Weaving Dreams Goes to Malaysia

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Titian Budaya
Titian Budaya - Can you spot my weaving?
Photo: Lev Chiong

After the set up of Weaving Dreams at the Maker Faire Singapore, and then as Weave a Story at Playeum this month, the weaving and upcycled installation went to the Singapore - Malaysia cultural exchange, Titian Budaya.  A team of makers took a coach up to Kuala Lumpur - we had cardboard lamp making, a giant maker bear, light painting and many others!





At the beginning of Day 1 with Lev and fellow artist, Bernice (Thinking Tsuru)

I would like to say a big thank you to OneMaker Group for making this possible. Not only was it a great opportunity to teach kids about weaving and upcycling, I got to meet other amazing artists / designers. Although it was a hectic weekend, I managed to squeeze in some time to have some fun! My teammate, Lev, enjoyed the weaving so much that he was weaving on the coach journey back home!

My team mate weaving on the way back home
My favourite finds on the trip:

3 Tips on How To Create with Kids

I love working with kids. Did I say that loud enough? I LOVE working with kids in my DIY upcycling workshops.
I love them, chubby cheeks and all. Then again maybe I just happen to meet the “right” kind of kids at the right time.

weave a story

Last weekend, out of all the kids I interacted with at The Big Draw, Playeum only 2 broke down. One because we imposed rules on her (and I must admit that I was to blame) and the other burst into tears because he realised he had to part with his creation and leave it with the Weave a Story installation.

playeum the big draw
Drawing and making music at The Big Draw, Playeum

On reflection, there are some things that could have been improved. Here are my learning points:

1. Make it free flow
Kids didn't really like it when things got too structured. Some liked to cut, others wove, while others enjoyed the whole process. If it's too structured for kids, it's not play, it's not fun, and then they lose interest.  I saw this on a friend's Facebook timeline. Very true, isn't it?


2. Let them take over
What is weaving? We have learnt weaving a standard way; maybe there is a better way to approach it? We ended up with some kids weaving sections of the hoop away from the starting point ( ie not from the centre) while one boy said he wanted to make a spider web, and why not? When he finished, the ball of yarn became the spider!

The Big Draw

3. They are important
One of the main reasons why it was called Weave a Story was because every child contributes to it in some way or other be it cutting, preparing the hoops or weaving. 
Each child had a role to play and their contribution differed from the next through colour,material and even the way they weaved!

It was crucial to get their buy in and we realised about an hour into the activity what better way than to get them to write their names on the hoops. We had hoops with several names on them which spoke out "We did this together".
And towards the end, I got the children to help me hold the hoops while I hung them up. Their faces lit up when they saw how their work contributed to the installation.

The Big Draw

The Big Draw

The Big Draw

What tips do you have when you create with kids?

You might like reading my previous post on creativity in Out of the Box

A big thank you to Playeum for engaging me as one of the artists at The Big Draw!

DIY Batik

DIY Batik
I am happy to announce my workshop collaboration with artist, Cherlyn Mark of art@home. We will teach you how to upcycle with batik. Do drop me or Cherlyn an email if you would like to take part! It's  happening on the 5th and 12th December at Pearl's Hill Terrace (China Town MRT).

DIY batik upcycling workshop

What is Batik?
Batik is a very traditional form of textile art in South East Asia. Wax is used applied to the fabric in a technique called "wax resist dye" before colour is painted to dye it.  Areas with wax will resist the dye.  The most well known form of batik is Indonesian batik.

It's like Chinese Calligraphy
My experience with it so far is that it is like Chinese calligraphy. I had so much fun trying out the technique with my white top.  

Upcycle Clothes Using Batik?

Yes, you can! Pssst, no sewing involved!

Here's this gorgeous white top which, unfortunately, became extremely blotchy with yellow patches. I really don't know how to get rid of them - I tried vinegar, baking soda, and even bleach.  When Cherlyn told me about her batik workshop, I thought it would be a good idea to some batik.

What's Needed
You will need a double boiler, batik wax, batik dye, a canting (see middle image below) and a paint brush. I got all my supplies from Art Friend!

DIY batik upcycling
Draw Design, Melt Wax
First I drew a design on my top using a pencil.  While I was doing this I melted the wax in a double boiler.

Draw Wax onto Design
Very carefully I transferred the wax into the canting using a spoon, but eventually I decided that it was too slow and submerged the whole canting into the hot wax (be careful, it's really hot!).

I had to be very quick with my drawing - too slow and the wax would cool down and harden; too fast and there wouldn't be enough wax to penetrate the fabric.

