Cosmos

I'm smiling as I am writing this and I can't find a reason to stop smiling. Two weeks ago I received an order request on my Etsy for Breakfast with Carol Ann Duffy tea towel to be dispatched immediately. It was my first order coming from the UK. I was thrilled, but at the same time, curious as to this urgent request for a tea towel. I wondered if the poem holds the same amount of sentimentality to my customer as it has to me. I packed the parcel and sent it out the next morning with a handwritten note, in which I took some time to share my story behind this artwork and how special this poem is to me.

Three days ago I recieved a message in my inbox and found another reason that would make me smile whenever I read this poem

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My heart was suddenly a bundle of sleepy British shorthair kittens. Everything felt so warm and fuzzy. It meant a great deal to receive this message;  to know that there are people who can relate to my works and have a part of their stories to share. This kind gesture from Ian and his wife is possibly the second best thing that happened apart from getting to hand the tea towel to the amazing Carol Ann Duffy in person (click for picture!!!!). 

It is an affirmation to the conviction I hold in what I do, to learn that this is not happenstance but a result of what I have strived for. ☺  I am really looking forward to having time to work on new stuff for Wood&Lead. It has been a little tough finding time but I have to keep going! I will. ☺

 

Tokyo Art Book Fair 2013

This blog has gathered  just enough cobwebs for Halloween! Yipee.

So the waves have finally brought me back to my sunny shores. Actually, since a week ago. My mysterious disappearance to Australia was the result of being sucked into a relentless temptation offered by a budget airline and a need for some quiet time.  I will be posting my photos from my trips bit by bit so there would be something to look at for the next few days.. weeks... months? 

 It is hard to believe that September came and gone just like that. 21st September was a day that I was counting down to since the 1st of July. When the day finally came, I did not know what to expect and almost relieved at the fact that I am present in Tokyo, at Tokyo Art Book Fair as an exhibitor.  By Grace I made it there, and I am sure glad I did. ☺

This year's fair was a massive one, we were one of the 300 over booths at Tokyo Art Book Fair held at a university with the most confusing name at Shinanomachi, Tokyo this year. The event was a huge eye-opener, it was really great meeting independent publishers from all over the world. However, there were a few challenges in being part of such a huge exhibition as well – in trying to stand out and having to set prices at a competitive rate. When I took a break from manning the booth and walked around, it was only then I realized how huge the compound was. I ended up only purchasing two zines on the first day myself. Both were by Taiwanese designers and extremely lovely. ☺

Seated at my tiny corner at the booth, it was interesting to observe the way people interacted with my designs and the display space. It was an incredible experience to see how your design extends beyond the physical material (in this case, the book) and to the environment in which is sitting in and vice versa. It gave me a lot of ideas on how my works can be improved to provide a more wholesome experience. I also thoroughly enjoyed talking to people who took interest in my works, to explain about the concept of my writings and designs even though not everyone who came by left with something in the end. It was a truly humbling experience to meet people who tell you that they appreciate what you do, and my heart stifles a chuckle whenever I see people smiling while flipping through my books. 

 

 

Over the 3 days, we had our fair share of surprises – friends (Saki, Silas, John & Lp) who showed up to give their support, as well as acquaintances who came by with coffee and chocolates, including the man from an antique shop in Shimo who loaned us display items for free. There was also a sweet Singaporean lady who dropped by our booth with her son to show her support when she realized that we are also Singaporeans. Not forgetting Bernice, Stacy and Josiah who helped us packed at the end of the fair and Josiah who carried my stuff up 5 levels to our apartment with his super strength after he learnt that our apartment elevator was not working. So thankful for these people. ☺

This trip was unlike any other trips to Tokyo, mainly because the intention was not for vacation. It is definitely a great experience and something I wouldn't mind doing again. As there is always a first for everything, I am beyond blessed to have this experience to call my own.

