Community Art Installation - Take Part!

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How to upcycle t-shirts

I love working with textile waste. Since working at The Green Collective SG, we have noticed the huge amounts of clothing that gets dropped off at the clothes recycling point. You won't believe that we have collected close to 800kg for recycling since April 2018.

My friend Cheryl Lee of Singapore Eco Film Festival decided to create an art installation at the event (2 - 4 Nov) made from all these t-shirts.  We are planning to create a panel of Singaporean flowers in the style of Peranakan tiles from the t-shirts.

Would you like to help out?
It's going to be fun!
Check out the dates and let me know which day you are keen to help out in at

12 Oct (11am - 5pm)
13 Oct (11am - 5pm)
14 Oct (11am - 5pm) - This will be held at Singapore Sustainability Academy. Details tbc
19 Oct (11am - 5pm)
28 Oct (11am - 5pm)

What are we making?
A 1.5 x 5 m long installation collage made from old t-shirts. We are replicating the flowers of Singapore in the style of Peranakan tiles!

What will we be teaching you?
How to make t-shirt yarn.
How to make the collage

What to bring?
An old t-shirt, any colour
A pair of scissors (if you have a pair!)

All sessions will be held at The Green Collective SG. If any changes are made to the venue, we will inform you via your contact details.

Upcycled art installation

A Pigment of Imagination - TEDx Pickering Experience

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It's been really hot, actually scorching hot. I've never experienced such intense heat before especially during the early hours of the morning. Is it climate change? I saw the destruction in the wake of the super typhoon in Hong Kong and it's very scary - could it be Earth leashing its anger upon us? My friend told me that the storm dumped a couple of inches of sand from the beach onto her roof!

Slowing Down

I sometimes feel that if we all slowed down, if we were all very content with life and not chasing after more, maybe things would be different. If you would like to experience what has been going on behind the scenes with my efforts in slowing down, join me for A Pigment of Imagination. This experience session is a collaboration between me and TEDx Pickering and is 8th in a series of experiences. 

15 slots only! Sign up here.

[About Adventure]

You might have heard of the slow food movement, but what about slow living? Slow living is all about slowing down. And in this adventure, we join Agatha Lee "Agy" (Agy Textile Artist) on her journey to discover nature's colours, which helped her discover her 'inner tortoise'. 

On this adventure, you will learn about the different flora in our own 'backyards', connect with nature and also gain insight on Agy's creative process in transforming these colours of nature into beautiful ecoprints. 

[Session includes]

a) exploratory session in neighbourhood park
b) sharing session and demonstration of natural dyeing

We would first meet at Woodlands MRT, before leaving for Mandai Tekong Park! 

All of our Adventures are FREE and the $2 collected would be refunded at the door. :)

You can also choose to get a 16 x 16" naturally dyed cotton handkerchief for $26 as a souvenir. Limited to 5 pieces only!

[Things to Wear/Bring]

Comfortable shoes and clothing
Mosquito repellent

====== This event is made possible by ======

LearnSG Seed Fund, created to help individuals and groups bring learning ideas to life!

Our Singapore Fund aims to support groups of individuals or registered organisations to initiate projects that promote our Singapore Spirit and shared values and build more socially inclusive communities.
Find out more at:

I'll be Darned - Upcycled Again

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I'll be Darned - Upcycled Again
You fall in love with it, toss it into one corner and then suddenly you fall back in love with it again.  I'm describing this feeling that I have with my "snowflake" dress that was upcycled with red snowflakes in 2011. Every year, I go through my clothes and see which ones need a bit more sewing to it. It feels like an audit - they wouldn't be called clothes if they just lying in your wardrobe unworn.  This denim dress is really nice. I love the cutting and the way it fits me but it really needed a bit more colour especially since it looks worn out.

Use Only What You Have!

After my last post on stitching with intent, I made sure to remind myself the importance of slow stitching.  But I also reminded the importance of limitations - I would not purchase new threads for the project. I have a tendency to forget what's currently in my sewing box and gleefully go off on a haberdashery sewing spree. I was fortunate to have some DMC embroidery thread leftover from a project with the Art Science Museum, and decided to do some darning over the snowflakes.

I managed to finish it in 2 weeks and wear it at yesterday's Repair Sewcial session at The Fashion Pulpit. I asked one of my participants what the hardest part of the repair session was. It wasn't the darning, it was in fact the zipper.  Sewing in a new zipper isn't easy if you don't have a sewing machine. But with patience you will get there (just like everything else in this busy world of ours).

Stitch by Stitch - Intention

Stitch by Stitch - Intention
I was down with a terrible flu for the past few days. My body was telling me to stop working and just hibernate for a few days, basically mend myself until I am ready to get moving again. I think the signs were there - I was feeling a little under on Friday and yet I still went for my morning walk even though it wasn't the right thing to do. I had stuck to the notion that exercise is healthy but I wasn't in the pink of health, so it definitely was not healthy to make that move!

By Saturday, it was really downhill - I had to cancel appointments, one of my residency sessions with the secondary school, and even a panel discussion. It took me about 5 days to recover. There wasn't any medicine, except to sleep and sleep even more. So, all my art projects are on hold until I have a clearer mind of what I am doing.

