My new art journal

At the end of 2017, I decided I was done with my old art journal, and started a new one in the beginning of 2018. Because I felt the desire for change, there were a lot of changes I made to my new art journal that differed greatly from the previous two journals, which were exactly the same in shape, size and materials. After 5 years of working in my art journal the same way, I felt like it’s time to change things up, a reflection my own personal revelations as well. But that, is a story for another day.

First of all, a look at how my journal looks like from the front:

I tend to like colours on the covers of my journal, because it makes me happy to see colours. The cover here is made from a sheet of deli paper that I used as a paint palette, so there are lots of juicy colour on that one small sheet. What’s different about this cover, is that I have decorated it, sketching a girl and then painting it in. My past two journals were completely plain on the outside other than the colours – I wanted to decorate it at the end of the journal so that the cover matched the inside of the journal, but it never materialised because I was too lazy at the end of the journal, and I was so used to the plain covers that it felt weird to finish up the covers, and then put away the journal for storage. So I was pretty surprised myself when I got the urge to pick up a pencil and draw in this girl here. But I’m glad for it, even though she’s a little dirtied during the process of filling up this journal, because it sets a theme for the journal and really gave a sense of ownership.

Another thing that is different for this journal was how I bounded it. I decided to change up the size of the journal because I had gotten too used to the 6″ x 11″ size previously, shrinking it down to half A4 size. This is also a single signature journal, much thinner than my previous two journals which had five signatures, lasting me for two years each. As I am writing this, I am more than halfway past my journal, with only a few pages left to fill up! It’s just such a quick journal.

But, the most important difference about this journal is the papers that I have used to make the pages. Previous journals used a mixture of artist paper – cardstock, drawing/watercolour/scrapbook paper, but this one is made completely out of junque – brochures from mail, paper bags, envelops, old calendars. It’s a radically different base, which I prepped for the journal by painting, gesso-ing and collaging over the words and pictures already on the paper. It’s not a perfect cover, but just enough that it doesn’t overwhelm and take over the page when I go to work over it.

I have to admit, I really wasn’t used to having junque papers as a base in my art journals. It made me hesitant to try the more artistic things that I would experiment in my art journals, like paintings and watercolours, because I was convinced that the paper wouldn’t take these mediums very well. To be honest, I’m still hesitant about using watercolours in this journal, because I don’t think the papers will absorb the paint very well, but, but, I have tried other mediums and techniques that I didn’t use to go for in the past in this new journal – oil pastels, dimensional collage, paint scratching, acrylic paints.

Here’s the most recent page from my journal (and pardon the not very skillful blurring of journaling):

The bright and bold colours really surprised me, because the junque material and gesso allowed the colours to stayed on the surface of the page, rather than soaking into the paper. I did this by dipping watercolour pencils into water, and then drew/coloured in the butterflies and leaves, and I never knew that my cheap watercolour pencils can end up looking this bright! It made me want to use them more and experiment further actually, and I love when my experiments get me inspired.

I’m having fun with this journal, and the new format is still really new and fresh to me, so I think I will keep it at this for a while longer. And there’s something interesting about finishing a journal in a relatively short period of time, an explicable sense of accomplishment, and the way I forced myself to step out of my comfort zone. I don’t think I’m an expert on junque journals, because I can’t really get over the junque aspect of things, but I’m trying to explore, while using up my stash of recyclables that I will never get to finish. Hope this inspires you to try your hand at junque journaling, or at least to try something new!

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Trip to the Craft Singapore Exhibition

I was out the other day to Orchard Road and happened to chance upon this exhibition. It was completely random, looking around while waiting for the traffic light and saw the poster for the exhibition on the entrance to the Singapore Visitor Centre. As I had some time to spare, I popped in to take a look! Here’s some photos I took from the exhibition:

ang ku kueh: often filled with red bean, green bean or peanut paste

png kueh: often filled with glutinous rice; curry puff: a puff pastry usually filled with potatoes, egg, meat, and curry
Miniature versions of our local snacks or “kueh”. These were displayed with a personification, hence the “girl” and “boy”. If you remove the “girl” and “boy” you get the names of these snacks. You can hover over the photos for more description of the various snacks. 
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This is one personification of our local snacks from the project “Ang Ku Kueh Girls and Friends”. The character featured here is Ang Ku Kueh girl, with the turtle and marking from the kueh on her hood. You can read more about the project here or see the other characters here.
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Featuring our uniquely shaped playgrounds built around 1980. They are some of the most iconic playgrounds around, and memorable for the people who grew up with them as well. You can read more about the project here.

The Strangely Singaporean Book.

Chor Lor: dialect for behaviour/acting in a rough manner
A look inside “The Strangely Singaporean Book” which mostly features Singlish, our local slang on English. A lot of these are taken from other dialects, like the one photographed above. I didn’t realise that the photo was blur when zoomed in, so sorry if you can’t read it properly! You can find out more about this project here, as well as some videos on some pages of the book.
Teh: dialect for tea; Kopitiam: dialect for coffee shop
A page from another book called “Chope” which means to reserve. This is a fun little book about Singaporean lifestyle and habits. For instance, for the above page titled “The art of ordering Teh” (which means tea), there are more than 15 different variations of tea that you can order! I had a lot of fun flipping through this book. More information about the book, as well as videos showcasing pages of the book can be found here.

