The Lunar New Year is a time of good cheer and celebrations. To welcome a brand new year with a bang and to herald good fortune for the days ahead, the Chinese usually deck out their homes in resplendent Lunar New Year decorations. These include couplets with well wishes on them, lanterns, Chinese knots and paper cuttings with auspicious words or animals on them – usually all in shades of red and gold. Some also display kumquat trees as they symbolise gold and good luck.
Instead of braving the crowds to look for typical Lunar New Year decorations to spruce up your home, why not try making them on your own, or better yet, with your kids?
The Singapore Airlines (SIA) Creative Circle club has produced a video to demonstrate how to make simple decorations such as a Mandarin orange and the auspicious word “Chun” (春), which means Spring in Chinese – with balloons. Sounds challenging? Not at all. All you need is a balloon pump, a pair of scissors and of course, some balloons in various colours and sizes.
Chief Stewardess Shiela Chia, who is the treasurer of Creative Circle club, says the group wants to encourage the public to try balloon modelling as “it is a useful skill for many occasions and a meaningful craft to bring out the festive mood of Chinese New Year”. Looking at the video, you’d be amazed at how easy it is to make these beautiful decorations in no time. Chia agrees: “It is not too difficult; you just need to observe the tutorial closely. You require minimal experience and all you need is to blow up the balloons and twist!”
The Creative Circle was set up in 2012 to encourage cabin crew and ground staff members to come up with ideas for creative surprises using onboard materials. The aim: To delight passengers during special occasions such as birthdays, honeymoons and anniversaries. From card-making, origami and handicraft making to magic tricks, latte art and balloon twisting, members in this club hone their skills in various creative pursuits so they can “explore and deliver the impeccable SQ service with spontaneity and allow crew to think out of the box when required”, shares Chia.
There are currently 500 members in Creative Circle and it’s a close-knit team, she adds. Members regularly attend workshops to acquire new skills, such as art jamming, pottery, Christmas wreath-making, floral arrangements, embroidery art, candle making, scrapbooking and calligraphy. They’ve put their abilities to good use: Chia has given a balloon in the form of a cake to a couple celebrating their anniversary; they’ve also handed out handicrafts for special events such as SIA Family Day, Valentine’s Day, open houses and more.
“It is a club that allows the crew to express their creativity, passion and interest in art,” she shares. An example of their dedication to the craft: Volunteers from the club made more than 8,000 kebaya roses that were given out for free during the Restaurant A380 @ Changi event in October. On another occasion, the club’s balloon specialists showcased their talents and shared tips with guests during the Inside Singapore Airlines tour experience in November.
This Lunar New Year, the club will be organising a Lunar New Year themed Farm Day Out for its members and their family, which may include reiki sessions, kombucha brewing, balloon sculpting of Lunar New Year decorations and using recycled materials to create a community art piece. They will also be organising other eco-friendly and sustainable craft workshops, such as urban farming and museum or art walk tours in Singapore in the near future, in hopes it would bring them closer.
Despite needing to invest long hours and hard work into creating the various crafts, Chia says she’s happy she can make passengers smile. “The ability to share my skills and to learn more with other members keeps me going as we are, after all, craft people. This club is like my second family,” she adds.
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