohd Amin that his traditional Malay wood carvings are much sought after.
Under the label Melayu Tradisional Lotin, the Kuantan-born 33-year-old’s woodworking has caught the attention of none other than Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah.
So impressed was the Tengku Puan Pahang, in fact, that she asked Lotin to restore a wood carving that is more than a century old for her.
And it is not just in Malaysia. People from as far away as California and Italy have expressed interest in his work.
Lotin said his idol and inspiration was his grandfather, Hassan Sidek.
He said he became interested in wood carving when he was just 7 and in 2005 decided to take up a certificate in the Art of Wood Craft at the National Craft Institute.
“I studied for two years and managed to complete the certificate course. In 2008, I decided to really go into it seriously and opened up a workshop in my home in Bukit Kuantan.
“I only had a small capital but I began creating a variety of traditional Malay woodcraft such as furniture, knife sheaths, mosque pulpits and the like and managed to earn enough to hire some workers,” he said at his sales gallery in Serambi Teruntum.
The father of two said one needed to be calm, patient and focused when creating wood carvings, as even the smallest mistake can spoil the piece being worked on.
All the hard work he had to put in, however, has paid off as he now receives orders from Malaysia as well as other countries such as the United States, Italy and China, so much so that he is kept perpetually busy.
“I have some regular customers from the West who came across my work at an exhibition at the National Handicraft Centre... every order that comes in I will do the best I can to ensure that it is done on time and that it is of the highest quality, because I also represent Malaysia when my work is sent overseas.”
Lotin said his biggest challenge, however, was fulfilling Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah’s request to restore the century-old carving.
“Besides having to be really careful because of its age, I had to really study it in order to restore it so that it would retain its original carvings... I took seven months just on that,” he said.