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Archive for January, 2014

Towards the end of last year, my Christmas orders were all done and i was itching to do something new.

Previously I participated in a small craft market at Viridian Art House, it was quiet, there weren’t many customers but it was a cosy space and all the vendors were casual crafters so we had a lot of time to chat. one of the things that came up during the discussion was the problem of hoarding. ahh. if you are a crafter you would relate to this problem well… we can never get enough of craft materials! In our case? Fabric. Lots of it. we realised then that having stacks of under-used fabrics at home wasn’t a unique problem. We all have those fabrics we thought we would use or those leftovers from a project that we would never do again, yet despite having all those fabrics, there is always that craving for more. scary? yes. uncommon? no. and so we thought if there was a way to swap fabrics with each other it would be a dream come true!

So with a bit of down time at the end of 2013, I decided to sound others in my craft circle out about the idea… what came back was a buzz of excitement with everyone exclaiming “Yes! I have fabrics to give up, please set a date.” and so I did. I set a date, found a venue (or rather, another excited crafter offered up her studio space) and well, the main ingredient to a successful session is the people.

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not everyone could make it but quite a few turned up at the first session (albeit a bit late which got us a bit worried!) and it was quite a success if I may say so myself. Before hand, I had everything set up; my parents and I discussed at lengths for a system that would incorporate various forms of trading including bartering, selling and giveaways. I drew up instructions of how the system would work in images and prepared notecards for the session.

my own trunk full of fabrics to exchange!

my own trunk full of fabrics to exchange!

During the session, we had everyone put out their fabrics (this expanded to felts, yarns, buttons, and other crafting supplies) and that’s when the magic happened! friends saw ‘new’ fabrics they liked, thought up new projects, exchanged advice on working with particular materials…

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The Great Fabric Exchange in Progress!

“Is this enough for a skirt for a 3-year-old you think?” “do you have a pattern for a young girl’s dress?” “I have kimonos at home to give up if anyone wants…” “oh you should talk to Irene, she will be interested” “Have you met Betty?” “Susie would love yarns too, she does a lot of crochet” “Oh you are the owner of Knotty Bicsie? So nice to have finally met you!” “oh you do needle-felting? would you care to give a workshop…” “we should set up a facebook group for this” “oh this fabric is your style, I know you would like this, please take it!”

There was even a giveaway pile!

There was even a giveaway pile!

 

at the "Banker's" counter

at the “Banker’s” counter

Crafting I realise is a common topic to bring like-minded strangers together. It was a pleasure going through everybody’s treasures and knowing that your own fabric has found a good home. I like to think we have found new materials that would inspire us to make more and of course, the interactions and contacts made were even more invaluable.

“We should do this again!” and so we will. Till the next time! ^_^

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In the new year I started a new personal project. I am a bit apprehensive about sharing it for fear it will jinx the progress, but I have got through one full week, so here goes…

 

365 ‘Likes’ Project

“I have been putting off a daily 365 project for too long so finally I told myself I will start one in the new year… so tah-dah! I will be doing a sketch/painting/art piece a day of one thing I like. 

When I was younger in primary/secondary school, we used to get each other to write in autograph books, one section will be “Likes” or “favourites” or something to that effect. It is funny that while autograph books fell out of trend, as I went on to Junior College and then University, social media like Facebook started coming on and once again we are doing the same thing of “Liking” but this time in the digital world! So following that trend, I will make it a ritual to document one thing I “Like” every day in this year. (I haven’t been doing much sketching so I wanted to work it into the project to start again) “

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do go here to follow my day-to-day ‘likes’. 

 

PS: I am not a fantastic illustrator/sketcher/artist and I admit it, but I enjoy the process! I also do not post (it takes time to scan…) on time every day but i will try to keep up. I hope that I manage to keep up with doing a sketch a day and it proven that if more people know about it (like through the internet), you will be motivated to keep to it, which explains why I am sharing this now. 

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I went to Doinky Doodles in the morning to collect the rest of my goods. one last time. going up those stairs, looking at the emptied out shelves, greeting the shopkeeper… everything said ‘one last time’. Xin and Doinky Doodles (and Maki-squarepatch before this) has always been a major inspiration for me to start crafting to sell. note the use present tense, she still inspires me!

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(“But you will be taking sad pictures,” she says. but not really, the shop on closing still looks so colourful and filled with goodies!)

