03 May 2013

#HMSG Creative Sharing Session No. 2: Community + Art (+ Me) . . .

Two Saturdays ago, I had the great fortune of being a featured speaker at one of Handmade Movement's Creative Sharing Sessions . . . The focus was community + art, so I put together a presentation that featured a 30-minute slideshow of ten years of past projects combined with a collaborative art making session. 

We held the niche market talk at okb, a coffee shop, wine bar, and gourmet food restaurant. We were upstairs in a relatively smallish room with ample lighting and table space. It ended up being the perfect sized space for the 15 or so people we had join us. One side of the space was dedicated to the talk, where a projector and chairs were set up, and the other side of the space was for the collaborative art making.

It was really exciting for me to formally talk about and go through my last 10 years of work in front of an audience. It was extremely nerve-wrecking, but it provided me an opportunity to survey the work and realize links between the projects that I had never noticed before. And what's even more exciting is that people were into it! They may look a little stagnant in the image below, but they were consistently asking questions and making statements as I flipped through the slides. 

I finished off the talk by showing the Deliciously Happy video, and explaining that the video was a catalyst for getting me to Singapore and that I hoped to do similar projects with youth here.

For the art making portion of the session, I decided to put together a large fabric mural. I prepared an exemplar--below--that showed how the fabric strips would look when woven through a screen and what the final image would say: together.

Several of us stayed up late one night prior to the session cutting fabric strips and organizing colors. The Friday before, I walked around Chinatown with Aisah to find the perfect soft mesh to weave the fabric through. We ended up landing on a large roll of industrial kitchen no-slip flooring for $34: a pretty sweet find. 

I painted the letters for together on the mesh and the participants went about weaving and knotting the fabric strips throughout . . . We set out the colors on the letters and loosely planned out what colors needed to go where prior to the start of the weaving. It was kind of like latch hook, but without the hook.

The absolute best part of the entire session was what happened when everyone began working on the fabric mural together: conversation. It went from being completely quiet to people talking over one another and sharing contact information . . . It was amazing!!

I love the way it looks as the piece is coming together . . . Kind of like something that grows under water. Perhaps that's the color giving me that visual, but I can't help but think of little fishes swimming in and out of these little spiky tendrils. I can't wait to see what it looks like finished! We are planning two more sessions--just for weaving and knotting--where volunteers and community members can come together for great conversation and craft.

One thing that we kept hearing over and over and over again as I facilitated this activity and the presentation was how much the participants wanted to see more of this happening in Singapore. More sharing sessions, more engagement through craft, more community involvement. It was inspiring and motivating to hear!

Following our successful second Creative Sharing Session, the Dalduri sisters took me out for a quick bite to eat at a local hawker. We had beautifully-colored fruit juices and flavorful eats! We were all so exhausted, but happy with such a great and enthusiastic turn-out! 

Looking forward to our next outing: I'll keep you posted!


  1. That's a pretty cool way to get people to talk to one another!