LASALLE College of the Arts: Behind-the-scenes of the design exhibition, Myths and Beliefs — Part 3

East East

Andrea Sim

Text: East East

Image: East East

In the final chapter of this collaborative series with LASALLE, the group East East tells the tale of the lotus through handcrafted ceramics and modern technology

East East was inspired by multi-racialism in Singapore. Although the brief for Myths and Beliefs called for us to pick a story from one particular cultural background, we decided to search for a link throughout the different races in our own group. Turning our attention to the lotus, the flower represents femininity, purity and enlightenment in Hinduism and Buddhism. In Malay-Islamic culture, motifs of the lotus appear in traditional batik and songket prints.

With further research, we decided to look into the blooming process of the lotus and how we could weave it into our accessories collection. We chose to work with ceramics, as its solid nature allowed us to craft each delicate petal — plus, engrave lines as detailing. To execute this, we reached out to local craftsman Lim Kim Hui, a potter whose strength is at crafting 2D pieces. Although our 3D designs served as a challenge, we managed to create an interesting half-glazed effect on our products — a finishing that we would not have been able to achieve using technology.

Throughout the creation process, we paid close attention to the weight of the products as ceramics are pretty heavy. It would mean our accessories would not be wearable if we were not careful. Lim helped us work around the issue by making sure that each and every petal of the lotus was thin enough — and that its total weight would still be wearable even when stacked together.

Having pulled off our 'lightweight' ceramic designs, we wanted our motion graphics to have a similar feel to it. Hence, we headed to the Singapore Botanic Gardens to film which allowed us to capture a mellow, clean look. The incorporations of .GIFs brought a modern twist to the traditional belief — which we trust will be relevant to a younger demographic when uploaded onto social media platforms such as Instagram.
Watch the video above

The next step was to go from handcrafted ceramics to using the technology of 3D printing. With our versatile designs, it can be made using both traditional craft and modern methods. For the Myths and Beliefs exhibition at National Gallery Singapore, our designs take form in 3D printed brass — tinged with a rose gold tint. The result? An edgier feel, with a feminine touch thanks to its soft colouring. 

Related stories: 
LASALLE College of the Arts: Behind-the-scenes of the design exhibition, Myths and Beliefs — Part 1
LASALLE College of the Arts: Behind-the-scenes of the design exhibition, Myths and Beliefs — Part 2

Learn more about East East at Myths and Beliefs, an extended exhibition by LASALLE College of the Arts. It is a part of the Gallery Light to Night Festival held at the National Gallery Singapore, Former Supreme Court Foyer, L2, from 25 November to 4 December.