Inspiring Umbrella designer

12 Aug

I have always been fascinated by people who take on vanishing trades. Trades that have mostly been taken over by industrial machines and mass-production today. It is so nice to know the history and the craft behind our everyday items! In the case of Iida Kasaten, the craft revived is the making of our humble umbrella. 🙂 Reading Yoshihisa Iida’s story is so inspiring so I thought I would share it here:


Pilgrim | Between Winter and Spring

19 Jul

It has been sometime since I posted anything here. Not that there was nothing interesting I stumbled across but more because I found myself so caught up with the ‘productive’ side of my life to bother posting the things I found for fear that the ‘stumbles’ will impede my work. It is ironic that all the things that I found interesting link to the idealistic concept of slowing down and just observing the sublime. Or maybe it isn’t irony but the symptoms that arise from the busyness. Stopping to enjoy these ‘findings’ could well be the cure and way to slowing down. And finding balance through the stumbles.

Recently, a lot of what interest me comes from the lifestyle magazine, Kinfolk. My new favourite which I thoroughly indulge in. (the other thing I indulge in is organising/ physically straightening up messiness, but that’s another story) In the entrepreneurship issue, I found the short film “Pilgrim” by Sea Chant.

The photos were intriguing, but the film is even better with it message about what it means to be home, and the lure of being away.

“In every imagination, a war is fought between dwelling and drifting. The comfort and stability of rootedness pulls strong against wayfarer fantasies.”

Screen shot 2015-07-19 at PM 12.13.39

The images are wonderfully sublime and I liked how they integrated the animated sequence with the play of black and white. The interactive site for Pilgrim further expounds on the prose in film.

Also, the film touches on a topic that I constantly come back to with regards to Travel. I always question why is it we find pleasure in travel. When I am away I get caught up in the place and sometimes it is a rush to cover itinerary, or it is the missing of certain flavours of home. Isn’t it strange then, that we start thinking of the next travel destination not long after we are back?

Speaking of travel, my last trip out was to South Korea and one of the things I came back with was the creative zines from the country. In particular, I enjoyed “Between Winter and Spring” by Byun Young Geun.

Screen shot 2015-07-19 at PM 12.15.41

The play with the monochromatic blue palette reminds me of Chinese brush painting. In Chinese brush painting, the skill of the painter is determined by how many grey tones he/she can draw out from the single black hue of Chinese brush ink. Byun Young Geun uses the watercolours of blue similarly in the zine. The wordless comic manages to showcase the nuances from everyday scenes. I can feel the slow changes in the seasons, which comes partly from the lack of words. With no words to cloud the space, the subtleties in the visuals become more apparent. Read “Between Winter and Spring” here: part of the SSE Project.

the idea of Pre-cycling

25 Sep

This idea of ‘Pre-cycling’ brings in the concept of being Eco-friendly and Environmentally-concious to a whole new level.

I read with interest about the German brand/ shop, Original Unverpackt, which has queues of people lining up with their own cloth bags, tupperware containers and other methods of storage… The shop started by 2 German women who were tired of packaging overdose, decided to set up the shop where “shoppers bring their own containers and can take as much or as little as they like of each food and drink.”


1411377834810_wps_35_Original_Unverpackt_press 1411376553389_wps_7_Original_Unverpackt_press

My mum on hearing me read out the news article, commented that it is like how shops of the past used to be like. That’s when I remembered watching those period television dramas (one of my few sources of history for everyday life of the past) where neighbours would come to provision shops to buy goods with marketing bags in toll. The shop-keeper would weigh out the required amount of beans, rice, preserved vegetables, etc before pouring it into the shopper’s bags. does this show that as our society has gotten more advanced, we have also started to do more harm to the environment?

(all photos taken from Daily Mail)

traveling by book

30 Jun

not so long ago I was doing a book-art module in college and we were given a brief to create a 3D-book artwork. that was the only criterion, it must explore the 3rd dimension. talk about brief! and so i looked first at all the books I enjoyed reading and picked up one to deconstruct (i.e. destroy) into a 3D sculpture. this was what I came up with:




the concept was how “With the flipping of pages, books it seems, becomes a magic mode of transport. Without even having to leave the comforts of your couch, the lands lay out in front you as you travel to another time and space.”
I cut into Alain De Botton’s “The Art of Travel” as it aptly explains the subtle nuances of travel psychology, related to what I was trying to convey.


I have always loved curling up into bed with a book that brings me to a different place, to lands I have yet to set foot upon and some countries which I have and would love to reminisce about. When reading a book list on a pair and a spare recently on travel literature, I was intrigue to create my own list of books that takes one traveling so here goes… this includes some lovely picture books/graphic novels too.