This was the first shop I ever consigned items to (not to mention the longest! since 2010) and I would never forget being ridiculously happy getting that email of acceptance! I will miss the cosy shop with its colourful walls and quirky 100% handmade goods, I will miss the awkward conversations (we are both introverts and she said i was so quiet when we first met!) and all the poking around!

 
Goodbye and Thank you and Good Luck, Xin!
 
 
 
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(I just had to buy a smart beaver to remember the relationship and all those memories by.)

 

After I posted my sad feelings of the closing of the shop, people began to speculate about why it closed. no it isn’t the problem of landlords in this case, not at all! Just an artist’s constant journey to try something new…

Even in my last chat with her at the shop, I learnt (and was reminded of) a lesson about running a business and life. That no matter how successful or how unsuccessful you are, you can always try something new. It is often that the successful are told to continue on with what they are good at, hardly anyone tells the successful to “give it all up, go try something new.” yet, that is what she is doing. I think knowing that there is always other side-roads along the way, it makes starting anything a lot easier. It doesn’t mean that by deciding to focus on my handmade business now that I will be stuck doing it, similarly with someone who holds a full-time job. It is ok to experiment! And the important thing is to enjoy what you are doing ‘now’. 

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(this comes late but hey it is the first day of the new year so it is nice to look back and see what happened in the previous!)

For one, I graduated from University in the middle of the year after spending the first half busy, busy, busy with FYP. The journey of my FYP was amazing and at the end of all the busying, I was half-surprised (and also really proud) to see how much I could come up with at my final Grad Show booth!

 

After graduation, I decided to continue with my handmade business, Momshoo, which i began in 2009, instead of settling into a full-time job. well, in every sense, this is a full-time job. and I am spending even more time on it than i would in a full-time job. It is scary not having a guaranteed salary every month and I am not earning what I could be earning in a normal job but I am fulfilling a lot of what I have been wanting to do! before this, Momshoo has always been a part-time business while more focus was put on my studies and there were opportunities and things I always told myself “I would like to do. if only i had more time on the business.” Now suddenly I do!

and so, I managed to…

– start 2 new relationships with new shops, consigning my products with positive results. not just in sales but it has been a very nice experience gathering new insights from my new consignors! (this happened all while ending another 2 relationships, sadly.)

– showcase my products in an overseas platform: Japan Designers’ Week as part of the Designboom Mart! In the process, i met many other talented designers, made new friends, and it gave me a larger view of the international market.

– start giving workshops! Teaching others how to create their unique versions of our products and spreading the love of crafting! this is to pave the way for possibly more workshops this year.

– initiate a mini-collaboration with friends. this has always been something I wanted to do; to integrate different ideas together and spark more creativity.

 

Having my own business also gave me the freedom to plan my time the way i wanted and it allowed me to squeeze in time for another project that has since became a big part of my life: POPIN, the craft collective which aims to spread craft to a wider local audience. Since 2012, the sessions with POPIN gave me the confidence to try many things, mainly getting out of my comfort zone and interacting with complete strangers, facilitating crafting sessions.

In 2013, I was more involved with the group and got to be part of the curating team for our biggest exhibition yet, Criss Cross at The Arts House. From the publicizing of events, the facilitating of Stitch A Leaf session, the handwriting of each address on the Open Call participants’ envelopes, sorting of applications, putting up of works, designing the exhibition backdrops, liaising for printers’ contacts, I tried it all! it gave me a taste of event planning and what it is like to put up an exhibition from a curator’s point of view and I Loved It! Mostly because I got to spend a lot of time with like-minded crafters and got to know them better, as well as meet many new Singaporeans who are into crafts! who knew there are so many people passionate about handmade hiding in their homes making? (“I didn’t think there were other people crazy about handmade like me!” this was a sentiment echoed by many participants I met at the Stitch A Leaf sessions and the Criss Cross opening night.) It is was a success and very encouraging indeed!

 

and of course, I got to travel this year. To Japan. Twice. both trips were eye-opening and it will take me many long essays to share the experience gained from each. Travelling is something that is best experienced yourself and each person will come out with a different perspective of the place. and so my own travel experiences will be kept in travel journals, sketches, items collected, photos taken, and as many happy memories for years to come.

 

2013 was quite the eventful year and I will look forward to more this 2014 (I already have many new possibilities up my sleeve!)

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