Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Heart-to-heart: Moving out of my home studio.

Hello hello. Sometimes, I wonder if I'm writing for the readers (if there are still any of you around after such a long hiatus from my blog!) or if I'm writing for myself.

But when it comes to these wordy posts for HTH, I know they are 80% written for myself. Writing helps in helping me see things somewhat clearer, and will hopefully allow me to purge some of the negativity which have been building up these few weeks.

This is perhaps the last thing you'll expect me to blog about after a cheery Gudetama post haha.

In case it's the first time you're seeing my HTH posts, it's where I bare my heart to anyone reading out there. :)


SO. It's been quite a whirlwind this 2015.

In the earlier months, I was actually getting very comfortable with the state of things. There were months I gave myself a vacation and earned almost nothing. And some months which were filled with workshops and I would be gleeful looking at the figures in my Excel sheet. (yes that's my style of accounting here, not very professional huh)

The numbers worked out, since I had no overheads from working from my home studio. I did pay my share of utilities and gave my parents allowance, but those were comfortably within my means.

But now, as you can guess from my title above, a huge game changer is about to happen.

Come December 2015, I will be relocating to a space in town. It's a brand new area, so renovation is slated to start as soon as next week. There will be hefty construction costs to bear, as we are putting up walls and doing expensive soundproofing to create spaces which will hold my studio, together with the dance studios of my friend's whom I'm collaborating with.

All of these madness commenced with a phone call from my friend a few months ago, who excitedly told us about his plans to have a studio and invited me along for the ride. And the last few weeks, it's been a truly rollercoaster (this is getting to be an overused word for my HTH posts) ride of emotions. As with all collaborations, there are a lot of details to be discussed and agreed upon. And with so much uncertainty in the air and my tight budget, it made for very difficult situations sometimes.

One moment, I'll be hopeful and excited for all the opportunities a studio in town provided for - expanding the AiClay team, having more people craft together, having a prettier space, getting out of house more regularly (not sure if this is a pro or con), inviting other crafters to join me in working from a shared space.

Then the next, I'll be stressed and overwhelmed with the worries - the impending rental burden every month, crazy renovation costs, will I be biting off more than I can chew, would I be able to get workshop participants, where am I going to find clothes to wear to the studio everyday (haha).

The stress is real yo. Sometimes, I'll find my heart rate quicken and I'll struggle to breathe as these fears and worries creep up on me unknowingly. I actually broke down once into a weeping mess, when it all felt too much to bear.

Today was one of those days. I caught up with a couple of my friends separately, and coincidentally, they both advised me about the not-so-rosy parts of owning a space outside. Which is a tad too late, as papers are signed and there is no going back. (well there is, if I was willing to sacrifice a load of money and more importantly, a long friendship :( )

I came back home to try and seek solace in munching on biscuits and surfed around aimlessly online, and then I started reading Qiuqiu's posts. I love when she writes long, honest posts, and it reminded me of how much I love to write and share as well.

So here I am. Acknowledging to the world that yes, I am scared as f*ck and getting a studio outside requires so much courage and business sense which I highly suspect I still don't have. BUT, we are going through with it.

Not just because papers are signed, but because this could very well be the push that I need for AiClay, to break out of the comfortable rut I've grown into. This is the main factor I keep returning to, when my worries plague me I have to forcefully remind myself that change is a good thing.

In case you're wondering, I don't have pictures to share of the space yet, since it's just a blank space for now.

But if you are from Singapore, and you have some ideas about collaboration for my new studio space, let me know! Or just any words of advice or comfort for renting a studio. :)

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The tiniest Gudetama.

Probably the only time I'm putting up pictures here before they go onto my Instagram or Facebook. :) I need to pay more attention to my blog!

So the thing about turning a hobby into a full-time business, is that it's very easy to get caught up in customers' requests and orders. I can hardly remember the last time I sculpted for myself.

Therefore, yesterday I sat myself down to sculpt a character which has been taking the world by storm. An egg with a lot of character. ;)

Say hello, to the tiniest Gudetama probably ever! 

This strip of pictures is a little comic, named "It's a long day, time for bed."

Finally, the long crawl to the bed is over.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

If your dream doesn't scare you, dream bigger.

It's a weird world we live in now. 

Try searching 'apple' online and it turns up all sorts of phones and computers, and nothing from Mother Nature. 

Miniature apple charm hand sculpted by me. 

The past few weeks could possibly be the most hectic and crazy few weeks ever since I started full-time at AiClay 4 years ago. 

We're in the very final stage of getting the Pocket Kitchen kits shipped successfully to our shores (which involved so much more money and effort than we could ever imagine), and putting the final touches to our 100% self-filmed and edited video tutorials.

When I say we, I mean me and JY, who has been the biggest financial backer in this project and an amazing source of support mentally. He's also done more than his needed share of work, with helping to liase with all our suppliers, and editing the videos and so many more. Thank you, my dear partner!

