Over the past twenty years Norhaiza Noordin has built up a vast portfolio of sketches gleaned from his many visits to fellow craftsmen, public and private collections, throughout the SE Asia region and Europe. It gives a unique insight into the method and form built over generations of craftsmen. These sketches, coupled with his own collection of artefacts, such as the Keris Melayu (or Malay Dagger) are what Norhaiza calls his ‘textbooks’, a guide to use of wood, motif and pattern and even legends.
From these sketches and artefact’s Norhaiza was able to develop his own individual style as a woodcarver. Therefore his collection of sketches includes his own ideas onto paper, for later transmission into works of art in this woodcarving tradition. But these sketches represent much more than just observation and notation – they represent a search by a student looking for a guru. In the Malay traditional crafts what is sought, of the highest is the ‘guru asal’, a meeting of the student with his ancestry, a man imbibed with the ‘spirit’ or inner dimension of man. So to be a student, to become a master, is very much the intellectual pursuit that has guided Norhaiza of many years.