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Pet portrait embroidery enabled axed canteen helper survive pandemic

Borneo’s indigenous communities should be inspired to do the same.

When a beloved pet becomes part of the family, an embroidered portrait is a great way to keep them forever in memory.

Enter embroideress, Rifasya Abdul Rashid, 47, who started offering the service after she lost her job at a canteen at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic two years ago.

“One of the most expensive and challenging portraits I did was of a Rottweiler with the Petronas Twin Towers and Kuala Lumpur Tower in the background for a customer from the UK living here.

“It was A3-sized and cost over RM3,000,” she said of her realistic rendition of the dog and Malaysian icons.

“My customers want something to remind them of their pets when they die or if they go missing. They hold sentimental value,” she added.

She said it’s not always easy to embroider a portrait from a photo sent via an online order if its fuzzy or the instructions are unclear due to communication constraints.

However, Rifasya has had a passion for crafts since she was young and one of her most memorable embroidery creations was an orangutan for a Russian customer.

She said she takes two to three weeks to finish a piece and they can cost upwards of RM80.

Remembering the time she was without a job during the movement control order (MCO), she said: “When I was working as a canteen assistant, I embroidered part-time. Losing my job was probably a blessing in disguise because I could focus on fulfilling my dreams.”

Rifasya, who also has a talent for woodcarving and dioramas, said she earns a four-figure income per month from embroidery.

“I like trying and learning new things. Right now I’m learning how to tie-dye,” said the inhabitant of Teluk Intan in Perak. – Bernama

Featured photo by Suzy Hazelwood, Pexels

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