Of course, I also have some workshops planned during this period, which was possibly not a very smart move on my part. :( But it's okay, everything is falling into place, despite being on a terribly tight schedule. 

We received this picture from our supplier a while back.

Just looking at it fills me up with a lot of excitement, anticipation, and to be completely honest, a pinch of fear. 

These turquoise boxes you see, are a part of our entire Pocket Kitchen shipment. Which is a lot, to say the least. Okay, 1000 pieces to be exact. 

I'm sure most of you understand economies of scale, so we had to order this minimum quantity in order to keep the final cost of Pocket Kitchen reasonable for the customers.

Of course, nothing is free. 

As we deal with the shipping costs, taxes and customs and warehouse and all kinds of crazy fees we hadn't even thought of to expect, our investment in this project is turning out to be a rapidly growing, giant ball of money.

To part with that much of our savings is frankly quite frightening. 😖 

But I'm going to suck it up, HAVE FAITH in Pocket Kitchen and work my damnest hard to market our baby. 

Cheer me on? 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A lot of kuehs in a day.

May 17th 2015.

Nyonya kueh classes are always the most subscribed ones, so a group of 9 ladies joined me at my home studio last Sunday morning. :)

I spent a few hours rearranging the furniture in my studio to accommodate this large class, thankfully they were easy to move around. All from Ikea haha.

I bought some kuehs for the participants to dig into after the class as well. They were really yummy! I bought them at a kopitiam at Bukit Batok Block 372 in Singapore, in case you want to taste the real ones. ;)

Adele (lady in picture above) made her nyonya kueh board into a brooch, how cute! The rest of the class made them into displays for their homes or office.

I'm mentally making a note to never offer to take a groupfie anymore, my face will be 300% the size of everyone else's. LOL. 

There are still a few slots for the rainbow cake and macaron class happening next weekend, if you'll like to join us, please head there now!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Yes, we are shipping worldwide!

This is really quite outrageous. 

YES! We are shipping Pocket Kitchen all around the world!

And now, we have decided to launch a limited shipping promotion for 30 of you! It is now only +$10 (originally +$40) if you make it there fast enough!

I've always felt very blessed to receive compliments on my works from time to time, but you know what, YOU can create the same beautiful and amazing works too! 

With some creativity and time, you will very soon have your own treasure trove of unique handcrafted pieces, that you can keep or wear to show them off! 

The Pocket Kitchen is designed with making everyone a MAKER, in mind. With it, you spend less time searching for the right materials, and more time creating! 


Let me share some behind the scenes of the miniature iced coffee making process.

Top-down view of the whipped cream on the iced coffee.

I design all of my labels on the computer then print them out.

Here they are. All cut out. :) 

Bonus tip! I used a wet cotton to remove the paper fibers at the back, so that the label would be thin.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Pocket Kitchen - miniature food craft kit.

I thought this day will never come.

But I'm so glad that it is here, and I can finally unveil the project we've been toiling away for at least a year now.


Now you can create miniature food sculptures in the comfort of your home and at your own pace!

Before you dismiss this craft kit as irrelevant to you because you either a) don't want to craft, b) feel like you can't craft, c) you can always buy this next time..

Let me remind you that..

There is so much noise in our world today, with everything clawing for our attention. It's no wonder why attention deficiency is a serious issue in both kids and adults alike.

Which makes immersing in the here and now, really important.

Many of us need to regain the important ability to anchor oneself in the present, with neither burdens of the past nor worries of the future.

And this is what Pocket Kitchen can enable you to do.

Miniature food crafting is about sitting down, and letting all your energies flow towards the polymer clay in front of you.

I could be texturing a 'cake', putting on tiny decorations, rolling thin strands of 'noodles'.

During the creative process, you immerse yourself in the physical experience of using the tools, seeing the material come to shape under your hands, and admiring your final work.

It is a calming and rewarding journey which one has to experience to believe its effects on our overall well-being.

I should know, after conducting countless workshops and seeing the participants lose themselves in the craft as time slipped by unknowingly. 

Pocket Kitchen is a carefully curated collection of tools, materials, even jewelry accessories to kickstart your miniature food creation journey.

I won't go into details about the wide array of items it contains, but let me just highlight that you also get a full collection of 12 mini food video tutorials. Which are produced and shot by me.

So you don't even have to join my workshops now to learn the craft, hooray for those who live Far East or outside of Singapore!

These are the miniature food you'll learn to create in the video collection. And you can view sample snippets in my YouTube channel, just search AiClay on YouTube.

The full Pocket Kitchen craft kit (including videos) is now offered at an exclusive pre-order price of USD129.

The original retailing price will be USD149, so please take advantage of the pre-order period!

