Many times I get inspired by the beautiful food photography I see in social media, but rarely do I actually get down to sculpting them. But just a few days ago I spotted Yina's (a lovely Singaporean blogger) photo of a rainbow cake.
It was just too gorgeous a photo and I was immediately drawn to all the colours on that delicious-looking cake. I then set about to miniaturise the cake, not entirely identical but largely inspired by it hmm.
Also, I actually had the intention to make the plate as well together with drawing the snowman in 'chocolate sauce' but with another project awaiting, I guess this would have to do for now.
Just 2 days till the last workshop for the year, and less than 10 days before I fly off to New York. Wow, everything seems to be happening in fast motion suddenly.
Hope everyone's doing well, and basking in the joys of December!
I've been working on this commission for a few days, and it comes with a bittersweet story which I've gotten permission to share, and will do so in the later part of the post. Especially love it when these commissions allow me to make miniature food which I haven't even thought to try making, and I must say I love the results. :)
There are at least 40 miniature love letters/egg rolls in the little glass bottle, and they are all individually hand sculpted and removable from the bottle. For those who haven't eaten these before, these Chinese love letters (or egg rolls) are a traditional crispy biscuit often eaten during Chinese New Year.
So, a lady had commissioned me a few weeks to make a little bottle of egg rolls, and it was to be a gift to her late mom. Her mom had always enjoyed food miniatures, and decorated her office with them.
In her daughter's words.. "Just to share, the reason why we picked love letters was because it was intended as a gift to commemorate my Mom's birthday next year. Even though she's gone. My Mom's birthday had always coincided with CNY, and next year it'll be no different, and since love letters are one of her favorite CNY snack...we thought it couldn't make a better choice than to gift her that..."
Her daughter wishes to make this a yearly tradition, to add a food miniature to her mom's resting niche every year. I had sculpted these little egg rolls with this bittersweet backstory in mind.
It's always a pleasure to hear from my customers about the stories behind their commissions.
I'm finally recovering from the mother of all sore throats, just yesterday I could barely swallow! Thankfully I feel way better today, and I'm here to share the final few craft workshops I have planned for the final two months of 2013!
I'll be taking a break after these workshops, also in preparation for my big US trip end of year! :)
The first one is happening TOMORROW, so if you're keen get those fingers moving and email me at email@example.com to register for slots pronto!
Then we have another product of the minion craziness, now you can make YOUR own little fellow! They can be made into ornaments to hang on a Christmas tree as well, perfect for gift-giving this season.
Finally, we're wrapping up the workshops with one of my favourite content to teach, because it is just so much fun to assemble the many layers just like how you would in a real sandwich. Note that the sandwich can be made into a necklace charm (Necklace chain will be provided by me) as well!
Somehow all these planning makes me feel like the year is already over, but hey we still have a good few weeks to go. And I have friends and family all down with flu and fever, so do drink more water water, get more rest and stay warm (if your country is blessed with seasons). :)
If you've been keeping tabs on my Minion Adoption Project, then you would know that there's one LAST adoption phase. After giving a sneak peek to all my AiMail subscribers 2 weeks ago, I can finally reveal it all to you guys now.
The 50 limited miniature minions have already been sent out to their respective new owners. But due to the many customisation features of the minions and some mix-up (whoops), it turns out I have a few more little fellows for adoption! They are just as adorable as the rest of the crew, and would make lovely Christmas presents! From the picture you can also tell who is made into a charm (with the metal loop), and who is decorative.
The adoption cost is at SGD59/piece for all of them except Chester, Daniel and Gregory who are SGD69/piece. I am offering free worldwide shipping (registered mail) for the minions as well.
$5/minion will be donated to Hope for Dogs still. :)
I have lined them up for a photo so that you will get exactly what you see, and I've given them names too! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know which minion/s you would like.
Remember that there is only one of each left, so it's first come first served.
*Bart, Ian, Elson, Frank and Howie have already been adopted, do act quickly!
Miniature nyonya kueh, hand sculpted by me with polymer clay.
If you've ever been to Southeast Asia (or specifically Singapore/Malaysia), you would have seen these pretty pastries in most traditional bakeries. They are either filled with a salty or sweet paste, with a mochi-like consistency on the outside. I guess these are our local equivalent to the beautiful western petit desserts.
For ages, I've been wanting to make some local food, and finally I have. YES, one strike off my to-do-list.
So firstly I got started on the miniature angku kueh. It usually comes in the shape and intricate pattern of a tortoise shell (the ku in angku stands for tortoise), which I recreated in the tiny scale. I have this strange passion for making master forms, maybe because I know I just have to create ONE piece and I can while away hours just perfecting it. And then it'll be made into a mould so that I can create many tiny angku kuehs.