DIY batik upcycling
Time to Paint!
Once the wax had cooled down, I started painting. After air drying for 24 hours, I added more colour before removing the wax pieces by hand. Any remnants were removed by sandwiching the garment between paper and  running a hot iron over it.

DIY batik upcycling

What NOT to do

  1. Melting or handling the wax with utensils and pans that are used for cooking. Removing wax is NOT easy! [Note: I suddenly thought of the Sichuan hot pot scandal in China where they added paraffin wax to the hotpot soup!!]
  2. Leaving your work space unprotected - wax alert!!
  3. Letting your wax boil - wax is flammable and will burst into flames.
  4. Forgetting to put a protective layer between the front and back panel of the garment (unless that's the effect you want!)

You might end up with something that looks entirely different from what you had in mind, but that's the beauty of batik. It is a very fluid technique - I really love how the paint moves and interacts with the fibers.  Here's my final piece - now I have a new outfit!

If you would love to try out batik, do come and join us. Drop us an email!

DIY batik upcycling

DIY batik upcycling

DIY batik upcycling

DIY batik upcycling

Linking up to:
Creative Corner Linky Party
Pinbellish Pin Party

Weave A Story at The Big Draw

It's really getting busy now. I have to split myself in half to DIY, upcycle and sew, while the other half of me gets busy with promoting sustainable fashion in Singapore. I hope I don't burn out - tips anyone?

The Big Draw
Image: Playeum
Anyway, I have to share that I have been invited by Playeum to be part of The Big Draw.  The Big Draw is the world's largest drawing festival and it is happening this weekend in Singapore, 14-15 Nov, 12 - 5pm.  There will be a lot of activities going on and all related to drawing in some form or another, including drawing through dance, photography and sketching (of course!).

The Big Draw

So what has upcycling got to do with drawing?
Well do you remember the woven installation that was part of the Maker Faire in June? Well, I will be replicating that with the help of YOU! Yes, that's right, you get to be part of it, and I would love you to come. All you need to do is bring your kids over to the event, and a group of us will teach you how to cut old t-shirts and weave them into hoops. Then YOUR hoop will be incorporated into the installation that will be displayed at Playeum.

The Big Draw

Did I mention that it's FREE?

Playeum is Singapore's first Children's Centre for Creativity where families and children can play, create and be inspired together.

The Big Draw is happening on 14 - 15 Nov, 12 - 5pm

Blk 47, Malan Road
Gillman Barracks
Singapore 109444

Nearest MRT - Labrador Park (5-10mins walk from MRT)


1 comment
The EcoChic Design Award search for emerging sustainable fashion designers in Asia and Europe started earlier this year and has culminated with Redress Asia's unveiling of the 10 finalists 
Do you spot anything you like? 

The designers employed various sustainable design techniques, including upcycling, zero-waste and reconstruction.   

The winner of the EcoChic Design Award will get to design their own capsule collection using up-cycled textiles for Shanghai Tang,  Second prize is a 6 month mentorship with Orsola de Castro, whilst a special prize winner will get to design a sustainable outfit for supermodel, Janet Ma.

I can't wait for January 2016!


The EcoChic Design Award is a sustainable fashion design competition challenging emerging fashion designers to create mainstream clothing with minimal textile waste. The 2015/16 cycle celebrates the competition's fifth year anniversary and is open to emerging fashion designers living in any country in Asia and Europe. Following nine months of inspired designs and rigorous judging, ten finalists will be competing for career-changing prizes on the runway at Hong Kong Fashion Week in January 2016.

Restyle Your Wardrobe Workshop

upcycling workshop

The 3rd session of the Restyle Your Wardrobe Workshop was held last Sunday. One of the reasons I love teaching this upcycling workshop is not just because it's DIY and sewing, but because you get to see how creative the participants get.  We had great pieces being transformed from old garments, and the best thing that many of the ladies were sharing their old clothes!

I had a lot of fun teaching various techniques and sharing ideas. I think it helped that we had two teenagers in the class!

Here are some of my favourites.

upcycling workshop
Sleeves removed and sides adjusted
upcycling workshop
Transformed from one dress and a t-shirt

upcycling workshop
T-shirt upcycled from a cardigan

upcycling workshop
Applique on a tank top
upcycling workshop
Breastfeeding cover from a dress

upcycling workshop
A clutch from a tote bag

Would you like to take part in the next round?
Drop me a line at greenissuessg (at) gmail (dot) com .  I am already planning for the next session and it will be on 17 Jan 2016