Corals - Slow Stitch


I like to think my life as being something that is lived with intention, but sometimes it is just one mad rush that we forget that it should be.  I was invited to be one of the artists at Creative Mornings Singapore (27 July).  It was a great honour to be displaying my work alongside the following amazing artists: Vix Harris , whose beautiful artwork looks at the empowerment of women across cultures and backgrounds; Hanna Mi Kim who draws amazing paintings and drawings; and Nandita Mukhand, who I have admired for a long time as her sculptures are incredible.   The guest lecturer that morning was Namiko Chan Takahashi, and her words of wisdom on "intention" resonated with me. How can we create a piece of artwork or even communicate our ideas to someone without intention? And where does intention come from? It has to come from your heart - do you really mean it?

Slow Stitched Letter

Have you ever written a heartfelt message to a loved one? Would it be better to type it out in an email, whatsapp, or put pen to paper? A friend recently asked for some input about how she was doing and wanted to get honest feedback from all her friends. She decided the best way was to get it through the traditional snail mail. What was supposed to be a  handwritten letter ended up being a handstitched letter to my friend.  The process of slow stitch allowed me to carefully plan out what I wanted to say to my friend, knowing that she would appreciate the thought and intent behind the letter.  It was short and sweet, but I got my message across.

slow stitch

Finding My Inner Tortoise

That's how you live with intention. Everyone has an inner tortoise; it's in there, but everyone has a FOMO (fear of missing out) that we continuously chase the hair instead. A friend once said that her life felt as though she was running after a finishing line but she wasn't really sure what the race she was part of was about. Do you sometimes feel that way with your art work?

My first decision to slow down was last year, and I decided to share it when I was invited to contribute an essay to The Birthday Book 2018 "The Roads We Take".   I hope many will realise the importance of slowing down in life - not only is it good for our work, but for family and health. Will you find your own inner tortoise?


Finding your inner tortoise through stitch
For me my inner tortoise is related to slow stitch, watching needle move up and down and seeing how the piece progresses.  You can slow down through repair and upcycling:

a) Repair Sewcial -

1 Sept, 2 - 5pm, $50 per person
Venue -  Marinate, 6 Ubi Road 1, Wintech Centre, #05-13, S(408726)
Sign up -

23 Sept 2-5pm, $50 per person (includes a cup of Sarnies coffee)
Venue - The Fashion Pulpit, Liang Court
Sign up -

b) Restyle Your Wardrobe Upcycling Workshops - $95 per person
Sign up for 16 Sept or 21 Oct (1pm - 5.30pm)
Venue - FashionMaker Space

3 Things to Do When Fostering Creativity in Kids

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3 Things to Do When Fostering Creativity in Kids
The past 4 weeks have seen me preparing workshops for school children and teens. I was invited to be the resident artist at a secondary school and also a trainer for upcycling for a group of primary school children.  Based on my lessons so far, I have to say that it has been exciting and very engaging not just for me but for the kids. It was definitely a learning journey for me too, especially the things not to do. So I'm sharing them with you in this post.

1. Make It Simple, Make It Relatable

Kids are smart but they can also get bored very easily if you start giving facts and figures. Do away with the long talks and sharing sessions, show an engaging video, play a team building game or even make it competitive.  I was running a 4 day upcycling programme for the primary school and I showed them a short cartoon on t-shirts and their impact, and one on Caine's Arcade.  Which one did they like and remembered?  You guessed it, Caine's Arcade rocked, but even though it was unrelated to the textile activity we were doing, the kids understood how you could upcycle waste materials, be creative and come up with a solution.

2. Make It Fun

Everyone likes workshops that are fun, and that goes without saying!  For the teenagers we explored textile art using shaving foam marbling and jelly printing. Although messy, it's extremely fun for them. I don't think they get a chance to play with shaving foam!

Teaching Creativity to Kids

Shaving Foam Marbling

Shaving Foam Marbling

Shaving Foam Marbling

3. Let Them Take Over, Make It Free Flow

I love it when they experiment on their own. We can give them tools and the instructions but if they find a better way to do it then why not let them? We were upcycling t-shirts into a round mat when one of the children said why not make a flower-shaped mat instead? Why not? So this is what we ended up with. Each child dictated what colour and the size of their circle before combining them together.  It was very self-directed! At the end of the lesson, one of the kids said it could be transformed into a box too! Very creative, indeed.

Upcycling workshop in Singapore

Upcycling workshop in Singapore

What are your tips? Let me know, I would love to find out.

Avocado Dye

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Avocado Dye

Hello the end of July. It feels rather strange to have not updated the blog for a while. Things have been happening! Firstly, I got invited to be a resident artist at the Tampines Secondary School makerspace.  I will be conducting eight sessions on sewing, upcycling, manipulating fabric and basic surface design. The exciting thing about this residency is that 95% of the class is made up of boys, and because of this, I decided to select more exciting (read, energy expending sessions!) textile art techniques other than sewing.  So, we will be embarking on marbling with fabric, and hectograph / jelly plate making and fabric printing, which I think the kids will find fun.  Originally, felting was on the cards but unfortunately budget-wise it did not make sense especially since we would have to source for natural wool.

Avocado Natural Dye

And whilst this has been happening, I have been stewing a few avocado seeds at home.  I have found the best concoction is to let the seeds soak overnight at an alkaline pH. By the end of the day, you should have a rich red tincture-like looking syrup. I popped my cotton into the mixture and let that soak for another 24 hours. I had the mixture on gentle heat but there was no intense bubbling. By the end of the long soak, I had a nicely coloured grocery bag (from Simple Cotton by Puffy) and samples of cotton fabric (YouLiving and Coopita). I'm definitely interested to see how this experiment will progress.

Materials - 3 avocado seeds peeled and halved, baking soda
Pretreated cotton
48 hours process

Avocado dye

Avocado dye