That’s all the photos I have. It’s a small exhibition, so it doesn’t take too much time to get through everything. To find out more about the exhibition, you can read this press release here. For information about visiting the exhibition, you can click on this website. The exhibition runs till 21 February 2016, and is located on the 2nd floor of Orchard Singapore Visitor Centre.

I also ventured into the library@Orchard for the first time. This library has a beautiful design and the is focused on art and design. Did not take any photos as I thought it would be rude to the other library users. I borrowed a few magazines from the library and will be reading them through this couple of weeks. If I find something interesting, I will share them on the blog as well.

Hope you enjoyed this look at the Craft Singapore Exhibition! If you like to see more of such blog posts, you can visit this post on the National Design Centre.

Challenge galore!

As you might know, last Saturday was World Card Making Day (WCMD) and I spent the weekends whipping up a couple of cards by joining Studio Calico’s WCMD challenges. Recently I found that I am liking challenges a lot because it provides a guideline for me to start something, and I don’t need to think too much on what I should do or where I should start. This is a prime example of thinking inside the box! It makes things much easier, because you don’t get paralysed from the many ideas that run through your head, and dispels any “What should I do?” wonderings.

So here are the cards I made for the challenge (click on the picture to be read in detail about the cards):

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So that’s all for a quick sharing! Hope you enjoy the cards and feel more courageous to partake in challenges!

 

Ponderings: Blog update!

I’m excited to reveal updates to the blog! Inspired by how some craft bloggers use their own images in their blog design, I have decided to include my own artwork into my blog design too! I have been thinking about this for quite a while but hadn’t had time to do this. And then one fine day as I just sat down at my craft table wondering what to do the designs popped into my head!

The first would of course be the change in the blog logo! It looks a lot bigger than I expected haha. But I think i’ll leave it at that because it’s going to take me a long while to redraw the image, scan it in and colour it again (read: proscratination). The second is of course the “ponderings” title! Since ponderings are a large part of this blog and a permanent feature, I decided to have a title for it! Makes me happy just to look at the logos and the bright colours.

In case you are wondering how I did this, the process is rather simple. Much simpler than I had imagined before I’ve actually done it. First I sketched out my design on a piece of paper, before outlining the final design I want in black marker. Next I scanned it in and edited and coloured the scanned picture in GIMP. GIMP is a programme similar to Photoshop, but it’s a freeware. It is a limited in what it can do compared to Photoshop, but it works fine for my purposes: cropping, stitching photos together, text insertion, digital colouring. I was rather surprised that the digital colouring went on so smoothly, because the programme registered my drawn lines pretty well. I was also able to remove any background colour with a click to make it completely white, since scanning in white paper often result in some tinge of gray.

Now that the process is so clear to me know, I envision myself doing more of this in the future. Perhaps not in the near future, but still, some time in the future.

Visit to the National Design Centre

By pure coincidence I stumbled upon this building and brought home some brochures with the intention of going back again to check out what the place has to offer. So here’s a look at what I saw/what captured my attention in the small exhibition entitled “50 years of Singapore design”.

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Kids playing corner where you can form things out of simple shapes. Shapes are held together by magnets. Now that I look at it, my creation looks like a platypus.

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Really like the spotted nonya series design! So colourful and whimsical but yet still so traditional

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I liked the design of the fauna catalogue – one large, clear picture at the top, and the name and description below it and on the bottom left hand side respectively. It could also be because the font used reminds me so much of typewriter font. One day, I hope I can own a typewriter that gives me this nice typewriting font that I love.
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Apparently this video was very popular but somehow I have not seen it until today. And the idea behind the advertisement is ingenious! Go search for the video on YouTube is you have not watched it! I highly recommend it because it made me laugh out loud while watching it during the exhibition.

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The iconic Singapore Girl uniform of the SIA. Turns out that everyone gets them tailor made. While it is somewhat hyped up it doesn’t lessen the thought process when into the design. As for me, I’ve always like the uniform.

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This is one beautiful dress, the lovely folds of the dress giving the impression of floating and dancing and reminding me of fairies in general. And the golden orchid brooch in the middle just uplifts it into another level of elegance and grace. I wish I can wear something like that and float/dance but unfortunately I don’t own a dress like that nor do I know how to dance.

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imageAnd that is all for the sneak peak of the exhibition. I quite like the exhibition and I think I might have gotten quite inspired by the exhibition because I can feel creativity wanting to burst out of myself after two months of downtime. Hopefully this means that I can craft freely now and flow with inspiration! Though it doesn’t mean that I might make things that I like or consider good, it still feels much better to be in the “I want to create” mode than “I should create something but I don’t feel like doing anything” mode. Or what I would refer to as the bah mode.

Kicking myself mentally again at the lack of design cells in my body while going through the exhibition. I imagine that is probably something I would love to indulge myself in, if only I know how to do it. But I shall content myself with making the small little things that make me happy but don’t mean anything to other people. For now at least, my crafting is something that I want to do to bring joy for myself. Because it’s the best form of achievement and satisfaction when you are happy with what you do.