Here are some pictures that I have managed to capture amidst the crowd! Hope you guys will enjoy the post, it was not easy typing with both hands covering my ears to protect them from the boisterous roar of the thunderstorm. ☺ 

 

Entrance to Kyoto University of Art and Design, Tohoku University of Art and Design GAIEN CAMPUS   

Entrance to Kyoto University of Art and Design, Tohoku University of Art and Design GAIEN CAMPUS

 

Stamping workshop at one of the tents on lvl 1

Stamping workshop at one of the tents on lvl 1

Cute booth designed like a birdhouse

Cute booth designed like a birdhouse

Random by PY Leong X Wood&Lead

Random by PY Leong X Wood&Lead

Our tiny booth – I had to balance a merchandises on my head and it helped to draw some crowd.

Our tiny booth – I had to balance a merchandises on my head and it helped to draw some crowd.

Customers browsing through  Of Clouds & Parenthesis , a travelogue.

Customers browsing through Of Clouds & Parenthesis, a travelogue.

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LP who gave us a HUGE surprise by turning up with John without notice 

LP who gave us a HUGE surprise by turning up with John without notice 

Michelle, Wood&Lead customer who bought and modeled the tote *___*

Michelle, Wood&Lead customer who bought and modeled the tote *___*

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Click on the image above to watch the video which accurately captured the mood of the book fair. This video was taken and originally uploaded by my friend Stacy who runs a cool site with updates of her life in Tokyo. 

 

Also, Wood&Lead items sold at Tokyo Art Book Fair are now available for purchase, visit Wood&Lead Etsy store now ! ☺ 
  

 

Rolling In The Deep

Here's something I've been working on (besides a better sense of humor), when I am not photoshopping faces on stalks of broccoli. I've been illustrating a lot, compiling my series of 'pun' drawings into a book/zine for the Tokyo Art Book Fair this year (!!!). It has been really interesting so far. I've done a lot of hand lettering and made a lot of patterns and these are some things that I didn't exactly think that I'd be doing. The following week would mark a huge milestone in this project. While I'm a little nervous, I'm really excited as well. I made a silly gif out of the buns featured on my zine cover. I wish I am able to relate to the one with a bag of baguette, holding a stalk of daisy, but I really feel like the one at the bottom doing the running while trying to balance everything at the same time. I have exactly a month. If the rolling pin is my only mode of transportation I'll roll my way to Tokyo. じゃね! I hope you guys enjoyed the gif better than my Adele reference.

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Me, in a few lines

I will have to start working like a jellyfish for the next few weeks. I enjoy staying in on rare Saturdays/Sundays and getting all my work done in one sitting (only leaving my seat a couple of times for trips to the kitchen savaging for food). In between the stuff that I am supposed to finish by today I got a little carried away and made a simple logo vector out of my painting. It was so much fun. ☺

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Work-in-Progress

One of the paintings I worked on last weekend - the lines far too raw and the brushstrokes too careless for my liking. Unpolished, and awkward as it is, it makes quite an accurate depiction of myself. I am a Work-in-Progress.

It is not the best, but it is how I want to present myself to others, as I am. I spend a lot of my time reading, it makes the second best form of escapism to traveling. In words there are worlds we find that do not exist, our universe gets a little bigger and more interesting when you explore it in reading. Our lives are made up of stories – the ones that do not belong to us, some discovered, some made up and those you live to tell. 

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I am learning to love my works a little more by sharing them with others and getting feedback. It is an unnerving thing to put yourself out there, it feels uncomfortable and narcissistic to a certain extend. I was never quite for the idea of having a 'blog' because most people set it up with a common intention in mind. I do it not because I think that I am amazing at what I am doing, but because every piece of work is a deliberate attempt  to make something original, sharing them motivates me to make something better in my next try. It is also an exercise for me in learning to relinquish control because I am really my own worse critic. 

For me, the documentation of these works encompass the effort in crafting my personal creative endeavor and writing my own story. I hope that I can one day look back and see how much closer I am to where I want to be. I am not hopeful that what I am doing would open any doors, but I just know that doing what you love is equally important and it might make the world a better place. You would then, have a story to tell and naturally find your place in the universe. After all, like how Muriel Rukeyser has put it  "The universe is not made of atoms; it’s made of tiny stories." ☺