I was invited to teach linocut printing to senior members of the community last month as part of Silver Arts Festival 2016. It was a privilege to be with different member of the community and watch as they got the hang of transferring their designs, carving and printing. Many were first-timers to taking an art class, and we had a really enjoyable afternoon together.
Printing your own fabrics and stationery is such fun - and it was great to recently combine two workshops so that students could get an insight into each technique. The same 'linocut train' takes all the students to the transfer, tracing and carving stops. Then there are two tracks - one for printing on fabric and one for printing on paper. Same, same but different as some might say!
The good thing about the type of lino we use is that it can work with both paper ink and fabric ink. It's nice to know that students who print on fabric this time might be sending friends some handmade cards in the same design next time! My new stationery set with greeting cards, envelopes and wrapping paper comes with instructions and an envelope template - great for putting your own touch on presents!
Being creative with other like-minded people is something I really enjoy about my workshops. It's relaxing to make things on your own, but sometimes a studio environment is just what you need to being out the (efficient!) artist in you. It's also lovely to see students making new friends as well as enjoying time with friends that they bring along.
Heritage tiles are the inspiration for many of the designs we use in my workshops. It's one thing to admire the beautiful designs (beneath your feet!) but it's another to take the time out to carve and create these designs. The process of mixing colours and working out patterns really makes these architectural features 'yours' in my view. To think you can take incorporate a little of Singapore in something you make is special. Try your hand at a unique art workshop by subscribing to my newsletter or check out upcoming workshops!
Team bonding! As a former corporate warrior (in Japan!), I know how important it is to be able to work with people of different nationalities and backgrounds. It's vital to allow colleagues to develop stronger bonds - outside the office kitchen! I love seeing how art can help people to get to know each other in a relaxed and creative environment.
Art workshops can also be a feature at events. I was recently invited to host a Peranakan tile inspired printmaking session for a media launch at Hotel Indigo Katong, a new boutique hotel in Singapore. Members of the press used linocut blocks that I custom-made based on designer tiles at the hotel. As you can see from the photos, the event was a lot of fun!
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Team Bonding, Corporate Events, Team Building, Art Workshops
After years as a translator in the Japanese corporate world, I think I know what it's like to feel stressed at work! That's why I love to help my students feel relaxed and inspired in my art workshops.
Powerpoint presentations, endless emails and unrealistic deadlines (and for Japanese workers....'humble' language and 'respectful' language where verb endings change completely) can seem a world away once art calls your attention.
I work hard to make sure my workshops are fun and have very achievable goals. But in order to achieve these, participants quickly find that the mini targets ahead of them require a kind of quiet focus.
When their hands are busy, there's no way my students can be making calls or checking their messages! In fact, often there's barely enough time to take admiring photographs of the process.
I choose background music that is lively but not energy draining. I sprinkle some essential oils around and I make sure my home studio is uncluttered and inviting. Hence more excuses to buy decorative batik textiles to scatter around...
I encourage my students to take a good break between carving and printing. I'm not joking when I say they need to up their blood sugar levels ahead of power printing!
Getting ready for printing is like giving a concert - a lot of things are put in place before you even appear on stage. In fact, most of the preparation is done long before the class even starts!
Knowing your destination - clearing a space for your freshly printed images, lining up all your tools, having your paper ready at hand. These somewhat boring considerations are all essential once you get printing. But it's these points that help my students feel confident and calm.
It's great when participants have fun mixing up colours and trying new things! Everyone is so different. Some people have a very clear idea of their goal and others just work it out as they go along.
Unexpected lines, wonky alignment, a few finger prints...that's the nature of the handmade print. Perhaps it shows how much we have become accustomed to perfectly Photoshopped images!
Since I started teaching, it's increasingly obvious that art has benefits beyond just creating beautiful pictures. I'm so glad when people have the courage to explore this often neglected part of themselves. And I feel inspired when I see my students doing new things that I hadn't thought of. To teach is to learn!
Physical health, mental health - taking the time out to explore your creative side is also a great way to make new friends, learn new skills and find out something about yourself!
'I took this workshop because of my interest in things Peranakan and also to learn a new craft/skill. I would recommend this workshop as it’s a good starting point in learning the craft.' - Jenny Ng, Singapore
Some new designs got a work-out in my recent Peranakan Lino Workshop. It was interesting trying out various colour and pattern combinations. It's always a thrill seeing how each student's unique carving and printing style produces amazingly different prints.
I love using these heritage floor tile designs and I've begun to group them into categories. Some types are circular with a kind of flower centre. These can create really beautiful and striking designs, especially when printed on a large scale. The same tile can be printed by spinning it around the other way - resulting in a totally different looking image!
I'm looking forward to our next workshop - check out the dates here! I hope to make it as enjoyable as it was for this workshop's students. Thanks for the nice review!
Powered on pineapple tarts, this workshop is fast-paced and fun! It's great to see the different carving styles and printed effects. I love to see participants come from zero carving experience to creating a beautiful matrix that they can use for multiple projects - cards, envelopes and even for fabric prints!
Don't miss the fun - join our next workshop in March!