By the way, I wrote a tiny 艾 on the angku kueh instead of the usual 寿 (longevity) you'll see. The 艾 is part of my Chinese name, and also the Ai in AiClay. :)
When I posted up these photos on my Facebook page, I wrote about my weird habit of peeling the lapis sagu (the stack of colourful layers) apart and rolling them up before chewing on each piece. And surprise surprise, it turned out that many other people shared this habit too haha. Ah, so I'm not alone.
While I'm planning my schedule for the last 2 months in 2013, 2014 is very quickly creeping up on us! It's a bit scary how time passes so quickly, but then again I'll rather feel that way then wait around idling and wishing for the days to go by faster. You know what I mean? Ever since I've been working for myself, I've been going through various emotional phases.
There was a period when I couldn't settle down to work, and I struggled with self-discipline and often weeks and months went by with nothing happening on the AiClay front. And then there came self-doubt, where I questioned myself everyday about the decisions I had made, the lifestyle I was in. Monetary worries plagued me constantly, and yet I was still avoiding the reality checks by giving myself lame excuses. Procrastination became my middle name. I didn't know what I wanted, I only knew what I didn't want (which was to return to working for someone else). It felt like a faint line between plain laziness and ambition.
In 2013, things started looking up (oh PHEW). I discovered I could teach workshops, and that I actually enjoyed teaching. Starting AiClay's miniature food workshops was undeniably the turning point for AiClay, and it gave me a renewed sense of purpose. Honestly, you know I was very much against teaching my craft at the beginning. It felt like I was giving up my original intention to be a crafter, and that silly selfish voice in me questioned if I should be teaching potential competitors in this tiny market of miniature food crafters. But silly silly me, I was letting myself getting the better of me as it turned out. I've always been brilliant at imposing invisible boundaries for myself, and the only barrier I had was my mindset.
With every workshop I held, I learned from the participants everyday. Somewhere along the many years of working on food miniatures and fulfilling commissions, I had left behind the joy of creating. When I saw the happy faces of the participants at the end of the workshop, I thought to myself, "Ah, how long has it been that I felt that way?" Sometimes, participants would raise ideas which I had never thought of. When you work at something for so long, you just slip into a gradually repetitive process. It gets comfortable, too comfortable after a while that you no longer question how you could be better.
To settle in your comfort zone for far too long, is perhaps the scariest thing to happen to a business owner.
So, teaching has brought me not just a very much needed income stream, but also allowed me many opportunities to rediscover, be it in crafting or business. Thank you, if you have ever been to my workshops.
I forgot what my original intention of the heart-to-heart was for, but I'm going to end here. No matter who you are, never allow yourself to think you are already at your prime. It's easier said than done, but let's just start by asking ourselves a question, "how can it be better?".
Last Saturday, 4 ladies trooped down to my home studio for a cozy workshop where we made little burgers into adorable phone accessories and earrings.
I must really say I was utterly impressed with their final works, it was hard to believe it was the first time most of them were working with polymer clay. Awesome job ladies! All that time perfecting the crispy lettuce and juicy meats was worth it.
Check out the double meat and cheese layers on this heck of a burger! I would love to chomp down on one of these in real life heh heh.
We are approaching the end of October all too quickly! With just 7 weeks to go before my much-anticipated Christmas vacation, I've managed to squeeze in one more workshop for November. We'll be making miniature macarons, all details in poster below!
This just might be the last home studio workshop for 2013, so don't miss out!
It will be lovely to receive a handmade macaron bracelet as a Christmas present, with all personalised colours for the macaroons. Come join us?
P.S Macarons has always proved to be a hot favourite workshop, so register early by emailing me at email@example.com!
I need to pop in here more often! Please click here to view photos of the ice cream workshop and they're all taken by the sweet 刘子绚! ♥ For those who don't live in Singapore, she's an actress and also one of the owners of BFF Zakka. It was such a pleasure meeting her for the first time that day, and I know JY didn't regret helping me out at that event haha. She's really pretty, even without make-up and was totally sweet in offering her help anyway she could during the workshop. :) Speaking of workshops, I have one more lined up tomorrow! We'll be making minature burgers, into earrings or a phone dust plug accessory. If you want to join us, quick email me at firstname.lastname@example.org by tonight to register!
Ah, the minion project is coming to a close! My mom was helping me arrange the fifty odd minions for the photoshoot before I packaged them, and when I checked on her a while later she had gathered all into a battle-ready line-up haha.
This was how I decided to package them in the end, and into gift-boxes and brown envelopes they went!
And a little behind-the-scenes. Here is the actual size of the entire photoshoot area. LOL, the wonderful thing about photographing miniatures.
