Crafting (be it professionally or as a hobby) has become one of the biggest trends since the onset of the pandemic: we’ve been spending more time in; Its elements of tactility and slowness soothe in a manic world. And have you seen the amount of crochet on the runways recently?
In this series of DIY stories, four Singapore artists – each with her own fashion-related discipline – share a project that lets you create something to add to the wardrobe at home.
Embroidery artist Alysha Rahmat Shah at work.
When this Alysha Rahmat Shah, 25, was preparing for a student show as a fine arts undergraduate at Lasalle College of the Arts in 2016, she realised that she didn’t want to do a painting.
Instead, she turned to embroidery – a technique that she had picked up from her mother as a child, but had never previously explored as an art medium.
Since then, she’s fully leaned into it as her medium of choice, creating commissions for exhibitions (she’s shown at the Tomo Gallery in Kyoto and Helutrans here, to name a few) as well as private clients (pre-Covid, she could have had as many over 100 orders for customised framed works, garments and the like at one time, she says).
Nature – and often, mythological figures – are a common theme in Alysha’s embroidery designs, inspired fondly by a family farm near Mount Ophir in Malaysia.
Far from cutesy or homespun, her works feel at once romantic and modern, imbued with a distinctively Gen Z spirit. In her hands, casual family photographs get adapted into vivid embroidered illustrations while her lush renderings of nature reveal a fine eye for detail and colour.
Her favourite source of inspiration: her family’s farm located at the base of Mount Ophir in Malaysia. “It’s my favourite place in the world,” she says. “When the mist rolls in, that’s what I imagine paradise looks like.”
Here, Alysha teaches us how to embroider a bucket hat with a simple floral
motif (guys, this is meant to be beginners’ stuff) using two basic embroidery techniques: the back stitch and satin stitch. Once you’ve gotten the hang of them, they can be applied to virtually any pattern, design or garment.