Monday, July 31, 2006

Article in Nooks & Corners in Star Metro



Sew, that’s what she does with her time

By WONG LI ZA
metro@thestar.com.my

Chan hard at work on one of her creations.
WHEN Chan Hui Min’s daughter, Laura, told her that a toy had run out of batteries, Chan realised that most toys these days either needed batteries or buttons to operate.

That motivated her to go back to the basics and try to revive traditional games that she used to play as a child.

Coupled with her keen interest in sewing, she soon came up with the idea of stitching traditional games for sale.

Chan, who works with the Instant Café Theatre, first started sewing as a hobby in 1998.

“I had followed a friend to a quilt shop for classes. Before I knew it, I was addicted,” said Chan, 38, who then spent up to 14 hours a day sewing.

However, after her children were born, she had less time on her hands and stopped indulging in her hobby for a few years.

Chan picked it up again at the end of last year, as her daughter Laura is now six and son Adam, three.

“I started sewing traditional games such as “five stones” because they were the games I grew up with and which I used to play with my friends.

“It’s something I’d like to teach children to play, and to teach other parents too. Now, it’s so easy to just go to the stores and buy toys,” she said, adding that toys and food brands also have strong influences on children.

Besides “five stones,” Chan also sews snakes and ladders, and checkers sets.

A close look at Chan’s Lighted Tree children’s quilt based on a Retta Warehime design.
“I just love sewing and also want to turn it into a paying hobby,” said Chan, who now spends an average of four hours a day sewing, after her children go to bed.

In addition, Chan also sews gift bags, quilts and patchwork onto children’s T-shirts.

Her pieces are priced from RM5 (gift bags) to RM30 plus for T-shirts and checkers sets.

As for quilts, which are baby-size or wall hanging pieces, prices vary according to design and size.

“I’m not keen on making big-size quilts, one reason being time constraints. Also, I’m impatient and get bored easily, so I want to see the design I’ve envisioned as soon as possible,” said Chan.

For ideas, Chan turns to books or the fabric she buys from time to time.

“Some ideas are from daydreaming! But everywhere you go in Malaysia there are designs, shapes and colours, and different forms of fabric art such as batik and sarong. I am also fascinated with ethnic tattoo designs.

“I incorporate all of these into my work,” she said, adding that her pieces are all limited editions.

At the moment, Chan is into bright contrasting colours.

“I’ve also gone through phases when I liked only two or three colours in my designs,” she said.

For now, Chan mainly shares her work with friends through “coffee mornings.”

A Snakes and Ladders quilt with ‘Five Stones’ on it.
Eventually, she also hopes to make other traditional games and handicraft out of different materials such as wood.

Chan can be contacted at hminchan@yahoo.com or 012- 202 5550.

7 Comments:

Blogger me said...

14 hours a day? wow. so nice to have your hobby turn into a money-paying job. she sews, she cooks, she takes care of the kid. what else can this super woman do?

3:28 pm  
Blogger me said...

sorry, meant to say: she sews, she bakes, she takes care of the kid. mind running here and there today.

3:29 pm  
Blogger Min said...

me aka leng lui, you ok? You must be busy yourself.

I wish I had more hours in a day but again, don't we all? I'm not a superwoman. Someone commented recently that I seem to be on the move all the time and can't sit still. Maybe it's the animal sign I was born in.... MONKEY! LOL

2:11 am  
Blogger Sasha said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:01 am  
Blogger Sasha said...

Didn't know we're born under the same animal zodiac sign. :)

Anyway, I've always admired your sewing skills... when you wanna make one for Jayden? hehehe just joking la.

9:03 am  
Blogger me said...

huh? why ask if i'm ok? ok, lah, hanging in there (heehee, like ms monkey there). maybe we are all a little bit like our zodiacs - i'm ms piggy and yes, i love to sleep - just don't have that luxury now with the kids, as i'm sure you'll know. it's nice that you are keeping busy :-D

9:54 am  
Anonymous kat said...

I got so fedup of Malaysian politics, I avoided reading the papers and missed your article. Lucky you posted this!
Wish you lots and lots of business!! Sang yi heng loong!!

1:55 am  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home