Psst. I actually have some miniature minions left for adoption, because due to the crazy logistics involved, there were some that were not made according to the commissioned ones. So I've decided to give them up for adoption as well, but more information will be up later. Wait for it! ♥
Even as we enter the last quarter of the year, we inhabitants of the sunny island of Singapore will not be spared the summer heat. While we can't be treating ourselves to ice cream everyday, an adorable ice cream charm will help cool us off.
Come make these lovely charms (to be made into necklace or accessory straps) with me, at the charming BFF Zakka Store. Seats are limited, so register quickly! Email email@example.com to book your slots. Remember that bring-a-friend discount still applies!
Details in poster below.
Photos taken by AiClay, poster designed by BFF Zakka.
These few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity for me as I've packed many workshops and events to exhibit at. Plus, I'm in the 'sculpting and packing' phase of the Minion Project so it's a bit bonkers at the home studio right now. Time is just flying by everyday, one second I'm eating breakfast the next time I check the clock it's already 4pm and I'm still buried in my sculpting.
But busy is good. :) One day, I'll write another heart-to-heart about the internal struggles I was constantly battling during the first 2 years of starting AiClay, and it had a lot to do with NOT being busy. So yup, I see my packed schedule as a blessing.
Also, I don't know how many of you are subscribed to AiMail, but in the most recent issue I sent out, I asked for travel tips for New York and Toronto, Canada since I'll be heading there this December! Do you think it'll snow, for the sake of my travel companion I really hope it will. :) It'll be like nature's birthday present for him as his birthday falls on Christmas Eve.
It'll be super nice if any of you reading this now are from Toronto/New York and could just give me a holler. :)
Random note to self: Do not ever lose my trusty red organiser because I'll be seriously lost without it! Nothing on my schedule is commited to memory, because well I don't trust it. :/
And so the minions said, from the bottom of their hearts.
P.S The very first family of minions have made their way safely to their adopter! Thank you everyone for your kind patience for this project, I'll be dropping you a tracking number once your package is out (4-6 weeks from date of payment). Only ten left for adoption.
Mr Beedobeedo, meet the people. People, Mr Beedobeedo.
It's been almost exactly one month since the launch of the Little-Minions-Save-the-World Project, and I have just one last little minion to show you guys.
Equipped with loudspeakers and a set of siren headphones, he comes with a heftier price tag. $99*/fellow or additional $20 if you purchase him together with his family of 5.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org :)
*Similarly for each adoption of Mr Beedobeedo, $5 will be donated to Hope Dog Rescue, an animal rescue group based in Singapore.
Quite a few updates since the last time I blogged. So here goes.
By the way, I've planned for miniature food workshops all the way till November, you can find the workshop schedule here. Most of them are all held at my home studio, which has been revamped and is now suited for bigger groups crafting together! :)
The Macaron Workshop happening this Saturday is already full, and registration slots for the rest of the workshopsare being snapped up as we speak, so please email me quick at email@example.com! :)
Lastly, AiClay was featured on The Straits Times last Friday, hooray! Along with my recipe for a miniature burger which unfortunately I had to blur out. I really have got to find a way (and the time!) to frame and display these newspaper articles, instead of just stuffing them in a file and getting ugly creases everywhere. :(
We're also entering the last phase of the Minion Project, and my workspace is gradually transforming into a factory of these little yellow guys. The first batch of minions would be sent out end of this week! The current count of the minions adopted is FORTY, and there are 10 more to be adopted only! Final countdown yo, you adopted one yet?
(photo updates taken from my instagram. Join me there! :))
Lastly, I want to give a shout out to one of my most supportive customer thus far (you know who you are!). He has been absolutely amazing in supporting my miniature food works and the Minion Project, and get this, he even transferred additional funds to AiClay for FUTURE PURCHASES. I was totally blown away by this gesture. It's not about the money, but more that he really trusted in the standard of my works that he knew there was more he wanted to add in the collection despite not even seeing them yet. -beaming widely. Too flattered, and THANK YOU. :) I'll keep working hard at AiClay because of lovely customers like you. I shall end off with another photo of the Minion Project, making these tiny rainbow whistles were pretty addictive!
Monday is swinging by again. A week flashes by really quickly now, especially with my schedule piling up now.
Here's a photo of a miniature cheeseburger meal I packed up for a customer all the way in United States a while back. Speaking of United States, have I mentioned that I'll be heading to New York this December? If there are any of you who lives there or around the area (I might be travelling outside of NY too), please give me some suggestions on where to go and what to see as it'll be my first trip to US! :)
I'll also like to make some gentle clarifications.
