In a time when mass market is king and anything can be bought with the click of a mouse, it’s perhaps inevitable that many of us are looking for more meaningful and sustainable purchases that do not harm our environment – or that are simply a dime a dozen. Consider getting pieces from local crafters and makers instead.
These group of artisans are embracing the “slow movement” and making a living off of their handiwork, one piece at a time. The beauty of their creations is that no one piece is the same – some might have imperfections, while others are limited, spur-of-the-moment, small-batch items that were created at the whim of the artist. More often than not, they are made from natural or organic materials and are free from harmful chemicals. Whatever it is, you can be sure what you own is a special artwork painstakingly made by hand and with heart.
In this pandemic era, it is more important now than ever to support local businesses who need the hustle to stay afloat. We’ve already mentioned a few things you can do, from hunting down the most hidden of hawker gems in Singapore, to supporting online bakeries. Here, we have found seven home-based crafters who will beautify your home with their amazing creations.
This local design studio started back in 2014 with humble beginnings. Its founder Alvin Chan found an abandoned bag of cement by accident and decided to take some to make his own concrete lamp. Happy with his product, he began selling more handmade items on online platforms but now runs a successful business on top of his full-time job. Concrete Everything now sells items made of concrete, jesmonite and resin, although Alvin is still experimenting with other materials. Some of his beautiful ready-made items include marbled dining coasters and a stunning jesmonite hex lamp.
Laura Philomin first fell in love with macrame when she saw backdrops on Pinterest while researching ideas for her wedding in 2017. She taught herself the basic knots through YouTube videos and proceeded to make her own wedding backdrop. When the Circuit Breaker hit, she wanted to do something with her time and so decided to use the leftover material to make plant hangers as gifts for friends. The response was overwhelming, with friends encouraging her to start selling her pieces. She took the plunge and began her own home-based business as a side hustle. Knotty Jungle now sells ready-made and custom pieces ranging from coasters to plant hangers and wall hangers. “Macrame is a very slow and tedious art form. It can’t be rushed and there are no shortcuts. So it’s good training in patience for me,”shares Laura, who’s a communications professional. “It became my creative expression and that’s what I value the most about my journey with Knotty Jungle. Not only does it keep my hands busy and occupied, I’ve also found a way to embrace the creative side of my personality and share that with other people.”
Left-handesign started out as a small business creating handmade cards, but has since evolved into a lifestyle brand that aims to encourage eco-friendly gifting and a more sustainable environment. A standout is its plantable stationery, called Bīj, meaning ‘seed’ in Sanskrit. The range of products, which includes pens, pencils, colour pencils, notebooks and gift tags can all be planted, sprouting herbs such as tomato, chilli, marigold, tulsi (Indian basil), spinach, okra, morning glory, and mustard seeds. Bonus: In line with its mission as an advocate of nature, a tree will be planted in the buyer’s name for every purchase made.
Kin started making miniature clay models and figurines over a decade ago as a hobby when she was 42-years-old. She picked up the skill by trial and error, experimenting with different materials and honing her skills through years of practice. Now, she creates adorable food models that are good enough to eat and also gives workshops to those who are interested in picking up the craft. Noteworthy miniatures include local dishes such as bowls of laksa and bak chor mee, a mahjong table and mahjong set, kuehs and dollhouses. She even created a miniature that was a gift presented to Singapore’s former President S R Nathan. Workshops are currently suspended but keep a lookout for updates on her website.
We are constantly being exposed to a cocktail of carcinogens and toxins on a daily basis. Local business Sugar & Spice hopes to mitigate this and contribute to wellness and health in a small way by providing cold process handmade soaps and skin care products that are handcrafted from natural plant-based ingredients. All its products are handcrafted in Singapore and are free from toxic chemicals and palm oil. If you prefer some autonomy over your own products, consider getting its customised moisturiser or lotion. All you need to do is to answer a few questions that include your favourite active ingredients and scent, and you’ll receive your very own product in less than two weeks. Sugar & Spice also conducts soap making classes and other DIY craft workshops for those who want to get more involved in the crafting process.
6. The Faye
Healing crystals are known to come with some healing benefits for the mind, body, and soul. They’re thought to promote the flow of good energy and help rid the body and mind of negative energy. If you are interested in getting one, consider the intricate pieces from The Faye. Not only are the pieces here simple, elegant, and dainty, they are adorned with gems that are touted with all sorts of healing properties. The Faye works with a multitude of stunning gems, such as amazonite, baroque pearl, moonstone and jade. Standouts include its bracelet with moonstone, kyanite, blue sandstone and black spinels that The Faye says is great for calmness, protection and communication.
Soy wax is the most popular material used in candle making after paraffin. Known for its clean burn, long lasting flame life and strong scent throw, it’s a 100% natural vegetable wax that rivals paraffin wax, which comes from petroleum. Try the natural soy wax candles from Candles of Light. Its founder Daphne Tan makes use of hand-blended essential oils and botanicals to create her candles, resulting in scents that evoke memories of specific times of the day. Dawn will fill your room with the calming aroma of lavender while the light notes of citrus and mint will awaken you when you ignite its wick. Dusk is perfect for winding down in the evenings with an aromatic blend of geranium and patchouli. Need your partner to take a hint while you’re working from home? These bestselling scenes now come in cheeky new bottles labelled with the words Time Out or Do Not Disturb.