Saturday, 19 April, 2014

Published December 14, 2013
Home & Garden
Workshop therapy
Fun workshops that help unleash the artisan in its participants are fast catching on. By Tay Suan Chiang
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Founder Ivan Lim of Green Banana keeps his terrarium workshops (above) to no more than 12 per session. - PHOTOS: GREEN BANANA

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IN a world where off-the-shelf instant gratification is the norm, the idea of making something with one's bare hands seems like an archaic one. But not to Tyrwhitt General Company (TGC), which runs a retail space in Tyrwhitt Road that stocks a well-curated selection of quality crafted brands.

As purveyors of the traditional artisan movement, TGC also prides itself on organising workshops conducted by master crafters. "We want participants to appreciate the beauty of crafted goods as well as get their hands dirty in making their very own personalised items," says Irwin Lim, one of the three founders at TGC. "We want to take them through a journey to better understand the products they love, appreciate their design and even add their own elements and spin to them. We want people to not just buy things, but to experience them."

Some of the workshops they conduct include printmaking, letterpressing, ceramics and papercrafting.

The instructors run the gamut from full-time to part-time craft practitioners. Papypress, a letterpress printing company also runs workshops on top of its printing business. Their workshops have been so popular that they have had to turn some participants away.

"We don't try and kid ourselves by having lofty ideals of training people to be the next generation of printers but we do hope that through these workshops, people have a newfound understanding and appreciation of the work that goes into printing, especially letterpress," says Papypress co-founder Corby Tan. "In this digital age, we want people to know that letterpress and printing don't occur at the click of a button and that a lot of skills go into perfecting a print."

Poh Wenxiang who runs Make Your Own, a series of workshops that teaches participants how to make side tables and copper table lamps says, "When you create something with your hands, it adds a personal touch to the product you make."

He adds that most people, especially first-timers, may find things imperfect and fuss over it. "However, I see that as a perfectly natural work," he says. "Attending a workshop is not all about making a product, but also learning about yourself. When you are happy making the product, the finished product will bring joy."