Over the weekend, I've been receiving plenty of mails about orders, adopting minions, workshops etc. Please understand that I'll have to keep weekends free of work as this is my full time business and I don't think it'll be very healthy for me to stick my head in AiClay matters 24/7. Therefore, do allow me 1 or 2 working days (weekdays only) to reply your mails, while I'll still try to answer to them during the weekends.
.. can change a lot. :) In a good way.
Before I write more about what has been going on ever since the TV coverage of AiClay, let me share this piece of exciting news. We have passed the half way mark for The Little-Minions-Save-the-World Project!Which means there are only 20+ minions left to be adopted (I'm only making 50), so act quickly! :)
So for the uninformed, AiClay was featured on an episode of 逐梦者 - Off The Path yesterday at 9pm on Channel U, a local television station.
Too many cringe-worthy moments in the episode, and please remember that the interview was entirely unrehearsed, which means I blurted out whatever came to mind haha. One classic lame line by me was.
“一个手数得完 (referring to number of full time local miniature food artists), 所以少过五个。”
Translation: "can be counted with just one hand, so there are less than 5."
Alright so it doesn't sound as bad as it did when I first heard the words spill out of my mouth on national tv, but it was such a 'DUH' moment still haha. As if the viewers didn't know there are 5 fingers on one hand.
AND and, I must reveal that the part after I finished sculpting the strawberry tart and I started to massage my wrists and looking wistfully in the distance, well that was entirely the director's order (to convey the idea that it took a long time and much effort to sculpt the tart) hahahah. Just in case you thought it looked a bit fake, well it is. Same goes for the little bit when me and Jack were talking over the tart.
Now that you guys are warned about the silly quotes from yours truly during the video, here's the link for you guys to watch it! It's a 30min shared episode with another featured profession - a personal chef. :)
Note that it's in Mandarin, unfortunately there are no subtitles, apologies if you don't understand Mandarin. :(
By 9.15pm, my phone was ringing with the delightful chime of the Paypal notification (which means a sale!), and I watched in amazement as the Facebook likes climbed up steadily. By the end of the episode at 9.30pm, AiClay's Facebook fanpage had garnered more than 50 new likes. It's been a day since the media coverage, and to date there have been an increase of 100+ likes on FB, the slots for Macaron Workshop selling out quickly, and many many mails to read through and reply. I've got to say, nothing beats receiving the heartfelt emails telling me to continue working hard and that I've inspired them. Whether you just wrote a line, or a long encouraging mail, I want to thank you for these words of motivation. Definitely heart-warming. :)
If any members of the 逐梦者 production crew are reading this now, a HUGE thank you for including the scene where I typed AiClay on computer in the final cut episode. I know most of the audience wouldn't have known where to go search for my works without that scene, so THANK YOU. :)
The first time AiClay was featured on the local newspaper in 2010, I had no idea how to prepare for the outpouring of support after the media coverage. It was just utterly overwhelming then, and I remember regretting not having my workshops information ready as there were so many people who asked but lost interest after a while as I was still scrambling to finalise my workshops. This time, while I'm significantly more prepared, there are still some things I wished I had thought of beforehand. Like having my new website ready, or planning for more workshops.
Oh well, life's a learning process eh? I'll get my act together even better the next media coverage heh heh. (hopes of an overly-optimistic crafter. :))
Earlier in the month, I had a lovely couple, Mun Yee and Shane, over at my home studio and we made cupcakes! The miniature versions on earrings. ;)
The real life cupcakes are from Twelve Cupcakes by the way.
Also, this was the first time I was hosting a craft session in my newly decorated home studio whoop whoop! Am pleased with how the tiffany blue walls made the photos so much brighter.
Speaking of firsts, it was my first time crafting with a couple as well. It was awfully sweet knowing that Shane had willingly accompanied the girlfriend on a crafty date. You've got to see their cupcakes below, together they created the cutest couple cupcakes.
I also managed to capture some of their moments crafting together. :)
Can you guess which is made by Shane/MunYee?
The ones with the lilac flower and adorable fish blowing bubbles were made by Mun Yee, and the ones with a sprinkling of hearts along with alphabet initials were made by Shane. I've got to commend Shane on his amazing patience while making the alphabets, it took him a few tries but now Mun Yee will always remember his dedication in making her cupcake earrings!
You guys definitely earned the cupcakes! ;)
Thank you Mun Yee and Shane, I had a most enjoyable Saturday afternoon chatting to you and crafting together. :) I'll see you guys soon again, ok?
P.S Taro is also waiting for you guys to come play with him again! ;)
I feel like AiClay has gotten a bit overrun with workshops lately, and tonight, I just wanted to look back on some of my favourite miniature works so far. Working on my miniature food sculptures has been, and always will be, the core of AiClay. :)
For some of those I've chosen, I just loved the aesthetics of the photos, some I chose because I adore the work itself.