After toiling away for so long and hard, my biggest wish is to see the campaign climb to success. But this is not possible without your support.

So for all who've been asking for a craft kit, or who wants to experience the joy of creating with your hands? This is for YOU. 

Click here to grab a set.

This is my website right now. Eh overload of pink? Haha.

At the campaign page, you can check out the rest of the perks as well, we've thrown in some interesting ones in there. 

I also want to say a HUGE thank you to my friends who helped out in the Indiegogo video. 

Over here we have Qiao and Alex, a couple in real life as well haha. Machiam they 拍电影。

Can you spot me and JY cameo-ing at the back? 

At the end of the video, I roped in another group of friends to film as well.

And it was so hilarious! The laughter is real lol.

Kudos Ros, Di, Mab and Adrian!

A superbly pretty screenshot of my pretty friend. 


I am so overwhelmed with gratitude. Because I just opened up my Facebook page and I saw all my friends sharing the post about Pocket Kitchen with the nicest captions.

Then I opened up my mailbox and I saw a few congratulatory emails from Indiegogo! Opened them up and hey, they were all familiar names!

My friends actually contributed to the campaign as well, one of them even shared the cost of Pocket Kitchen Ultimate with the girlfriend! AWWW. 

Seriously, my heart is full.

I've always wanted to put Singapore in the world's limelight using my own capabilities, and the desire has never been greater than now, after the past week of mourning and education on our nation's history.

I'll appreciate if you could share the Indiegogo campaign (there's a little share button on the left at the page) on your own Facebook feed, or tell your friends about Pocket Kitchen.

We need your help in getting more eyeballs on this campaign, the more the merrier.

Thank you. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

A belated birthday, and thank you Mr Lee.

The past weekend, was happily spent with family and friends celebrating my birthday.

Blew out a lot of birthday candles, not unlike the miniature ones I'm showing here. This is an old work (kudos to you if you recognise it!) that I've hand sculpted. And they are TINY.

Let me show you.

Making the wick was crazy, lol.

However, when I woke up this morning (Monday), I saw that my Facebook feed (and every other social media) was flooded with tributes and teary messages to Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who had passed on earlier at 3.18am.


It was not a surprise, as he had been seriously ill for some time. But still, the air of grief is present definitely in our country. Below is what I wrote in my Instagram.

This morning, our nation's founding father, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, passed on. 

I will not pretend to be any less uninformed of politics that I honestly am, and I don't think I can even confidently state the many political achievements of Mr Lee.

This however, does not undermine the immense respect I have for this great man, for his legendary contributions to the beautiful country I have grown up in. 
The current comforts I enjoy (safety, hygiene, education), and the possibility of being able to thrive as a full time miniature food sculptor, all of these have to be attributed to Mr Lee Kuan Yew's lifelong work in politics.

Thank you Mr Lee, and I will continue learning from your extraordinary strengths, and do my part, in his son's words, "to build on his foundations, strive for his ideals and keep Singapore exceptional and successful for many years to come." 


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Surprise Workshop Mission!

Some day last year, I received an email from Junda who wanted a private craft party for his fiance Bellina. Bellina is in love with miniatures, specifically food miniatures, so it was perfect that he found me and AiClay! :D

A few emails later, we had a surprise party all ready on 8 Nov 2014, for the beautiful lady.

She was all smiles during the workshop, actually they both were. :) The hours sped by, and here are some shots of her doing the necessary photoshoot of their completed works after every AiClay workshop.

Junda also joined in during the workshop, and he actually made that miniature double deck sandwich! While Bellina went super creative and made two adorable cupcakes.

All of them were made into necklaces for the lady. ;)

Thank you for coming for the workshop, you two! I really enjoyed hanging out with you guys, and I really hope that you two will remember that day crafting together for a long time to come. :)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

A small frappucinno to go. Tiny please, thank you.

I'm baaaaaacckkkk. 

After some persuasion from my partner JY who has had enough of looking at cafe cakes and waffles whenever he pops into the blog, I have decided. That I will restart my engine for blogging.

Vroooommmm. Hehe.

Okay here goes. It will be crazy for me to put up all the backdated photos, so I'm going to start with the newest miniature work.

It's a tiny frappucinno! It's also available in the store.

Or iced blended coffee, just to avoid any copyright situations ahem.

I made this using a photo of a Starbucks drinks as reference, but after much research I still can't figure out what is the exact name of this drink. 

The closest I have so far is the Zebra drink in Starbucks' secret menu? Any help here, guys?

I made the straw (yes it's hollow!) and the cup as well. And also designed the logo for AiClay Coffee.

Posted a photo of the WIP process on Instagram when I was designing it in Photoshop, and someone commented 'AiClaybucks'. Teeheehee.

Alright, an unzoomed photo now! 

I'll be back with more photos and stories of my works, catch up with you all later.