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Making their mark, in creative ways
WHEN Patrick Tan goes kite-flying, he doesn't head out to the open fields at Punggol or Sengkang. Instead, he flies a special kite in the confines and comfort of his living room.
Mr Tan, 56, is a maker and founder of Layangman Kite Loft. "With urbanisation, the open spaces where I could enjoy kite-flying has diminished, and I wondered if there was a way that I could fly a kite indoors," says the former general manager of a water treatment company.
It took him 18 months to design and make the iFlite - an indoor kite that requires no wind to fly. Since its launch nearly five years ago, Mr Tan has sold 2,300 such kites worldwide, through his website. Each retails for S$40.
iFlite is made of a carbon fibre frame, with very thin sheets of plastic. To fly the kite, you only need to pull the string above your head. "A conventional kite requires wind to fly and keep it in the air. Once in the air, it becomes static, and you can leave it on its own to fly," explains Mr Tan.
iFlite looks easy but it takes some skill to keep it in the air. "You constantly have to move your body about to make sure the kite stays up. It is like a slow form of exercise," he adds.
Apart from iFlite, Mr Tan, a recognisable face in Singapore's maker community, is also known for his DIY Rubber Band Guns. These are toy guns which he makes by hand, and in place of bullets, he uses rubber bands. Some can even shoot multiple rubber bands without reloading.
Guns and chopsticks
Mr Tan is one of the over 30 makers that are participating in The Makers' Festival at The Centrepoint. Apart from interacting with the makers, and watching them craft their products, shoppers also have the chance to take part in workshops.
For example, Mr Tan will be conducting a workshop on how to make toy rubber band guns using disposable chopsticks.
Another maker that is participating in the festival is freelance designer Adeline Huang, founder of Taiken Sonzai. Ms Huang, 34, makes necklaces using fabric wastes. "I feel design must provide solutions to problems that the fashion industry is causing, one of which is wastes," she points out.
These wastes are usually cut-offs of excess fabric which are turned into yarn. Ms Huang uses methods such as crochet, knitting and macramé to turn the yarn into accessories. They retail from S$19 to S$119 for those with precious stones incorporated.
Other makers that are making their mark at this festival include Bartholomew Ting, cardboard sculptor and founder of Butternmilk. Mr Ting has been making giant cardboard sculptures and for this festival, he's constructed one of a bear's head. Visitors can even enter the sculpture.
"I see a huge potential in cardboard in an era where people are becoming more aware of recycling and the Global Market Movement spreads its message of creating things from what you already have," he notes.
Mr Ting will also be on hand to teach shoppers how they can create their own cardboard armchair.
There will also be the chance for the public to fly a drone, create their own pocket hologram kit or make their own customised tote bags.
While makers conjure up images of crafting, some F&B tenants at The Centrepoint are also getting in on the act of making. For example, Korean restaurant Chicken Up will have a workshop where the public gets a hands-on experience in making topokki or Korean rice cake or Korean kimchi and seafood pancake.
William Hooi, executive director of Singapore Makers' Association, says that "anyone can be a maker, and having the ability to create something with your own hands is a skill that is never too late to pick up".
He adds that with such festivals held in commercial spaces, "makers now have more opportunities to express themselves creatively, inventively and culturally".
- The Makers' Festival is on till Oct 30 at The Centrepoint. For workshop registration, see http://makersfestival2016.peatix.com