Country/City specific reading

Japan: Tokyo on Foot by Florent Chavouet, A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki, Squeamish about Sushi by Betty Reynolds, A Geek in Japan by Hector Garcia

Britain: Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson

Ireland: Whitethorn Woods by Maeve Binchy

France: A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle, French Milk by Lucy Knisley

Italy: Stravaganza series by Mary Hoffman

Europe: Anno’s Journey by Anno Mitsumasa

Australia: Down Under by Bill Bryson

general books on traveling

Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino – it is supposed to be a narrative of Marco Polo describing one city in various ways – Venice. but really the descriptions could easily be describing any other country. The beautiful writing is specific and general all at once which is ingenious. It makes me want to write a brief account of all the place I have traveled to in the same descriptive manner…

The Art of Travel by Alain De Botton – i began the post with this book and now i end with it. this is one for art lovers (any other Hopper fans out there?) as much as it is for those who want to delve deeper into travel psychology. and it attempts to answer the question of ‘why we do we travel?’.


More to come I say!

Coiled Rope Vessels

26 Jun

I had always been fascinated by these beautiful craft and it has been on my crafts-to-do list for far too long. Recently though I discovered the lovely works of Gemma Patford and told myself I must try my hand at it. Then came an instagram post by a local crafter of her own foray into rope vessels. ok, i was sold. I had to try it. So began the obsessive search for tutorials online of how to make these lovelies… you will be surprise how many ways there are to make these! here is a round-up of 3 great tutorials.


first here is Gemma Patford, queen of rope vessels, giving a quick tutorial on a pair & a spare:


for this version, it looks best with cotton rope and a sturdy sewing machine and some paint of course, head to Gemma Patford’s own website to drool over her works with these vessels!


Next, Lisa Tilse shares her own version of the vessels on her blog, the red thread:


this one is easy enough to follow and especially great if you do not have a sewing machine on hand (or if the sewing machine you have access too is shared, you need not worry about torturing it). you don’t have to be terribly neat about it too!

(another one from the Etsy Blog:


lastly, the method I have tried is the one out from Lena Corwin’s “Made by Hand” book (shared here on designsponge, but get the book! it contains many other exciting projects.). A tutorial by Erin Considine of an ancient basketry technique.


<p><a href=”″>Erin Considine, Coiling Bowls</a> from <a href=”″>Lena Corwin</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

This is by far the most tedious of the 3 methods but I always love techniques that are seeped in history. and the good thing about this is you can use any type of rope/cord since it is going to be completely covered in yarn. In fact the tutorial uses hemp instead of yarn so everything can be substituted and experimented with, depending on the effect you wish to achieve (and in my case, depending on what materials I can easily get my hands on).


so here is my first (and definitely not last) vessel:




(immediately I used it to store my half-done knitted plants!)


Credits of tutorials goes to their creators for having so generously shared their craft!

Lena Corwin’s Made by Hand

7 Jun

more than a year back when I was looking for a print-making book to keep as reference, I chanced upon Lena Corwin’s Printing by Hand and immediately wanted to head straight for the cashier. The clear instructions and good instructional photos, not to mention the pretty project patterns sold the book right away.



so imagine my excitement when I found she has a new book out! I got to flip through Made by Hand and I love it! the book brings in more techniques beyond print-making as Lena Corwin invites her other artist friends to contribute a project each. the result? a book with how-tos for wide-ranging craft techniques including “dyeing, sewing, weaving, crochet, and jewelry making”.  For a crafter who likes to try everything (that’s me!), this book is quite perfect.


check out the book’s trailer:

<p><a href=”″>Lena Corwin’s MADE BY HAND – Book Trailer</a> from <a href=”″>Lena Corwin</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>


I loved that the idea from the book came from various classes held in her studio conducted by others. It just reminds me of what we are trying to do with the POPIN Studio this year! (while response has been slow, we are so grateful to be able to invite so many talented crafters with different skills from paper-cutting to dreamcatchers to ceramics to mosaic to soft sculpture to fabric stamping and book-binding!) oh and did i mention Lena Corwin’s Studio looks so dreamy?

doesn’t it make you want to get started on a crafty project right now?


(all images from Lena Corwin’s website)

“books that moved me”

19 Apr

I hardly post my own works here but here is what I have been working on lately which I have been mighty happy about so i thought I would share.

I was asked to do up some sample fabric art pieces based on the theme “books that moved me” for my local library.


“Invisible Cities” – Italo Calvino


“The Alchemist” – Paulo Coelho


“Le Petit Prince” – Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry

I had so much fun sewing these mainly because I love my books, it was difficult choosing which ones to base my embroidery hoop art upon… “The Little Prince” was a easy choice since it is one of my all-time favourites and I have read it multiple times, not just for the story but also for the simply beautiful illustrations done by the author himself. Then there is “The Alchemist” which is a book i remember fondly from having to analyse it during literature class, the only book i truly enjoyed during the class. The phrase “when you want something, the universe conspires to help you achieve it” just stood out for me then (and again now, since i highlighted and underlined it multiple times in my school days) Lastly, I picked a book I only just got round to reading “Invisible Cities” because I am enjoying its rich descriptions of various cities (or just Venice really.) I realised that all the books i picked had a common thread, a journey, of travelling. It is no surprise then, that i was going to pick a non-fiction book and was contemplating “The Art of Travel” by Alain De Botton… I am contemplating “A Tale for the Time Being” by Ruth Ozeki as well.



these are just the books that i really love though. I would love to hear from others, What books moved you?