Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Moving into our ACG Fibre Art Studio today!

I was so excited, i didnt sleep until 6.30am yesterday..  For the past month or two, I have been preparing for the up-coming course - drafting a 12-lesson study plan, shopping around for paints & tools, fabrics, researching the net for course material and seeking advice from a few of my artist friends, Fatimah Chik & Zaidah Abdullah, both artists and art teachers.

Tomoro, Kak Siti will come over to pick all the stuff, including ironing board, clothes rack, old pots & pans, plastic containers, frames, display easels, paints, lots of fabric, brushes, etc.... and off we will go to eCo-Cent$, who have been so accomodating. They have allowed us to use the space (ground floor) and prepared fans, desks & chairs for us. Our many thanks to Jan Lee, Eddie and everyone at eCo-Cent$.

Here's Kak Siti and me attending Core Design Gallery's art exhibition called Beautiful People on Dec 5, 2010.  We have been friends since she first contacted me about joining ACG in the mid 1990's (i think).  She did an Embroidery course in London, when she accompanied her husband there, many years ago.  When she showed me the range of her work, i was eager for her to share her knowledge with others.  A few years ago, she was invited by National Art Gallery to conduct brief embroidery workshops weekly, with another friend. That, she enjoyed very much, and so, when I appoached her this year to conduct the up-coming Textile Art & Embroidery (6-month course) she was delighted, though a bit apprehensive.  So I volunteered to help draft the syllabus, the lesson plan and organise the whole course.

I, often known as Crazeepatches, am a mixed-media (or mixed nut) kinda of person. Inspired by my mom, an ardent crafter & sewing enthusiast, I charted a jagged path when i took all kinds of part-time courses while holding a regular day job in data-processing. In the 80's there were not many avenues to be creative. So I enrolled in a part-time Interior Designing course at MIA (where i travelled after office hours, 3 times a week from Subang Jaya by Sri Jaya bus all the way down Federal Highway to Klang Bus station and changed to another one to the MIA's centre in Bukit Bintang) and back again to Subang Jaya after class. I was happy, though tired, to learn the basics of design - colour study, elements & principles of design, perspective drawing, etc.

Even b4 that, I have taken sewing lessons from a nearby tailor while waiting for SPM & STPM results. I earned some extra cash sewing for friends and when I was retrenched in mid 1980s, i wanted to go into the sewing business while looking for a part-time job teaching computer subjects. At that time PCs (personal computers) were just being introduced. But my fate took a turn -the Principal of the institute offered me a full-time job! He didnt even call me for an interview. Just offered me the post, based on the letter i wrote asking for part-time job and listing my practical experience using PCs in the office environment.  Bird in hand, as the saying goes..so i did the reverse - full-time teaching job while part-time sewing business! ha ha ..

I was thrown into the deep end, so to speak as I had to do up the syllabus from scratch. For the first month, i spent all my time doing up the lesson plan & getting notes ready. My first class - 4 PCs and 10 groups of students. It was quite tiring for one who does not speak Cantonese or Mandarin with students who were not proficient in English and had never touched a PC b4! So at times, drawing pictures, cracking jokes and lots of hand gestures were the only way to get the message through.

Business at the institute picked up and soon I had >200 students. After the first five years, I was quite burnt out.  During that period I had taken Fashion Designing course (part-time) and was so engrossed in it.  It was wonderful to be able to research current trend, do market study, design and create my portfolio. We had to do lots of figure drawing and 4 collections - fitness/swimwear, funwear, cocktail and evening wear. We also had to sew menswear and a wedding gown (complete with labucci, sequins & lace)! Upon graduation, i decided to try my hand at designing. I secured a job at a garment factory and resigned my teaching job.

But dreams do not survive when it meets reality.  I spent 6-months running around scouting for fabric in dusty Kamdar storerooms, had to constantly work overtime drafting & cutting & teaching the sewing girls who were not so happy that i could not speak their lingo. The language barrier was terrible because i not only had problems with the sewing girls, I also could not communicate with practically all the people involved in the business. They felt alienated. I was put in-charge of designing & completing a range of uniforms for a resort in the East Coast, from front office and  restaurant staff to chambermaids and technicians, and a tight deadline. A few days b4 sending it off, i did QC (quality control) and realised that the uniforms were stained and had to be washed! Then some of them sort of shrank!  Horrors! But we sprayed water, pulled & pressed the uniforms back to its shape..phew! It was a learning experience, but a nightmare nontheless.  I am now back in teaching and happy, seeking a balance in all my activities and interests.

AD-HOC LESSONS :  The 4 students being sponsored for the Textile & Embroidery Art course will form the main student body, but we are opening up each lesson to those who cannot commit to the rigid 6-month course but would like to take ad-hoc lessons. We will post the date/time & syllabus of the coming fortnight lesson in the blog and IF YOU LIKE TO LEARN THAT PARTICULAR PART of the course, let me know 3 days before (becos i have to prepare enough materials). We will charge RM30 per lesson for ACG members and RM50 for non-members. Total = 12 lessons (at least 3 hours, every 2 weekend once)

The studio is also for members to drop by during weekends (except when class is on)  by for a visit/chat/look-see/get inspired (but pls call me first or else there will be no one there)



  1. I thought I sent a comment yesterday after reading the post.

    Am so excited myself about the whole thing. Wish you all the best.

  2. Thank you Zarina.. we are also excited !


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